Richard Connor

The Rio Grande SUN has been sold by Editor and Publisher Robert B. Trapp, nearly 66 years after its founding by his parents, Robert E. and Ruth Trapp and Bill and Hollie Birkett, to a group of New Mexican investors, El Rito Media, LLC.

The sale was completed April 1 at the SUN’s office. The purchase price and terms were not disclosed. Trapp will be helping the new owners with the transition over the next two weeks.

Richard L. Connor, a veteran newspaper editor, publisher and newspaper owner will replace Trapp. Connor, over a long career, has overseen newspaper operations in 10 states across the country, owning and operating a number of dailies and weeklies as well as working as editor and publisher for publicly owned media companies.

The first issue of the SUN was published Oct. 5, 1956, by the original four owners. Ultimately the Trapps bought the Birketts’ interest in the newspaper.

In a special edition marking the 50th anniversary of the SUN, published Oct. 5, 2006, the lead story recounted multiple offers over the years Robert E. Trapp had from potential buyers, most often from the late Robert McKinney, then-owner of the Santa Fe New Mexican, All those offers were rebuffed.

After much contemplation, Robert B. Trapp decided to sell, albeit to a completely different buyer.

“I watched my parents come to work every day, literally until the day they died,” Robert B. Trapp said Monday. “No one owns a weekly newspaper. It owns you. I’ve got too many things I want to do before I die and I can’t do them and run a weekly newspaper.”

The SUN has an illustrious and storied history as a hard-charging, fearless weekly newspaper of record. It has provided the career foundation for several reporters who began working at the SUN before moving on to larger newspaper markets.

Over the years, the newspaper has been the recipient of multiple awards for reporting and photography. It was the subject of a film documentary “The Sun Never Sets,” produced by Ben Daitz and Dale Sonnenberg, New Mexico filmmakers. The film was featured during a special screening for journalists and the public at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., in August 2013 and is available at www.newdealfilms.com.

The documentary focuses on the long-standing devotion of the SUN to the fundamental traditions of good, community journalism covering all aspects of local life – good and bad – and other noteworthy events  that mark the life and history of a city and town, county, and state.

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