Newspaper Tree, once an El Paso news fixture, is relaunching as a nonprofit news site.
Newspaper Tree shut down in 2010 after it was bought by the El Paso Community Foundation with the intention of turning it into a nonprofit. The paper, which covered El Paso, Juárez and Southern New Mexico as a for-profit online venture starting in 2003, plans to become a nonprofit organization focused on investigative and community journalism.
The paper’s name comes from a story in El Paso’s history. In the mid- to late 1800s, El Paso was a small adobe village that was too small for a newspaper. An ash tree in the city center served as a bulletin board where people would post notices.
“This is what the newspaper means,” said Louie Gilot, the site's publisher and a former El Paso Times reporter. “Our need for information and dialogue.”
Reyes Mata III, also a former El Paso Times writer, who has worked for the San Angelo Standard-Times and the Las Cruces Sun-News, will be the site's managing editor.
"In the complex atmosphere of today's United States-Mexico Border, an innovative media source has the opportunity to publish the news, critique the personalities, and perform the analysis that can help illustrate the unique condition of our bi-national, bilingual community,” Mata said.
Newspaper Tree may not have the resources to launch as a completely bilingual site, but Gilot said its goal is to eventually be entirely bilingual.
Debbie Nathan, the site's investigative reporter, has published work in The New York Times, Los Angeles Times Magazine, The Atlantic, Ms., New York Magazine, The Nation, Playboy, Texas Monthly, Texas Observer, Salon, The Village Voice and other publications.
Newspaper Tree is planning a relaunch within the next few months.