Ballantine Communications to acquire Farmington (NM) Daily Times

May 15, 2024

FARMINGTON, New MexicoBallantine Communications Inc., which owns The Durango Herald and The Journal in Southwest Colorado, announced May 3 that it has reached an agreement with Gannett Co. Inc. to purchase the Farmington Daily Times.

BCI also owns the Tri-City Record in Farmington, New Mexico. The company said it plans to merge the Farmington Daily Times with the Tri-City Record effective June 1 to strengthen local news coverage across San Juan County, New Mexico.

Dirks, Van Essen & April, a media merger and acquisition firm based in Santa Fe, New Mexico, represented Gannett in the transaction. John Cribb of Cribb Cope & Potts represented the Ballantine family.

“We look forward to welcoming the Farmington Daily Times’ readers and winning them over with our commitment to credible and comprehensive local reporting,” said John Blais, CEO and publisher for BCI, in a letter to employees announcing the deal.

 “Gannett’s mission is to empower and enrich communities across the country, and our business decisions are driven by our commitment to best serve them,” said Michael Anastasi, Gannett VP of Local News. “We are grateful for the support of our readers and advertisers throughout the years and thank our employees for their dedication and hard work.”

The Daily Times began in 1890 as the Junction City Times. Since then, it has merged and changed ownership several times. It has also undergone several name changes, including Farmington Times, Farmington Hustler and Farmington Times-Hustler. It became the Farmington Daily Times around the 1950s when it began publishing daily. Gannett Co. Inc. purchased the paper in 2015.

With the merger, the Daily Times will continue under the Tri-City Record banner.

BCI launched the Tri-City Record in May 2023 in an effort to better serve northwest New Mexico with timely, local news reporting. The newspaper publishes three days a week – Monday, Wednesday, and Friday – and covers topics such as water, education, sports, public safety, and city and county governments. It serves Farmington, Aztec, Bloomfield, Kirtland, Shiprock and other communities on the Navajo Nation.

The Tri-City Record has an office on Main Street in downtown Farmington, and its news staff members are local to those communities. BCI Senior Editor Trent Stephens of Cortez oversees newsroom operations.

“The plucky startup has also benefited greatly from the administrative and marketing support from employees at Ballantine Communications headquarters, The Durango Herald and The Journal,” Blais wrote in his letter to employees.

The family-owned BCI media company is expanding during a time when most media markets are contracting. The move to expand shows the company’s commitment to the Four Corners and serving its communities and businesses with relevant, local content, Blais said.

BCI Board Chairman Richard G. Ballantine said northwest New Mexico and Southwest Colorado share a number of similar issues, including cultural and economic, and the family communications company “looks forward to reporting on them in even more breadth and depth.”

“It’s a broad region with a myriad of significant attractions that are worth sharing,” Ballantine said. “The Daily Times provides an expanded foundation for that writing and opinion.” 

The move will consolidate the two newspapers’ audiences in Farmington and San Juan County, and add to BCI’s larger audience in Southwest Colorado. The Herald, Journal and Tri-City Record have a combined reach of more than 400,000 unique visitors per month and more than 3.7 million engagements.

BCI has published a phone directory in San Juan County since 1984 and has had an active news bureau in Farmington since 2019.

While the name of the Farmington Daily Times will change to Tri-City Record, it will remain the paper of record in San Juan County under the Tri-City Record banner. News, features and advertising from both papers will be merged into one publication.

The six-day frequency of the Farmington Daily Times will conform to the three-day frequency of the Tri-City Record. Local news is published online seven days a week. Active subscriptions to the Farmington Daily Times will be converted to the Tri-City Record and will be extended to make up for the conversion to the Tri-City Record’s three-day publication schedule.