NMID’s Trip Jennings discusses ethics commission proposal on NMPBS

NMID’s Trip Jennings discussed a November ballot measure that would create an independent ethics commission on the New Mexico PBS public affairs show “New Mexico in Focus.” If voters approve the measure Nov. 6, the Legislature, with input from New Mexico’s next governor, will work out how the commission will operate and who it will oversee during the 2019 legislative session. Already, a working group meeting through the fall is discussing draft ethics commission legislation that would go to state lawmakers to prime the conversation. The group’s next meeting is Thursday afternoon at the University of New Mexico Science & Technology Park Rotunda, 851 University Boulevard SE, Albuquerque.

A free press is not the enemy of the people

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?

NMID wins big in regional journalism contest

New Mexico In Depth notched two wins competing against the largest newspapers, radio and TV stations in the four-state region of New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming and Utah. The awards, part of the annual Society of Professional Journalists’ Top of the Rockies contest, were announced last week at the Denver Press Club.  

NMID’s Deputy Director Marjorie Childress won first place in the political enterprise reporting category for newspapers whose circulation tops 75,000 and large-market radio and TV stations. Her September 2017 story Realtors and developers give big money to ABQ mayoral candidates took the prize. Using data analysis, Childress examined campaign finance data and then did additional reporting to conclude the real estate and land development sector had given roughly $1 of every $4 raised in the Albuquerque mayoral race as election day neared.

NM In Depth wins 10 awards from Press Women’s Association

The work of New Mexico In Depth reporters, editors and Fellows has been recognized with 10 awards from the New Mexico Press Women’s Association, including stories that have explored the real-life consequences for DACA recipients of the Trump administration’s policies and whether young people are leaving the state because of a lack of opportunities. Also garnering awards were articles examining the effect of money in the Albuquerque mayor’s race and a look at the city’s urban Indian population three years after two homeless Native Americans were killed in a vicious attack. “We’re extraordinarily proud of our showing,” said NMID Executive Director Trip Jennings, citing in particular the honors three of NMID’s Fellows — Xchelzin Peña, Melorie Begay and Robert Salas — won in the contest. All three are the first recipients of NMID’s Fellowships. NMID started the program in 2016 for journalism students and recent graduates of color at the University of New Mexico and New Mexico State University.

Reports suggest more than $58,000 taken from Papen

Amended campaign finance reports filed by Senate President pro tem Mary Kay Papen, D-Las Cruces, indicate the amount of money allegedly stolen from her Senate campaign account and her political action committee. The amended reports list 88 new expenditures totaling $50,376 from her Senate account, and eight for $8,300 from her Senate PAC account.

Close the door on candidates, lose control of government

COMMENTARY: If you think the political operatives and PACs who package candidates should pick your elected representatives and make campaigns for office incredibly expensive, stop reading and do not answer your door.