“This is one of the best appointments I have had the pleasure to make,” said Michael C. Bush, CEO and President of Heartland Publications. “Sammy is a seasoned communications and media professional who truly understands community newspapers. Sammy understands that the long term interests of a newspaper and the community it serves are intrinsically linked. He will work hard to help make both the newspaper and its community successful.”
Lopez comes to the tri-county area from Farmington, N.M., where he served as publisher of The Daily Times, the largest and most influential newspaper in the Four Corners region of New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona and Utah. During his five years at the helm, Lopez led The Daily Times to national prominence both in its news coverage and in generating advertising revenue.
Lopez has enjoyed a long, successful history in the newspaper business. He was publisher of the Las Cruces (N.M.) Sun News (2003-2004) and Current-Argus (1995-2003) in Carlsbad, N.M. He was publisher and group manager for World West Ltd. Liability Co. and Raljon Publishing (1990-1995), a position that involved supervision of eight newspapers in three states.
His career in journalism began in 1972 when he was hired as a photographer by the Valencia County News Bulletin. He later worked for the Santa Fe New Mexican, De Baca County News, The Taos News, Deming Headlight and Ruidoso News.
During his career, Lopez has won a variety of awards for his personal advertising and journalism prowess and many of the newspapers he has managed have been award-winning publications. In 2008, he was named the recipient of the William S. Dixon First Amendment Freedom Award, which is sponsored by the Foundation for Open Government.
He is a former president of the New Mexico Press Association (1984), past president of the Taos Rotary Club (1985), a Paul Harris Fellow and past member of the San Juan Rotary Club.
Lopez has served as a discussion leader at the American Press Institute in Reston, Va., seven times teaching publishers from across the country.
Lopez and his wife, Kathy, most recently lived in Farmington with their daughter, Melinda, who is a freshman at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, N.M. Lopez is an avid golfer, hunter and enjoys the outdoors.