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.