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Mr. Reporter | Founding editor ...
Mr. Reporter | Founding editor Richard McCord | responsible for the maiden voyage
Mr. Reporter: Blame Canada, SFR's April Fools' tie-in, the Rockefeller connection and other Reporter-isms
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SFR Founding Editor and General Manager, Richard McCord.
"It feels like it was just yesterday," Richard McCord
says, pulling up a chair at a local coffee house and reminiscing about the journey that led him from dogged Newsday vet to New Mexico transplant and, eventually, founding editor and manager of the Santa Fe Reporter
Still toting a reporter's notebook in his back pocket, McCord recalls the ebb and flow of negotiations to buy the then Santa Fe News from owner Rudy Rodriguez.
mined just about every single advertiser in town, ringing them up personally.
Upon returning to the house of a friend that had agreed to be the paper's advertising manager, McCord found a typed letter of resignation left next to the telephone.
The operation hadn't even taken off the ground, and already it had lost a key staff member.
Among the benefits of taking over an existing outlet, McCord
says, were a base of advertisers, set distribution and offices outfitted with typesetting equipment and a darkroom.
By then, the former editor of the New Mexican's Sunday magazine had exhausted every single penny he could come up with, including his own savings, and had camped for a lengthy amount of time to save on rent.
Just a couple of hours before transferring ownership of the weekly shopper, an investor reneged on his
"A couple of hours before we signed the papers to buy the News
, one of our investors pulled out.
I had an escrow contract-everyone who had invested-if we didn't pull it off by a certain date, they were supposed to get their money back," he
recalls, a hint of his
Georgia twang still lacing his
An old friend who had left Santa Fe for the Great White North had called one of his
would-be staffers "out of the blue" and asked how was McCord doing.
After hearing about the fall through, he
wired the cash and saved the day.
"I had-to the dollar-what I needed at that point, went and closed the deal, and then we more or less were in business," he
wishes the brainstorming session had led to a better name.
Looking back not just at his
almost 15 year tenure as editor and the accolades and career-long brawls that followed, McCord
still gets a twinkle in his
eye when picking up and looking at that first edition.
"Starting with this first issue," he
says, pausing, "we set a whole new journalistic story here in town."
personal archive is now housed in an Italian leather briefcase, the same briefcase he
took with him to a Salem, Ore., courthouse where papers regarding a conglomerate that had been instrumental in axing the local weekly, remained sealed.
Days after this interview he dropped off the attaché at SFR headquarters.
Aldrich, a single mother of three, had walked into McCord's
office years earlier to ask for a job as a staff writer under her married name, Hope Spencer.
After hiring her, McCord
would find out that Hope was Hope Aldrich Rockefeller, eldest daughter of philanthropist John D. Rockefeller III.
Looking back on his
personal style as an editor, McCord
is quick to shoot back, "I was great."
On a more serious note, he
continues, "We had cultivated excellent staff members, or were lucky enough to get excellent staff members.
I gave a bunch of people their first writing job.
Santa Fe was an excellent recruiter-because everyone wanted to come here."
It is those "adventurers" that would oftentimes show up at the office unannounced asking for a job, among those that McCord
remembers the fondest.
Richard McCord founded the ...
Richard McCord founded the Santa Fe Reporter in 1974 and directed it until 1988.
Since then he has been a freelance author, columnist and editor.
Recently he has focused on books about New Mexico, including Albuquerque's 300th anniversary and currently the history of the College of Santa Fe.
" Saturday Morning at the Opera: It's New to Santa Fe, and Already It's the Place to Be."
Richard McCord, author of "The Chain Gang: One Newspaper Against the Gannett Empire," spoke at the Moiliili Community Center.
McCord has been with Newsday and was with the Santa Fe Reporter.
The Green Bay News-Chronicle Online - Green Bay Packers news
(The story of McCord and "It's Now or Never!"is told in his book, "The Chain Gang, "published in 1996 by the University of Missouri Press.)Richard McCord has been a professional journalist for more than twenty-five years at Newsday in New York, at the Santa Fe Reporter in New Mexico.His
work has been honored for excellence by the Scripps Howard Foundation, the National Press Club, the National Newspaper Association and Investigative Reporters and Editors
Daschle v. Thune: July 19, 2004 - July 25, 2004
I've now ordered the book the "The Chain Gang: One Newspaper versus the Gannett Empire" by Richard McCord (if you're not taking advantage of all the cheap used books available online in seconds, you should--it's wonderful; order the book and help with the discussion).Here are some blurbs:
"A devastating pattern of corporate sleaze. . . . There is no question that McCord
has the goods on Gannett
, and he
is one of the few journalists in America bold enough to reveal them."-- Newsday
"A masterful job of making history exciting as well as informative. . . . A great page-turner. . . . An authoritative and entertaining read, and also historically important."-- Los Angeles Times
has the jackhammer convictions of a born editorial writer. . . . The raw emotion he
brings to his
battle against Gannett
makes The Chain Gang affecting as well as informative."-- New York Times
has battled the Gannett newspaper giant twice and lived to tell about it in this fascinating book. . . . This book is nearly impossible to put down, for the media curious or those who just like a good scrap."-- Publishers Weekly"They're closing in on me, Dick, and I'm afraid they're going to get me," said Frank Wood, publisher of the Green Bay News-Chronicle, in a phone call to his friend and colleague, Richard McCord."They're closing in on me, Dick, and I'm afraid they're going to get me," said Frank Wood, publisher of the Green Bay News-Chronicle, in a phone call to his friend and colleague, Richard McCord.
...As editor and publisher of the nationally distinguished weekly Santa Fe Reporter, McCord had successfully fended off Gannett's "Operation Demolition" when it moved into town.
has done something marvelous with this.He's
taken a deeply disturbing nationwide trend and put it on a small midwestern stage with real characters.The Chain Gang's message needs to be heard by as many Americans as read newspapers.Already Gannett's monopoly tactics have impoverished communities across the country.McCord
is one man fighting back, coolly, rationally, creatively, and stubbornly.
In between, Richard McCord's
"Chain Gang" is provocative, part autobiography, part broadside.His
target is Gannett, America's largest newspaper group and, in McCord's view, an evil empire.McCord's personal tale engages, despite lapses into melodrama.Idealistic, passionate, obsessive, McCord
boyhood in rural Georgia and early years as a Newsday