Clara Garcia is living her lifelong dream of being a journalist

Teri Saylor

Special to Publishers' Auxiliary

Mar 1, 2022


As far back as Clara Garcia can remember, she has aspired to be a writer and a journalist.

She started working for the Valencia County News-Bulletin in Belen, New Mexico, more than 23 years ago as a crime and courts reporter, and today, she is the editor and publisher there.

“I’ve worked hard, I’ve worked smart, and I have been a loyal advocate of the Valencia County News-Bulletin for more than two decades,” she says. “I believe in this newspaper, in what we do on a daily basis, and how we serve our community.”

The Valencia County News-Bulletin, founded in 1910, is published on Thursdays and has a circulation of 15,000. Newspapers are distributed through the U.S. Postal Service and on racks around town. Valencia County is home to over 76,000 residents.

The staff at the Valencia County News-Bulletin is small, yet diverse, Garcia says.

“We are a staff of five — four in editorial (including myself) and our advertising manager,” she says. “We have varied experiences, from a reporter just out of college to a couple veteran journalists. We all work hard and have a continued desire to inform and educate our community. Our staff is talented, dedicated to community journalism, and delivers professional coverage.”

NNA asked NNA Foundation Director Garcia a few questions about newspapers, her life, and her career:

How do you view the future of community newspapers?

Community journalism is the most valuable asset any community possesses. We serve a unique purpose. While many community newspapers have fallen victim to financial crisis, community newspapers and community journalism are more important than ever.

We live in a time when people retweet and repost all sorts of “news.” It is us, community journalists, who research, investigate, report, write and publish actual and factual news from and about our communities. We create original content and do the work, and we are trusted.

As for the future of community newspapers, we have to learn how to change as the world has changed around us. We must be willing to be part of conversations and have a healthy presence on social media. We also need to step up and remind our readers, our advertisers and our communities of our value.

What are the most rewarding aspects of publishing a community newspaper?

I’m rewarded every single day by the quality people I work with, and by the positive and even the negative feedback I receive from our community. Being able to publish a community newspaper gives me, personally, a sense of accomplishment, but in the broader sense, it’s about what we are able to give to the community.

What are one or two lessons you have learned from your career as a publisher?

I’ve learned not to take criticism personally and how to give constructive criticism with positive intentions.

If you have any spare time for hobbies or leisure, what do you enjoy doing?

I’ve always been a creative, whether it’s writing, photography, crafting and even making “newspaper art.” Lately, I’ve been able to find time to crochet, a skill my mother taught me when I was a child. I’ve been making lots of hats for family members lately.

What is one thing about you that people in your community might be surprised to know?

I’m usually an open book, but what most people might be surprised to know is I regularly watch professional wrestling. It’s silly, but my husband, Matthew, and I are WWE fans.

How do you keep a healthy work/life balance?

That’s a hard question because I work on this on a day-to-day basis. As an editor and publisher, I’m available to my staff and to the community on a 24/7 basis. There are times on the weekend when I purposefully shut off my phone and put down my laptop and tablet so I can have quality family time.


Clara Garcia, 221 S. Main. St., Ste. B, Belen, NM, 87002;

Garcia can be reached by calling 505-966-8156 or emailing