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Newspapers have a serious role in the world.
“We need to be watchdogs, watch the cities, the boards and stuff like that,” said the Las Cruces Bulletin’s new editor Dave Burge. “But I really like is a good story whether it’s a movie, a newspaper story or a book.”
Burge said he doesn’t want to live in a world where the only news comes in 20 cell phone alerts daily about some official in the presidential administration who has quit but the local school board goes uncovered.
“I think the Bulletin has latched on to the winning formula of print journalism,” he said. “Going forward we need to remain focused on local. People need to know what our kids are doing when they are doing good stuff. Community journalism plays a huge role as far as what the founders of the country wanted as far as a balancing act.”
“Dave is an old-school newspaper guy with a new-school understanding of the way audiences use all forms of media,” Bulletin publisher Richard Coltharp said. “He’s got great energy for the work, and great enthusiasm for telling the stories of Las Cruces.”
Burge has lived in the desert southwest since 1996 when he moved from California to Farmington to take a job at the Farmington Daily Times.
“If you wear out a pair of boots out here you will spend the rest of your life in the Southwest,” a Daily Times coworker told him. And here he still is.
“I fell in love with the beauty and the culture out here in New Mexico and west Texas,” he said. “When I lived up in Farmington, I had a map and I had a hundred places I wanted to visit, and I think I got to about 85 of them when I was there.”
One of those visits took him from Farmington to the southern part of the state including Bosque del Apache, the Valley of the Fires, and earned him a speeding ticket as he was trying to get to White Sands by sunset. He made it though and even got up early the next day and hiked at the sands. He stopped at the Three Rivers petroglyphs on the way back up.
“It was really my introduction to southern New Mexico and this part of the country,” he said. “I’ve been in love with southwest ever since.”
Growing up in the 1970s everybody was kind of influenced by Vietnam and Watergate, Burge said. The specters of that, Woodward and Bernstein, “All the President’s Men” and the energy of the era made him want to be a reporter.
“The thing that really hit me in its heart and spirit was the movie ‘The Man Who Would Be King,’” he said. “That’s what really made me want to be a storyteller.”
Burge went to California State University-Hayward (now East Bay), to major in journalism.
“After trying to major in more practical stuff like computer science, I came back to journalism because I loved it,” he said. “I think I was in college the last time I got a paycheck outside a media entity.”
He has worked at newspapers in three states and the Las Cruces Bulletin is his sixth newspaper. After 16 years at the El Paso Times, Burge spent the last 2 1/2 years at ABC-7 KVIA and is well familiar with this market.
“I would like to learn more about Las Cruces, but I am definitely no stranger to this borderland region,” he said. “I’m super excited to be here. We have an awesome team. I think a good newspaper is like a comfortable pair of slippers. I want to help everybody take it to the next level and continue to be the type of newspaper that the staff and community and Osteen Publishing is proud to be a part of.”
The expansion of sports section is one thing that has already made a difference to the paper the readers are loving.
“I’m a lifelong sports fan,” Burge said. “My first love Major League Baseball but I love basketball, football – all of it.”
Going forward he said he would like to see the Bulletin emphasize some of its original journalism and showcase it a little bit better.
“We have a unique challenge,” he said. “We want to offer something different, whether it’s context, detail or some good news that may have gotten overlooked. I’m a big believer in that you can never go wrong with young people doing good things in our community and highlighting them.”