FARMINGTON — Chris Roberts began work as managing editor of The Daily Times on Wednesday.
Roberts had worked since 2005 at the El Paso Times, where he was most recently an investigative reporter. The newspapers share the same parent company, Digital First Media.
Roberts succeeds Troy Turner as The Daily Times’ top editor. Turner accepted a promotion to Digital First’s news team in New York City.
“What it really comes down to in this business is community journalism, the kind of thing you can’t get anywhere else,” Roberts said. “And it needs to be done well.”
Roberts, 59, earned a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Colorado and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Michigan.
He grew up in Wewoka, Okla., but his family moved frequently because of his father’s career as a petroleum geologist for Socony-Mobil, a forerunner of ExxonMobil. Roberts spent his childhood in South America and North Africa.
“I grew up in different cultures and I learned to appreciate the differences,” he said. “I look forward to learning more about Native American issues here and that will be an important part of our coverage.”
Daily Times Publisher John Elchert said he looks forward to Roberts becoming involved in the community and learning its issues.
“His excitement and passion for journalism is really exciting to me because I think we’re going to see some real good things happening on the news side,” Elchert said. “We have a good news team and I think his leadership is going to take it to new heights.”
In El Paso, Roberts tackled large-scale public policy issues like urban zoning and sprawl development.
“I’m all for writing positive stories when it’s appropriate — we need to do that,” he said. “However, when there’s corruption or malfeasance, when tax money is not being used in the most efficient ways, we need to let people know about that, too.”
Roberts is committed to digital journalism and social media.
“Digital First has a plan that gives me hope,” he said. Increasing reader interaction with the paper through online updates, Facebook and Twitter allows reporters to find new sources, he said, and makes online ad space more valuable.
In his free time, Roberts enjoys backpacking and telemark skiing.