Our beloved hometown paper, the Santa Fe Reporter, moved into their new offices at Pacheco Street in December after more than 30 years at the former Marcy Street office. Our own Barker Realty Broker Jen Fong sat down with Julie Ann Grimm, the editor, and publisher, and Anna Maggiore, the associate publisher, and advertising director, for a post-move chat.
How do you feel in the new space?
Our team is pleased with our office in Pacheco Park. It’s a totally new scene from the downtown landscape that we were so used to for so long and the transition has been odd because it happened after we had essentially stopped using our downtown office four days a week because of the pandemic. We’ve had great feedback from visitors to the new lobby, parking is no longer a challenge, and we even had room for a 20-foot Christmas tree in the newsroom. We’ve enjoyed exploring the many local businesses in our new neighborhood.
Why do you think it’s still necessary in the world of remote work to have an office?
Even though there’s a saying in our industry that “no news happens in the newsroom,” the Reporter’s headquarters remain an important place for collaboration. It’s possible to produce the weekly print edition remotely, but it runs more smoothly if our core team can be together for the finishing touches on deadline day. It’s also crucial for our sales team to connect with businesses and organizations that depend on us to get their message to the wide audience. Our lobby is open on Mondays and Tuesdays now and we hope to return to five days per week when public health orders are lifted. We also need a physical location to store the bound volumes of the Reporter that go back more than 45 years, a resource that’s as important to the community as to our individual business.
We’ve seen the Reporter cover everything from public policy to drag queens, what is the driving mission in the newsroom?
The Santa Fe Reporter continues the proud tradition as the city’s source of alternative news and culture since 1974, reporting on community issues as well as celebrating and criticism of local music, visual arts, film, movie, and performing arts. We believe in the independence of the fourth estate, in a critical examination of the government, and in the value of helping active citizens understand each other. We take seriously our role to shine a light in dark places and to push for greater transparency. And we also have fun! Our online events calendar is indispensable. Our newspaper and website are free and we’re committed to keeping them that way thanks to support from our advertisers and readers.
How has the pandemic impacted readership? Will full distribution return?
There are just as many people who want to read the Reporter now as ever and in fact, we’ve seen a huge increase in online readership over the last year (2 million pageviews in 2019 compared to 3 million in 2020). Yet, with the economic turn that brought a loss of tourism and the entertainment industry, along with the closure of museums and every other facet of our lives together, the Reporter lost half of its expected revenue last year. We cut the number of copies we print each Wednesday in half and cut the number of pages in each issue by nearly the same amount. We are working hard every day to get back to where we started and even beyond.
What were the most significant news stories of 2020?
Our coverage of the pandemic (headed up by Julia Goldberg) has been noted by readers as important to them. We issue reports each weekday afternoon of the new cases by county and lots of other details from public health officials. We’ve also covered what’s been happening in business and the arts. You can read all of it at www.sfreporter.com/covid19. In terms of non-pandemic news, it already feels like it was a long time ago, but the Medio Fire was a big deal in Santa Fe this summer and it could have been an even bigger deal. Leah Cantor unfolded how it went down and what it means for future forests in “After the Burn.” I also love the cover story from September 15 from Alex de Vore about the new Earthseed Black Arts Alliance and the people behind it.
How can local folks and new Santa Feans support local journalism?
More than 600 individuals and businesses have made donations to “Friends of the Reporter” since we launched the program in August 2019. We had no idea then just how important it would be. We invite people to give monthly or to make single donations in any amount. Other alt-weekly newspapers were forced to stop publication for a few months this summer after the pandemic hit; some closed entirely. Santa Fe—and the Reporter—have been fortunate in comparison. Together with grants from entities such as the New Mexico Local News Fund and Report for America, and our loyal advertisers, the donations from our readers have kept our ship afloat. Also, shop local, and shop at establishments that advertise in local media. It’s a whole ecosystem. Learn more at www.sfreporter.com/friends.
What’s your biggest hope for Santa Fe in 2021?
We hope for health and security for all Santa Feans this year. Every person whose work goes into SFR cares deeply about our city and its future, and we want that future to be bright and equitable. We also want to go to the movies and hang with our friends and families. Like, really badly. We do.
Barker Realty wants to recognize Jen Fong, Associate Realtor, for doing a stellar job with her coverage of this story and for brokering the relocation of an iconic Santa Fe newspaper.