Two months ago I arrived in Socorro, not knowing a single soul.
Most of my friends back in the Midwest thought I had lost a few marbles when I told them I was moving to New Mexico. A few pleaded with me, but something lured me here.
It wasn’t the newspaper alone. It was the people I met the first day during my visit to the community. Whether they knew it or not, I was searching for answers to why I should pack up my bags and move to the Southwest.
I asked about the newspaper. I asked them what they thought about it. I asked them if they thought the paper fitted the community. The answers I received were varied but it helped to formulate my decision.
So here I am ... two months later. I’ve made it through an election cycle and three holiday schedules. And I’ve met some amazing people along the way. More importantly, I’m learning more and more about what people want to read in their community newspaper.
A weekly newspaper should be a reflection of its community – the good, the bad and the ugly. But mostly good!
With that said during the course of the next couple of months, I will be hosting coffee sessions at various places throughout Socorro County. I’ll buy the coffee and you provide me with your thoughts on things or ideas of what you’d like to see in your community newspaper.
One of the items many individuals have suggested is an updated weekly fire, police and sheriff’s report. So in coming weeks Jon Larson and I will be visiting with the police chief, sheriff and the fire chief on how we can get those reports in the newspaper in a timely manner.
We’ll also be concentrating on more people features. This week, we’re starting a new feature called “52 Faces.” Our aim is to highlight people in our community who are doing good deeds or just introducing someone in your community. We’re open to suggestions. However, these individuals cannot be elected officials. We’re looking for those regular people who make our community unique and different. Our Sports Editor Greg Byrd will be writing this weekly feature. If you have a suggestion, please give him a call or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
We’ve also hired a familiar Socorro face for advertising sales for the newspaper. Last week we welcomed Stephanie McFadden to El Defensor Chieftain. In November we welcomed Denise Ortega as our customer service representative. It’s great to have local individuals on our staff who already know our community and have been a part of it for many years.
Finally if you see me on the street, in the grocery store, buying coffee, or looking like I’m a bit lost – don’t be afraid to introduce yourself. I’m always open to meeting new people and having a conversation.
It is comforting to be here. Newspapers, as you know, have changed a lot. But the people who work at El Defensor Chieftain are great employees who work diligently to get the news and advertising into your hands every week. They’re good people.
Weekly, they gather the facts and figures, record the deaths and births, snap photos of your children and grandchildren, and report the victories and losses of sporting events. They do this with a tireless sense of humor.
Our advertising folks search for revenue in trying economic times and working under constant deadlines. Plus we have some exciting new things to offer our customers this year.
As with all newspapers, sometimes our readers get frustrated with us. And that’s OK. Every community believes it owns the newspaper and in many ways, it does. They love to hate their newspapers, expecting them to be accurate, delivered on time and full of wonderful information they can use.
A part of my heart aches when I hear a newspaper has to close its doors. It’s happening in our country more and more because there are some who would rather rely on the gospel of social media and hearsay than a trusted source, like newspapers. Just last week, the Truth or Consequences Herald announced it was closing after 90 years in business.
As I look around our office at the people who work here, they are people who love what they do. And so, whenever you think there’s nothing in your community newspaper anymore, know this: everyone who works here at El Defensor Chieftain ... our hearts are in it.