Just weeks after buying the Sandoval Signpost, Albuquerque city councilor and cannabis consultant Pat Davis bought the Edgewood Independent with his publishing company CTRL+P.
Davis now owns four papers: the Corrales Comment, and The Paper. as well as the two recently-purchased papers.
Davis said buying another paper wasn’t on his “radar”, but former Independent owner Leota Harriman reached out to him recently about taking over the Independent. Unlike the purchases of the Sandoval Signpost and the Corrales Comment, Davis took out a loan to buy the paper and avoid “emergency” closure.
He didn’t disclose the purchase price.
“We sort of set off on this plan to find a way to avoid closure and give them a rescue lifeline a little bit,” Davis said.
The paper will start printing under the new ownership in January.
There are currently two paid employees at the Edgewood Independent. Harriman, the current editor, is one of them. She’ll remain on as editor after the New Year transition. The other employee has received an offer, but has yet to decide if they will stay on. The paper works with several freelancers, who have all been asked to continue writing for the paper past January, but Davis said he doesn’t have confirmation on how many will stay on.
Harriman has owned the paper since 2010.
“There’s a ridiculous amount of news in Edgewood,” Harriman said. “It’s a small town, but you know, they have a lot going on. You know it comes down to not wanting to have a news desert out here. … I came to the conclusion that it would be better to keep the publication going than to keep my ownership of it.”
Harriman contracted COVID-19 early this year and was out of the office for two months. During that time, the Independent was unable to publish. A little over a month ago, she got sick again, and the paper once again had to cease publication. Selling, she said, would help her focus on the journalism rather than the business.
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“I’m not here because I just want to sling ink on newsprint, you know,” Harriman said. “If we can’t do the job correctly, I don’t want to do it. So I came to the difficult decision that I needed to sell if I could sell.”
The Edgewood Independent covers 4,000 square miles and three counties. Davis said he hopes that the nearby Sandoval Signpost will be able to share coverage with its Edgewood counterpart.
The Independent was founded in 1999 by husband and wife Wally Gordon and Thelma Bowles at their “kitchen table,” Harriman said. Over the years, Harriman said, several other papers came and left Edgewood.
“I think the Independent had the strongest tie to the community, and, you know a really strong journalism ethic that continues,” Harriman said. “The journalism is paramount. And, you know, people want, they hunger for just plain journalism.”
Harriman, who has lived in Edgewood for over 20 years, started working at the paper in the early 2000s. Over her tenure, she’s held almost every job in the newsroom, doing everything from deliveries to office management to reporting. Harriman was assistant editor before Gordon retired and she bought the paper.
CTRL+P bought the Corrales Comment in June. In 2020, Davis co-founded The Paper. as a replacement for Albuquerque-based newsweekly the Weekly Alibi, which went under that same year. Earlier this month, he confirmed that he would not be running for reelection to city council.
Like the Corrales Comment and the Sandoval Signpost, Davis said CTRL+P will focus on updating the paper’s digital presence.
“When you’re running your own newspaper, you have to do it all,” Davis said. “We’ll make better news if we can free our reporters up to do what they do better.”