Santa Fe Living Treasures ‚Äď Elder Stories
Honored May 2017
A talented man of eloquent words and good deeds, Richard McCord has enhanced the character of our town. Before coming to Santa Fe in 1974 he worked for Newsday in New York, then locally for the New Mexican. Richard co-founded the Santa Fe Reporter, an alternate weekly news paper that was a life line to our community with features including Santa Fe news, culture, politics, arts, and entertainment. It deepened our town’s understanding of itself. He held an honest mirror to SF, not always flattering, but always true. He trained many aspiring journalists in the finer, truer, aspects of real journalism. Many of those he mentored went on to work for some of the country’s most decorated newspapers. One said Richard was “a great word editor and great encourager.”
For the 14 years he ran the Reporter, Richard was overworked and underpaid. Yet, his achievements speak loudly about the elegance and power of his words. The Reporter won more than 200 awards for excellence, 40 on the national level, often competing with large dailies. His editorials took top honors from the New Mexico and Albuquerque Press Associations; he was runner up for a Pulitzer Prize, and received the Lifetime Achievement Award from International Society of Weekly Newspaper Editors.
Richard has impeccable integrity, a keen intelligence, a warm generous heart, and an upbeat wicked sense of humor. Cerebral but passionate about life, he’s gutsy, driven to right the wrongs he saw, a rebel with many causes. He is a fine man, a man of dignity, honor and courage and a genuinely kind demeanor towards others.
Richard is a vital contributing member of the Old Santa Fe Association, whose mission is to preserve and maintain the ancient landmarks and historical structures and to guide growth and development in a way that preserves Santa Fe’s unique charm. Richard creatively wrote an article vividly describing what Santa Fe would look like today if there had been no OSFA.
After selling the Reporter, Richard went on to become an acclaimed book author. Richard never shied away from challenging and controversial subjects and never backed down from truth or injustice. He was compared to David against Goliath when Richard used his gift of words and grit to expose the underhanded tactics of Gannett, the wealthy newspaper chain to show how media corporations decimate local newspapers that once reflected a town’s character.
The Living Treasures committee valued Richard as an active, vital member who not only presented the Treasures honored bi annually, but beautifully captured their essence and spirit in the book Living Treasures, Our Elders Our Hearts.
Richard has a deep and abiding love of Santa Fe. He touched and was touched by Santa Feans of all types. He took on every injustice, every silliness and lauded every tradition and cultural icon he came across, from the Round House to the Oldest house. Richard McCord is more than a proud and accomplished citizen of SF; he IS Santa Fe.
Story by Nancy Dahl
Photo © 2017 by Genevieve Russell