Thursday, April 8, 2010

Magdalena Mountain Mail Publisher Knew Her People

By John Larson

SOCORRO - First published on Thursday, Apr. 5, 1888, the Magdalena Mountain Mail saw its heyday when it was reprised in 1980 by Jacky Barrington.
The original Magdalena Mountain Mail was published by brothers Whitmore and Co., serving “Magdalena, Kelly and Socorro County.”
In its first issue, the newspaper explained that the presence of advertisements was because “it is a business venture,” serving the interests of the mining and cattle industries. It said “the Mail will be primarily a local paper, a chronicler of local history and the advocate of such matters as will tend to the material up-building of the section.”
The Apr. 5, 1888 front page stated that “Socorro County is one of the largest, wealthiest and most important counties in the Territory.”
In Nov. 1980, Jacky Barrington revived the publication, writing that “in 1980 Magdalena is again a busy place. Have you tried to cross Highway 60 at 4 p.m.?”
The editorial goes on to say that she will continue to emphasize local Magdalena news.

Tom Barrington, Jacky’s son, also was part of the paper much of the time.
“One of the main reasons Jacky wanted to start the paper was because the Chieftain ignored Magdalena or Catron County news,” Barrington said. “She felt it was important for someone to report on the Village Board meetings, and news from Quemado, Reserve, Luna, and Datil.”
The publication of the newspaper with Jacky Barrington at the helm became a positive influence on the community.
Sayward Harris, proprietor of Outlaws from 1979 to 2004, said “if you wanted something done, get Jacky on it.
“She was very kind in her news articles. It’s not usual to see news people handling a news story published in a kind way,” Harris said. “When we had Outlaws, we worked together on the Chamber of Commerce. When I was on the Village Board, she helped in applying form different grants for the village.
“She knew the village. She knew her people,” Harris said.
Former Village Trustee Bill Fuller said Barrington was directly responsible for him being part of the village government. “In the privacy of my backyard I said I did not believe her reporting on the village board meetings,” Fuller said. “She somehow knew what I made that remark and told me to go a meeting. I went to a meeting. After that I said to her ‘you’re reporting is dead on’.”
Fuller then began reporting on the Village Board meetings for the Mail. “She was absolutely great to work with. Let me print whatever happened.”
Village Clerk Rita Broaddus said, “Jacky was an amazing woman and very well-traveled and independent.
“She always stopped in to Village Hall to say hello when was in town,” Broaddus said. “As a matter fact she was her right before Christmas. She looked great and was planning another cruise.”
Donna Dawson said she helped deliver papers for Jacky “for awhile,” and also did typing for the newspaper.
“She was big on giving a lot of publicity to Old Timers and helped it grow, and was a big part of getting the clinic here,” she said.
Jacky loved to travel, but even when she was away she continued publishing the Mountain Mail, from a distance.
“She was always wanting to see more of the world,” Dawson said. “She and Rudy Pina had some sort of competition on who had been to the most countries.”
Pina told the Mountain Mail he and Jacky had a friendly rivalry.
“I was always one step ahead of her,” Pina said. “One time she said she was going to Iceland. I said ‘I just back from Iceland’. “
Pina said Jacky had gone to Okinawa, and knew he had been there fighting the Japanese army in World War II. “She said it sure was different than when you were in Okinawa,” he said. “We tore it up.”
Pina said another time Jacky announced she was going to New Zealand.
“I just told her to go to the north island. It’s nicer,” he said. “She said I can’t beat you.”
“Well, she beat me up to the Pearly Gates,” Pina said.
Pina said he found out by chance how far reaching Jacky’s influence was.
“One time I was in a barber shop in Venezuela in South America, and I picked up a magazine,” he said. “I looked through it and saw an article from Magdalena by Jacky.”
The Mountain Mail has seen minor cosmetic changes in the eight years since Jacky retired from the publishing business. But the newspaper is still locally owned and strives to cover Socorro and Catron counties with a personal touch, and an eye toward helping our communities grow and thrive.

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