The Rio Rancho Observer celebrated its 50th anniversary and the opening of its new location with a ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday.

Several community leaders flanked Observer Editor Tracy Goldizen as she cut the ribbon in front of the new office located at 2316 Southern Blvd. Suite B.

The Observer staff has been working out of the Journal Center since its previous office flooded in February. Thursday, Goldizen officially ruled the new office is open for business.

“When I was named editor of the Rio Rancho Observer in January, I had no idea that I would face such a challenge of being flooded out of our former office and finding a new place to call home,” Goldizen said. “I want to thank the staff of the Observer for persevering through it and continuing to provide great, local news coverage to the Rio Rancho and surrounding Sandoval County communities. Not only did we survive, we thrived, more than doubling our online readership.”

State Reps. Joshua Hernandez and Alan Martinez, Rio Rancho Regional Chamber of Commerce President Jerry Schalow, Sandoval County Commission Chair Dave Heil and Sandoval County Deputy Manager John Garcia were in attendance to help the Observer celebrate.

“We really appreciate what you do for our community,” Garcia said. “We need more of this kind of messaging out there. Good, objective truth. So thank you for doing that.”

Schalow credited the paper for its role in the community as well. “The impact that this community is having on the entire state of New Mexico is because of the stories you guys tell,” he said.

The Observer was celebrating more than a new office. On June 8, 1973, the first edition of what would become the Rio Rancho Observer was printed as the Mid-Valley Weekly Observer.

“Journalistic style — and the size of newspapers — have changed since the first issue rolled off the press in 1973, and it has shifted to different modes: digital, social media, video, and more, in addition to print,” Goldizen said. “However, one thing has not changed, and that is the dedication to the craft. In the six months or so that I’ve been working with this team, I have seen the dedication they have to serving the community.”

That dedication will continue as the Observer kicks off a new era.

“I anticipate this team will take the Observer even further than it’s come in the past six months,” Goldizen said. “It is our goal that when this community thinks of news, it thinks of the Rio Rancho Observer. 2023 has brought a lot of changes for the paper, so here’s to a fresh start at 50.”