By Mary Alice Murphy
Editor's Note: I am writing this as a personal story, which has implications for the Grant County Beat. It's a personally sad story for me, because the Silver City Daily Press gave me my start as a reporter, and I will forever appreciate everything I learned there. This has to be the hardest article I have ever written.
Christina "Tina" Ely notified her staff today, Friday, April 25, 2014, that Monday would be the last edition of the Silver City Daily Press.
"Advertisers aren't buying ads," Ely said. "Groups and organizations wanted us to support their events, but did not support the Daily Press by buying ads. Advertising fell off quickly and precipitously.
"It's been a rough day for me," Ely told me, the Beat. "It's been coming for a long time. I can't fight anymore."
She said her father, William F. Ely, her predecessor as the owner of the Daily Press, told her if a large competitor came to town, the Daily Press would not last longer than 7-10 years. "He was an engineer. He knew the odds. We beat the odds by remaining in business for more than 15 years after a corporate newspaper took half our advertising away."
"The staff deserves the credit," Ely said. "Several of them have been with the Daily Press for more than 30 years, and others 15-20 years. The staff has held the Daily Press together all these years. I feel really bad at putting them out of a job. I also feel bad about my subscribers, who were the only ones who could still receive the news by mail. I feel like I've have let all of them down."
Ely first worked at the Daily Press, when she was a co-op student at the age of 12 years, working for her father.
According to Wikipedia, The Silver City Daily Press is a daily newspaper that serves the Silver City, New Mexico area of the United States. Founded in 1896 as the weekly Silver City Independent, the paper was purchased by the Ely family in 1934. In 1935, Colonel Clyde Ely renamed the paper the Silver City Daily Press and converted it into a daily newspaper. Tina Ely, granddaughter of Colonel Ely, was named publisher in 2006. In 2007, the newspaper received the Mark Twain Award from the New Mexico Associated Press Managing Editors for their outstanding member cooperation in 2006. Since the 2008 recession, the newspaper has outsourced its printing, discontinued its Saturday edition, increased its online presence, and joined an eleven member New Mexico newspaper exchange having a combined average of 67,000 newspapers per publication.
Background: I, the owner/editor of The Grant County Beat discovered what I wanted to be when I "grew up," when I, in 2001, took a job with the Daily Press as a reporter/photographer and columnist. I was hooked on reporting the news.
My goal was always for the Beat to become the electronic version of the print Daily Press, but it was not to be.
The Beat faces the same problems, in a different way from the Daily Press. In order for the Grant County Beat to grow and continue to be your daily "One Click to Local News," advertisers, classified and display, must be willing to support the effort.