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chamber 3945resizedPhoto of awardees and awarders at chamber luncheon

Photo and article by Mary Alice Murphy

The Silver City-Grant County Chamber of Commerce hosted two speakers at the monthly luncheon on Thursday, Sept. 7, 2017.

Stacy Cox of the United Way of Southwest New Mexico handed out financial grants totaling $80,000 to 12 recipients.

They include donations to Big Brothers, Big Sisters; Bike Works; El Refugio, Inc.; Gila Valley Library; Girl Scouts of the Desert Southwest; Guadalupe Montessori School; Imagination Library; Institute for Rural Social Work; Lion's Crane; Literacy Link-Leamos; Silver Regional SASS; and SPIN.

Cox said the United Way started the process of determining the recipients of the grants in 2016. "Each group sat with the allocation committee. It hit home to me how important United Way was. These groups don't have the capacity to go for large grants, so these small grants benefit them greatly."

"We are always looking for allocation committee members," Cox said. We give presentations to businesses to get donations. Many of the businesses match the donations of their employees. Every community is responsible for whom the money goes to. We are part of Give Grandly each year. We help out the Grant County Community Foundation, which through its Give Grandly days has raised $300,000 in three days over the past three years."

She said United Way is one of the big organizers for hurricane relief donations, too. "The money goes straight through to those who need it."

Cox said the United Way has an office in the old Office of Sustainability on Hudson Street, along with the Grant County Community Foundation.

Rynni Henderson of the Sun-News spoke next. She oversees the Silver City and Las Cruces Sun-News, as well as the Deming Headlight. "I was talking to Scott Terry (chamber president) about the changes we've made in the paper. Many newspapers across the country are reducing papers and pages in print. We are seeing an influx of digital first."

Henderson said she has been in the industry for 25 years, always on the business side. "I'm also an ad person. We are part of USA Today. In April, when we decided to cut our print to two days plus the Las Cruces Sunday edition, I was nervous. We reduced the number of pages, not just here, but also in Las Cruces and El Paso. I got a lot of negative feedback, but print is typically not growing. Our digital audience is eight times our print reach. We reach 20,000 people over seven days and on Facebook we have a 10,000 reach."

She explained that because the Wednesday, Friday and Sunday editions always had the most advertisers, "that's why we chose those days. Even older readers have quit print and have gone to digital. Everything goes online first before print, because we can update quickly. If you listen to the radio you might get the news in snippets. News travels fast. The reporter there is mostly likely mobile and is uploading the news on site. In Las Cruces and El Paso, we have brought the page numbers up."

"It is said that young people don't read print," Henderson said. "We have found about 59 percent of those from 18-24 do read print papers. Also new young folks as reporters like to create breaking news."

On the advertising side, "yes, we do it in print, but not a lot. The bulk is in digital. We have a whole portfolio of digital advertising tools. We will target ads to the demographic you want to reach. We are not only surviving but thriving."

Terry asked how one could subscribe online.

"If you take the print paper, you also have access to the online version," Henderson replied. "You can subscribe for 90 days or annually for $10 for digital access."

Terry asked how many staff members are located in Silver City. Henderson said the Silver City Sun-News is supported by staff in Las Cruces, El Paso and Phoenix. "We have Danny Udero and one other here. It's the same in Las Cruces. We are doing a lot with less."

Terry also asked how non-profits get into the paper.

"We welcome submissions, story ideas, and news releases," Henderson said. "Reach out to Danny. Print is not dead. It's just evolving."

She said the digital version has 175,000 readers in a month in Silver City and 2.5 million in Las Cruces.

Bruce Ashburn of PNM and a chamber board member asked if the paper was seeing a trend in demographics.

"Yes, 59 percent of the 18-24 age ground is reading a print paper at least once over seven days," Henderson said. "Young people are hungry for news, especially on social media, Facebook and Twitter. Our overall readership is up. Advertising is up, too. Advertising is part of the news and the sharp rise in digital."

She said the Sun-News does reverse publishing. "We put online first and then maybe in print. Older readers who swore they wouldn't, now look online."

Tom Vaughan of FeVa Fotos asked about fake news.

"There are two types," Henderson said. "Liberal and the far right side. Both are too biased. They are fake because they are biased. All of the daily newspapers I've worked with try to be balanced. We are now seeing a lot of 'news' on social media, which is a curse and a blessing. I think most local newspapers are trusted sources. We recently did a story on the need to try to verify from a trusted source."

Several attendees made announcements. Terry said the New Mexico Association of Commerce and Industry would be in town on Monday, Sept. 11 from 11-12:30 for a Focus Tour. "They want to hear from people." [Editor's Note: Expect an article soon.}

The chamber will host a ribbon cutting for Mimbres Hospital and Nursing Home at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 13.

Sandy Feutz of the Grant County Art Guild announced the Purchase Prize show, with a reception at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 19 at the Pinos Altos Hearst Church gallery. The judge will also present a three-day painting workshop.

The Red Hot Children's Fiesta took place on Saturday, Sept. 9 at Penny Park from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. [See slideshow at http://www.grantcountybeat.com/news/news-articles/39161-red-hot-children-s-fiesta-090917]

Western New Mexico University President Joseph Shepard said the kickoff football game against Eastern New Mexico University would take place Saturday also. [See results at http://www.grantcountybeat.com/news/sports/39156-greyhounds-nip-mustangs]

He also announced a 9/11 ceremony to take place Monday, Sept. 11, at 5 p.m. at Old James Stadium. [Editor's Note: Look for an upcoming article and slideshow on the event.]

Dave Baker of Bikeworks said Pedalista, a family fun day, would team with the Gran Fondo and would take place at Gough Park from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 14.

Rachel Sierra of El Refugio Inc. said October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The proclamation will be made Oct. 2 at 9 a.m. at the Woman's Club. A fundraising dinner would take place Oct. 13 at $35 a ticket. The annual domestic violence training for law enforcement and social workers would happen Oct. 25-27. One can register at the shelter at 300 S. Robert St.

Ashburn said: "We believe in you non-profits. Keep doing what you're doing."

Live from Silver City

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