The role of the press has been contentious from the very early days of our democracy. The men who authored the foundational documents of the United States enshrined a free press in the first amendment to the Constitution. For just as long, it’s been a time-honored tradition for elected officials to lambast media reports as false, wrong-headed, not accurate…and in recent years, “fake.”
More than likely, the press has also been called the “enemy of the people” before the current era. But it’s doubtful there has been such a wholesale onslaught on the public’s confidence in the press as that conducted by the current occupant of the White House. Do we sometimes get it wrong?
Last week New Mexico In Depth published a series about a crisis happening in plain sight– the frequency with which Native American youth in New Mexico are dying by their own hands.
The rate is more than twice as high as in other ethnicities or populations — a stunning statistic.
Given the significance and seriousness of the issue, the subject might as well not exist for many New Mexicans. New Mexico media seldom reports on it for various reasons, including many outlets’ struggle to do more with less in an era of downsizing. More importantly, the subject seems to rarely break through the haze of competing priorities each year in Santa Fe as the state’s 112 lawmakers convene to deliberate on the state’s most pressing issues.
Judging from reader response, however, our series touched a nerve.
New Mexico In Depth won 1st place in overall excellence for an organization at the 2015 New Mexico Press Women Communications Awards Contest. The overall honor came after NMID collected awards in several categories, including 1st, 2nd, 3rd place and honorable mention in Enterprise Reporting.
COMMENTARY: We at New Mexico In Depth were a bit confused – befuddled might be a better word – at your press release yesterday implying the media hasn’t scrutinized the behavioral health situation. We think maybe you’re a little behind on your reading.