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Ballantine 70: More of the story

Will Leavitt; Ballantine 70th: pullout section
David Ballantine
Other family members involved

Two other family members either have been or are involved. Will Leavitt, who lives in Fort Worth, Texas, was a former board member before his sister Sarah, and David Ballantine, brother of Christopher, is a company shareholder living in Los Angeles.

Directory Plus a success story

A significant financial component of Ballantine Communications has been its now 39-year-old Directory Plus, more local content, lower cost telephone books that have successfully competed with the national (or international) utility company directories.

Beginning in 1983 for Southwest Colorado and in 1984 for San Juan County, New Mexico, and later for central and southern New Mexico, Directory Plus shows that local ownership with local content and closer relationships with advertisers has value.

Even at a time of extensive digital resources, “The Red Book” as it’s popularly known, has numerous regular users. Yellow page advertising is still known to reflect experienced, reliable, often long-lived, retailers and service providers.

Directory Plus sales, production and marketing staff members do an excellent job.

Not everything proved successful

Not all of The Durango Herald’s initiatives have been successful. Between 1958 and 1960, the Herald published a newspaper for Montezuma County to the west and titled its Sunday paper The Durango-Cortez Herald.

Even with content from Montezuma County, the locally published Cortez papers were favored instead and the effort was ended.

Three weekly newspapers were closed in the 2000s, in Dolores, Mancos and Bayfield. That was painful, but production costs exceeded revenue. Content from those towns was added to the Cortez and Durango papers.

And with the purchase of the Cortez newspapers from Russ Brown in 1999, the Herald constructed a quality printing plant and newspaper office across the street from Cortez’s popular Parque de Vida.

With a decline in advertising revenue, a little more than a decade later that investment was proving to be uneconomical and printing was moved to the Daily Times in Farmington. That was a loss of jobs in Cortez, but the city of Cortez is making good use of the building as home to most of its administrative departments.