Now here’s another look at our year with a look at our ten most-read stories of the year, as shown by Google Analytics.
Before I start, I do want to say that we set ourselves what we felt like was an ambitious traffic goal; right now we are at over 160 percent of that goal. We reached the goal at the end of August. Many of our top-ten stories were originally reported and investigative stories, including stories broken first by NM Political Report.
To the list:
Emotions were high after the end of the legislative session and when Senators went to inform the governor that the Senate had adjourned, a largely ceremonial task, she was like a “dictator who had been thwarted” according to Albuquerque Democrat Jerry Ortiz y Pino.
At issue was the failure of capital outlay and a tax package that was one of her top priorities.
The idea of teacher evaluations has been controversial, and we found that an Albuquerque music teacher was given a failing grade—based on subjects he doesn’t teach.
Nick Prior’s story was eventually picked up by national outlets, such as Slate, and clearly struck a chord with an audience in New Mexico.
You’ll see more from the Albuquerque Public Schools scandal on this list, but this was one of the earlier pieces.
Don Moya, the Chief Financial Officer of the district, was put on leave. We found through emails that being placed on paid leave came after clashing with then-deputy superintendent Jason Martinez over a request for proposal. This revelation started the road towards… well, you’ll see later in the list.
The beginning of Dianna Duran’s downfall came on a Friday afternoon. The Attorney General filed the charges against Duran in late August and it all ended with Duran in jail, out of her job as Secretary of State and her legacy tarnished forever.
The charges from the AG were completely unexpected.
This was the start of the APS scandal. It was all started with an errant text message; then-superintendent Luis Valentino texted Moya that he wanted to “go after” Moya. Valentino intended the text message to go to Public Education Department Secretary Hanna Skandera.
With New Mexico, and Albuquerque, still on the slower end of recovery from the national recession, Forbes found the city’s housing market was the worst in the country.
The biggest revelation of the APS scandal came when NM Political Report found out that the recently-resigned deputy superintendent of APS was facing trial in Colorado.
For a complete story on how it came about, read reporter Joey Peters’ first-person account as part of our top-ten countdown of the biggest stories of the year. Several other stories from the scandal just missed the top ten.
The second blast from the now-infamous tapes following a Susana Martinez holiday party. This was belt loop audio released by the city of Santa Fe to media outlets and in it, an officer and security guard say that Martinez appears inebriated.
Martinez is also on the audio, demanding to know why police were called to her party in the first place.
Sometimes, you’re just in the right place at the right time. Most expected marijuana legalization to fail again, as it had in the past. But in a short hearing, the Senate Rules Committee passed the proposed constitutional amendment.
It didn’t pass any other committees, but the passage in even one committee was historic and with recent movement on the issue in other states, received national attention.
This is the story that broke our website because so many people were trying to see it and listen to the audio. It was viewed by twice as many people as number two on the list and came after NM Political Report obtained the audio from phone calls to Santa Fe police.
Only two other outlets, KRQE and The Santa Fe New Mexican, originally obtained the audio that morning. Like others on this top-ten list, this received national attention from everyone from Gawker to Fox News.
The audio included the front desk saying the party in Martinez’s room was warned multiple times they were making too much noise—and asking police to escort them off of the property.
Martinez herself appeared in the audio, demanding to know who complained and even asking the police dispatcher to call off police.