An award winning local paper closed its doors after its blindsided staff issued their final paper. Second homeowners and residents of the Village of Angel Fire were in absolute shock. And very angry.
The closing if the Chronicle and the Raton Comet left Colfax County, New Mexico without a newspaper of record. The parent company which owns the Santa Fe New Mexican and the Taos News claims local residents did not support the lessor papers and offered subscribers to convert their subscription to the Taos News.
The banner of the Santa Fe New Mexican founded in 1849 declares proudly that it is locally owned and independent. And yet it feels that is not necessary for the survival of its acquisitions. Most subscribers to the Chronicle say the New Mexican made a lot of mistakes since it bought the paper. First it tried to merge the Raton Comet into to the Chronicle. They were too far away in airy fairy Santa Fe to know we hate each other. There has been an underground movement for almost two decades to divide Colfax county in half. And we do not like the Taos News (or Taos really). We resent that we shop there but no one from Taos ever comes here. And all the Taos Galleries have a Taos artist only policy. But most importantly Raton is ranch country and we are the mountains. Taos is the other side of the mountain.
And under the less than independent standing the Chronicle brought in editors and reporters from far and distant cities. People who did not know anyone here and who seemed to resent being here. A small, local paper needs above all loyalty of its readers. And it needs to be local. Locally Owned and Independent to borrow a phrase from the Santa Fe, New Mexican. Its staff needs to understand and belong to the community. Northern New Mexicans, it is said, do not even talk to newcomers until they have been here two years. Why should we read what they wrote?
Everyone has an opinion as to why the Chronicle failed even after giving Raton its own paper. You hear the digital age bantered about but there are still a lot of people not connected, who want their news in a concrete form like paper. They want to sit in the coffee shop to work the puzzles, point out the picture of their granddaughter graduating from middle school to their friends, and discuss the editorial with the editor who they have known for years and lives next door when they come in for their double cap to go. And the local businesses in this tourist town, the ones that advertise, want a paper which says Angel Fire and not Taos on its banner.
It helps if you know it is not Angle Fire or Eagles Nest. And that Sangre de Cristo does not have an H.