Chieftain company has new leader, Hayes takes helm

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Rockford M. Hayes has been named vice president of the community newspapers for Number 9 Media Inc., effective Sept. 1.

Hayes is currently president and CEO of RR Community Publishing, LLC, which publishes the Rio Rancho Observer and Kirtland Air Force Base Nucleus and will continue in that role.

RRCP is a subsidiary of the Journal Publishing Company.

Hayes takes over from longtime publisher Dave Puddu, who has been with Number 9 Media, Inc. since 2001.

Number 9 publishes the weekly Valencia County News-Bulletin, El Defensor Chieftain in Socorro and the Mountain View Telegraph in Moriarty. Number 9 is a wholly owned subsidiary of JPC – publisher of the Albuquerque Journal.

"We're taking advantage of an opportunity to consolidate the executive management of all our community newspaper interests under one umbrella," said William Lang, president and CEO of JPC. "With an excellent track record as a community newspaper operator in Rio Rancho, and with 20 years of community newspaper experience under his belt, Rocky is in an excellent position to lead our community newspapers to new heights."

However, Lang also pointed out that each newspaper facility will continue to operate autonomously, with its own unique editorial voice and strong commitment to the communities each serves.

"I'm honored and excited about the chance to learn about, participate in, and contribute to the communities where the Number Nine newspapers operate," Hayes said.

"In everything our newspapers do, we believe that an engaged citizenry creates a superior community. For citizens to become engaged, they need news and other information to know where to be and how to get involved — information that a community newspaper is uniquely poised to deliver. I'm proud of what our industry does to promote and extend the public discourse."

"It is too early to know all of what this change will mean to the Chieftain and the community of Socorro," El Defensor Chieftain editor Elva Österreich said. "Rocky has said he would like to help us promote a positive image in the community. We are working together to develop new ideas that will enhance our ability to serve the people of Socorro and Catron counties. I am looking forward to working with our new leadership and expect this change to bring fresh energy to our company."