Monday, June 1, 2015
Last Wednesday it was announced, totally out of the blue, that the parent company, Santa Fe New Mexican, was closing the Sangre de Cristo Chronicle, our local paper. And right before tourist season, totally without notice, and they believed we would all latch on to the tit of the Taos News.
We all met on chats and Facebook forums discussing how this would effect us, and our visitors during the summer. We like to think we are the electronic age and the internet replaces all other media. But that really is not true. There are still a vast number of people who are unconnected to the information highway. There are people like me even, who staunchly refuse to go the smart phone route and chip apps. I have friends on the internet that do not Google. And how does a stranger in a strange land know where to begin - The newspaper.
There is information out there in the ether but sooner or later it has to be downloaded and printed out for those unconnected or out of their comfort zone. Both the Visitor's Center and the Chamber of Commerce maintain calendars of events. But there is no in depth article about the renewed balloon rally coming in June, or the fund raising campaign by the arts council to develop an Arts Activity Center. No letters to the editor for those who have not learned to blog. And even given the number of bloggers we have, no central location to find them. I take the Washington Post on line for the editorials; for their staffs' slant on the news. But the newspaper's name is the starting point. It is a loyalty, which for me, goes back to my days living in the capital.
Newspapers need an on line presence but they also need hard copies which can be picked up at the resort activities center or the visitor's center or the Chamber of Commerce. They also need a loyal following. This happens because we know the writers. And in a small town such as Angel Fire we know the staff. They are our neighbors.
Clearly there are going to have to be changes. First change is the paper is no longer owned by a Santa Fe corporation. Us readers/advertisers are going to have to look long and hard at what works for us on the Internet and what we can dig into our pockets and buy an ad for. And the newspaper is going to have to change too. Those newspapers that make it in these times are ones that develop that loyalty with their readership.
The closing of the newspaper accomplished a big step in this process. We have all found out what we need the newspaper for. And how difficult that is to do without it.