El Rito Media acquires Alamogordo Daily News, the Carlsbad Current Argus, and the Ruidoso NewsBack to News

Albuquerque, New Mexico – May 7, 2024 –  Two years ago, a group of Republicans and Democrats, contrarians all, formed El Rito Media, LLC for the purpose of undertaking an experiment. Their question was whether a formula could be devised for saving local newspapers? Local newspapers were disappearing, but the members of El Rito considered local newspapers to be vital to the wellbeing of local communities.

El Rito’s initial purchase in 2022 was the Rio Grande Sun in Española, New Mexico. One year ago, it bought The Artesia Daily Press in Artesia, New Mexico.

Now, the experiment continues as El Rito Media, LLC has agreed to purchase from Gannett three additional newspapers in New Mexico: the Alamogordo Daily News, the Carlsbad Current Argus, and the Ruidoso News.

Dirks, Van Essen & April, a media merger and acquisition firm based in Santa Fe, New Mexico, represented Gannett in the transaction. The transaction is expected to close on or near June 1st.

This will bring El Rito’s ownership of local newspapers in the state to five.

“We appreciate Gannett’s willingness to sell us these local newspapers with long and proud histories of serving their respective communities,” said Harvey E. Yates, Jr., managing member of El Rito.

“Gannett’s mission is to empower and enrich communities across the country, and our business decisions are driven by our commitment to best serve them,” said Michael Anastasi, Gannett VP of Local News. “We are grateful for the support of our readers and advertisers throughout the years and thank our employees for their dedication and hard work.”

Yates emphasized that the primary focus of the newspapers will be local news and local opinion. He also said that over time the success of a local newspaper is dependent on the support of readers and advertisers. El Rito management, he said, is eager to meet with local community residents and leaders to discuss the best way forward for the newspapers.

Management of the additional newspapers will be the responsibility of Richard L. Connor. He will serve as editor and publisher of all five El Rito newspapers. Connor hopes to employ local community members to assist with reporting and local newspaper management.

Frank Leto is Chief Revenue Officer for El Rito’s newspapers and will assist Connor by serving as general manager while focusing on sales. “We’re fortunate to have Frank Leto,” said Connor. “He once served as publisher of the Las Cruces Sun-News and had group publishing responsibilities for the three additional newspapers we are acquiring.”

Personnel will be added to the three newspapers and interviews will begin immediately for additional editors, reporters, and sales and marketing executives.