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Albuquerque Journal’s Robert Rivera on creating a culture founded on commitment

Robert Rivera: "We have had many employees who have spent their entire working lives with this company. We are family owned and operated by the Lang family who are very hands on and appreciate their employees. After 25 years of employment, they gift employees with a Rolex watch and hang their picture in our cafeteria to show their appreciation."
Robert Rivera: "We have had many employees who have spent their entire working lives with this company. We are family owned and operated by the Lang family who are very hands on and appreciate their employees. After 25 years of employment, they gift employees with a Rolex watch and hang their picture in our cafeteria to show their appreciation."
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This interview is part of the Alliance for Audited Media’s new Media Mavens article series that features industry leaders and the impact they have made throughout their careers on their colleagues, companies and the industry.

Albuquerque Journal’s Robert Rivera got his start in the industry right out of high school by delivering newspapers at retail rack and dealer locations for the company. More than 20 years later, he’s Albuquerque Journal’s vice president of circulation. Here Robert shares how his company rewards committed employees, the value of growing together as a team and what advice he would give to someone starting out in the industry.

AAM: How has your career evolved since you began?

Robert Rivera: When I began, newspapers were the go-to place for news, information, classifieds and content. The digital age has changed that by putting everything at your fingertips. Our industry has had to evolve by creating websites, apps, social network pages and digital content.

AAM: Can you share one initiative you were part of that helped your company achieve its goals?

Robert Rivera: The Albuquerque Journal was one of the first newspapers to pull newspaper vending machines off the streets. We were able to save the company more than $1 million per year and salvage any loss in newspaper sales by adding more retail locations and adjusting draws at existing locations.

AAM: What are you most proud of in your career and why?

Robert Rivera: My growth and the growth of my team. I have learned so much from others in our company who are eager to see us grow, and I have continued to pay that forward by helping others on my team grow as leaders.

AAM: What one word describes your company?

Robert Rivera: Loyalty. We have had many employees who have spent their entire working lives with this company. We are family owned and operated by the Lang family who are very hands on and appreciate their employees. After 25 years of employment, they gift employees with a Rolex watch and hang their picture in our cafeteria to show their appreciation. We have so many employees on the wall that we have had to create more space to hang these pictures.

AAM:  In what ways has AAM supported your company to reach its goals?

Robert Rivera: Since AAM reporting is standardized across the industry, it has been a great tool for us to use to compare our publication to others of similar size nationwide and identify opportunities.

AAM: If you could give someone starting out in your field one piece of advice, what would it be?

Robert Rivera: Be prepared for anything. Anything from irate customer calls and emails to natural disasters, broken down equipment or even a pandemic. Also, always be open to innovation.

To read more interviews with AAM’s Media Mavens, visit auditedmedia.com.

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