Editorial cartoon in ABQ Journal widely condemned as racist, bigoted

After state and U.S. lawmakers called an editorial cartoon in the state’s largest newspaper racist and offensive, the editor-in-chief of the Albuquerque Journal issued an apology. In a statement, Karen Moses apologized for upsetting readers. “In hindsight, instead of generating debate, this cartoon only inflamed emotions,” according to Moses’s statement posted on the paper’s website Thursday. “This was not the intent, and for that, the Journal apologizes.”

Moses also said the cartoon does not reflect the position of the Journal. The Journal’s reporters, who work separately from the editorial board, covered the controversy in the paper’s Thursday edition.

Albuquerque Journal cuts staff, including in newsroom

New Mexico’s biggest daily newspaper is scaling back. The Albuquerque Journal recently eliminated six positions, including one in the newsroom, according to Brian Fantl, the newspaper’s senior vice president and chief operating officer. On top of this, five more reporters recently left the newsroom, and it’s unclear whether their positions will be refilled. One of those positions, which belonged to staff writer Ollie Reed, is getting eliminated, Fantl confirmed. Reed was laid off Thursday.

NM Political Report on the radio in Taos

NM Political Report spent some time in northern New Mexico this week and stopped by KNCE-FM in Taos to speak with Wake Up, Taos! host Rita Daniels. 

Matthew Reichbach and Andy Lyman spoke with Daniels about some recent coverage and polls from NM Political Report. We discussed the presidential numbers, the Secretary of State numbers, Gary Johnson’s campaign trip to New Mexico and what it was like to cover the infamous Albuquerque Donald Trump rally in May. We also discussed our poll that found that reinstating the death penalty is popular among New Mexico voters. You can listen to the show from Wednesday morning here.

Stuart Dyson retires from KOB

It’s the mix of bluster, doubt, worry and desperate hopefulness in Stuart Dyson’s voice that causes one to wonder whether the now former Albuquerque TV reporter believes it himself when he blurts into the telephone, “I can say that, after 30 years in the TV news business, I have not become a total functional illiterate.”

Dyson even insists that after 30 years in TV he can still punctuate sentences properly, a claim he makes strenuously and repeatedly, obviously sensing that the person he’s talking to considers the statement to be wild and bizarre fiction from a delusional mind. And then Dyson laughs, and he laughs loud and long and easy and free, because now he is free, free from the daily grind that can tinge every laugh with anger, bitterness and cynicism. On Monday, April 18, Stuart Dyson, who spent 40 years in the news business, and who is a New Mexico news legend, retired. The retirement came both sooner and later than the 64-year-old Dyson had planned. His original retirement date had been set for Feb.

KRQE cracks down on stories about advertisers

A directive from a New Mexico TV station to its employees about news coverage involving advertisers raises questions—especially with the timing coming hours after management removed a reporter from a story critical of a “client.”

In a memo on Nov. 18 of last year, news staff were instructed that any story involving advertisers must first be approved by the news director before moving forward. KRQE-TV News Director Iain Munro sent the memo. “If you are doing a story that may involve a client, that is good or bad, I need to be notified before any calls are made on the story,” Munro’s memo read. “No exceptions.”

NM Political Report learned from a source familiar with the situation that on the same day, before Munro sent the memo to employees, KRQE sent a reporter to work on a story about a military veteran’s group.

‘No bloggers allowed’

The drama started early this year at the Roundhouse. The legislative session hasn’t even started yet, but a photo (by this writer) received a lot of attention. See updates below. The photo was of a sign that said ‘No Bloggers Allowed.’ It instructed anyone who has any questions to contact the Sgt.

New York Times looks at New Mexico scandals

The last few months have been filled with scandals in New Mexico, and this hasn’t escaped the notice of the nation’s most prominent newspaper. This week, The New York Times examined the unfolding scandals, which have been covered extensively by New Mexico Political Report, and their impact on the larger political narrative in the state. Albuquerque Public Schools

One of the most talked about scandals came in Albuquerque Public Schools after new Superintendent Dr. Luis Valentino accidentally sent a text message outlining that he wished to “go after” his chief financial officer to the CFO instead of its intended recipient, Public Education Secretary Hanna Skandera. That incident brought renewed scrutiny on Valentino’s leadership, including his hiring of Deputy Superintendent Jason Martinez. It turns out that Martinez did not complete a background check required of all school personnel.

KUNM talks to NM Political Report about APS scandal

New Mexico Political Report senior reporter Joey Peters appeared on KUNM Tuesday afternoon to talk about the scandal enveloping Albuquerque Public Schools. Peters was on during All Things Considered on Tuesday and spoke about being the first to report on the mistaken text message APS superintendent Luis Valentino sent to Chief Financial Officer Don Moya and how he was the first to report that former APS deputy superintendent Jason Martinez is facing trial in Colorado for sexual abuse of a child. Audio of the five-minute conversation with Elaine Baumgartel is available on KUNM’s website. While the story started with the text message sent by Valentino to Moya, when the text message appeared to be meant for Public Education Department secretary Hanna Skandera, it quickly ballooned beyond that. Martinez was then accused of attempting to steer a possible contract for an IT assessment toward the technology company of a former work colleague, one who was fired from Denver Public Schools for accepting kickbacks.

NM Political Report on TV

Over the weekend, New Mexico Political Report’s senior reporter Joey Peters hit the small screen to discuss several local and regional issues. Peters appeared as a panelist on New Mexico in Focus, a local public affairs program that airs weekly on New Mexico PBS. He joined host Gene Grant, Albuquerque attorney Laura Sanchez-Rivet, Albuquerque Free Press associate editor Dennis Domrzalski and Vox Optima founder Merritt Allen to talk about several burning issues in New Mexico. The program kicked off with a discussion of the controversial Santolina planned community. The Bernalillo County Commission voted to authorize the Santolina master plan last week.

Two northern NM papers run final editions (updated)

Two small-town newspapers in northern New Mexico are printing their final editions. The Sangre de Cristo Chronicle and the Raton Comet will cease their weekly publications this week, according to a report by Chronicle staff. Update: According to a post on the Chronicle’s Facebook page, a buyer has been found and the Chronicle will continue to operate. The two papers published on a weekly schedule. Both were owned by Robin Martin, who also owns the Santa Fe New Mexican and the Taos News.