Thursday, October 22, 2009

Mountain Mail Welcomes New Editor In Chief

By John Severance

I’ve always wanted to do this.
I’ve always wanted to be an editor of a small weekly newspaper and run the show.
With more than 25 years of newspaper experience, working in such places as State College, Pa., Lexington, Ky., Naples, Fla., and West Palm Beach, Fla., (twice), I know how to put out a quality product. I just didn’t get the chance to call the shots.
Now I do.
But I need your help. I need you to flood my email box (mountainmaileditor@ or call the office with story and feature ideas.
If you see me, I want you to introduce yourself.
Most of my experience is in sports but I am not worried about it. Words are words.
The contents of a community newspaper should serve two purposes. Newspapers should write about the people and the issues that face them. That’s what I hope to accomplish with the Mountain Mail.
Don’t hold it against me but I am not a native New Mexican.
I grew up in Northern Virginia and my father was a foreign service officer. Growing up, we did stints in Japan and India. It was in India where I caught the journalism bug. I was instrumental in starting a middle school newspaper and my first assignment was a news conference with former presidential candidate George McGovern.
I graduated from West Springfield High School in Virginia in 1981 where I was editor of the school paper. I went to Penn State because I wanted to go to a school that had a good football team — seriously.
I finally graduated from Penn State with a degree in journalism and I liked it so much in Happy Valley that I lived there for 10 more years working for a publication devoted to Penn State sports and the town newspaper called the Centre Daily Times. I guess
I moved to Florida in 1996 because I could not stand the cold and landed a job in Naples as an assistant sports editor. I worked there for three years and moved to West Palm Beach for the first of my two stints with the Palm Beach Post, which also happened to have one of the top sports sections in the country.
It was in West Palm Beach that my girlfriend and I got into the thoroughbred breeding business. We were so into it that we decided to move to Kentucky, which probably is the center of the horse racing world.
From 2003 to late 2005, we raised our horses outside of Lexington while I worked for the city newspaper. At the time, we thought our breeding business was a bust.
Early 2006, I moved back to Florida because the Post offered me more money and my girlfriend moved to Santa Fe to be with her elderly mom.
In 2008, the economic woes hit the Post and the newspaper was offering buyouts. I had always wanted to move out here so I did not hesitate.
I thought to myself that I never wanted to get back in the journalism business because I was so burned out.
But after 14 months, I knew what I wanted to do – I had to get back into journalism. I loved taking care of our horses and breeding business turned out well after about six years.
One of the horses we bred is one of the top hunter-jumpers in New Mexico and will be competing in Tucson this week. And one of the others made it to the racetrack where he turned out to be a stakes winner.
So that’s probably entirely too much information about me. What’s important now is that we can make the Mountain Mail the best newspaper it can be and be a publication that the citizens of Socorro and Catron County can be proud of.
I will eagerly be awaiting your input.

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations on the paper. We saw the first edition when we were in Albuquerque at my Mother-in-law's. Will be checking it out. Thanks.