Belinda Mills, a publishing veteran who has worked at Southwestern newspapers, has been named publisher of the Eastern Arizona Courier and Copper Era.
“With a wonderful track record of successful publishing and service to local communities, Belinda brings a great cross section of passion for local and Southwestern journalism,” said Francis Wick, CEO and President of Wick Communications, owner of both newspapers. .
Wick is thrilled to see newspapers continue to thrive under Mills’ leadership, he said.
“For generations, Eastern Arizona Courier and Copper Era have supported local businesses and kept the community informed with award-winning local news,” he said. “With Belinda at the helm, our commitment to serving the Gila Valley will continue for years to come.”
Mills grew up on a farm in rural Texas, and it was there that she first fell in love with journalism.
“I became an avid reader when I was very young because I lived far from everything,” she laughs. “I fell in love with writing when I was a kid. I wrote my first newspaper article in fifth grade; I was a reporter for our 4H club.
His professional life began in the newsroom – reporting, taking photos and working in the darkroom. At the age of 20, she became the editor of a small central Texas weekly.
Eventually, she moved to the advertising side of the business and worked her way up, gaining experience in print and digital media.
Mills has held leadership positions in New Mexico, California and Texas. His most recent role before coming to the Gila Valley was Sales Manager for Hearst Corporation in Beaumont, Texas.
“I have a real passion for the purpose of newspapers,” she said. “I think what we are doing is very important – we are the Fourth Estate, we are the watchdogs. We are here to protect people’s freedom.
She’s worked for organizations large and small, but the connectivity of a small town is what drives her to come to work every day.
“I love the sense of community – I think people here really care about each other,” she said of Graham and Greenlee counties. “I look forward to meeting the community and being a part of it.”
Mills lived in Silver City, New Mexico for several years, so she visited the area long before settling here.
“I really missed the mountain landscapes. I really like walking outside and seeing the mountains and I like being in the middle of an agricultural area,” she said. “I grew up around agriculture and animals. I was a 4H kid and showed cattle throughout my youth.
Mills’ son Cameron also lives in Safford. Joining her here are her two dogs, Bailey and Jasper.
Over the next few months, she plans to attend events, meet with community stakeholders and connect with Courier and Copper Era readers. It’s this community involvement that makes her an ideal person to lead the newspapers, said the group’s publisher, Dru Sanchez.
“Belinda brings with her a wealth of experience. I look forward to her involvement in the community, the partnerships she will establish and her general ideas on how to continue to support Safford and the surrounding communities,” she said.
Wick Communications is a family-owned community media company with newspapers, websites, magazines and trade publications in 10 states. Headquarters are in Sierra Vista, Arizona, and Wick publishes newspapers in Arizona, Alaska, Colorado, Idaho, Louisiana, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota and in Washington.