After four years at the helm of the Taos News editorial team, Staci Matlock has passed the torch to Taylor Hood, who comes well-equipped to take on the role.
Matlock, like most everyone, found her world transformed by the pandemic, disrupting her usual routines as well as the newsroom. Her father's chronic illness worsened and she made the difficult, but right, decision to go and be there for her mother in the event of his passing. He died just weeks after she left the paper. Matlock's scruples, integrity and high expectations will continue to be regarded as Hood navigates a new direction for the Taos News.
“Taylor is a talented journalist with deeps roots in New Mexico,” notes Taos News Publisher, Chris Baker. “His work at the Albuquerque Journal and Albuquerque the Magazine gives him a unique perspective on the state. We are pleased to have him move into this new leadership role as we continue our commitment to the fiber edition, at the same time we expand and improve our digital products.”
No stranger to El Norte, Hood is a native New Mexican, born and raised in Albuquerque. Hood graduated from UNM with a double major in media arts and history.
“I focused on film history and criticism,” he says, “I have a particular love of horror film – my favorites are The Shining and It Follows.”
An avid reader, Hood cites "Dune” as his favorite novel. “ I have many others that made it to my list,” he says, “but I keep returning to this one.”
A music fan, his favorite band is Modest Mouse.
“My first concert was The Grass Roots at Balloon Fiesta Park with my dad,” Hood recalls. “He let me play hooky from Sunday school.”
After Hood broke his neck in a freak skiing accident nine years ago, and was confined to a chair, he started an online pop culture magazine called The Inside Mag. After his recovery, he parlayed that practical experience into a position at the sports desk at the Albuquerque Journal. Three years later he became the assistant editor and then editor-in-chief at Albuquerque The Magazine.
He and wife Rosemary, have two sons, Milo (11) and Rhys (9), as well as a pug named Puddles, and Pickles the cat.
“Last year, my mother passed away and left me enough money to purchase a home in Black Lake, which allowed me to come and work at Taos News.” Hood says, "This is really a dream come true. Every New Mexican knows the Enchanted Circle – and Taos in particular – is the most beautiful spot on earth. And the Taos News has such a history and a pristine reputation. I can't wait to get started."
“I’m impressed by his enthusiasm for the job. I’m happy he loves youth sports because they are so vital to the society of Northern New Mexico. And I am glad he is familiar with our state,” says Taos News owner Robin Martin.
While Hood’s enthusiasm is contagious – already the news room is buzzing with fresh, new energy – his humility and unpretentious manner is equally endearing. His arrival at the Taos News was without fuss nor fanfare; he came in, got to work and made the transition seem breezy, a testament to his easygoing leadership style that points to an innate understanding of Northern New Mexico, and Taos in particular.
Hood is sensitive to the needs of the community and will no doubt bring his own considerable style to the paper.
"Thank you to Chris Baker and Robin Martin for their belief in me. And thank you to the entire team and the entire town for the warm welcome. Especially, thank you to my predecessor, Staci Matlock. Her support and guidance has been such a gift."