Five years ago today, I welcomed readers to NM Political Report. Since then, we’ve published thousands of stories and our stories have been read millions of times. We’ve broken big stories and led coverage that led to real results. Some things have changed since then. Reporters have come and gone.
I helped start NM Political Report five years ago. My first day was December 1, 2014.
We knew that New Mexico needed an outlet to cover hugely important stories that just weren’t being covered by newspapers or TV stations around the state. In the years since we began, we’ve grown and become an important part of the state’s news landscape and we’re still covering stories no one else will. Five years ago, we decided that we would be a non-profit and not chase ad revenue or fill your browser with pop-ups. In that time, we’ve never placed an ad on our site.
We are happy to announce that we expanded our reporting team with a reproductive justice reporter: Susan Dunlap. Dunlap will lead our coverage of reproductive justice, a very important but undercovered story in New Mexico, which has been described in recent years as a central area in the debate over abortion rights and access. She will also write a twice-a-month newsletter on reproductive justice issues. Dunlap comes to NM Political Report from Montana, where she previously covered the environment at The Montana Standard. Prior to that, she worked at The Silver City Sun-News as a news reporter and now she’s returning to New Mexico.
You may have noticed a new byline earlier this week on our story about the New Mexico Environment Department deciding not to move the Los Alamos National Laboratory Oversight Bureau from Los Alamos: Kendra Chamberlain. Chamberlain is our new Environment Reporter at NM Political Report, talking over from the foundation set by Laura Paskus over the last two years. She will lead our coverage of environmental issues around the state and write the weekly NM Environment Review email newsletter. Chamberlain will continue covering much of what Paskus did over the past two years, but will also expand our coverage with other environment issues. Chamberlain, who grew up in Santa Fe before going to college in New York and began her journalism career in Louisiana.
Yesterday, we published Laura Paskus’ last story as our environment reporter. Paskus is leaving NM Political Report to pursue other career interests, including finishing a book. In her more-than two years at NM Political Report, Paskus won a number of state and regional awards.
Paskus led the state in reporting on the environment, spending nearly her entire time at NM Political Report as the only statewide reporter with a focus on the environment. In 2018, Paskus won a first-place award in the Society of Professional Journalists Region 9 competition for her story, “The Heart of Darkness: A walk through the scorched landscapes where our forest used to be and a glimpse of future fires.”
The story, which was reported along with the Santa Fe Reporter, looked at the aftermath of the 2011 Las Conchas fire and what the intense, destructive fire meant not only for the landscape in the Jemez Mountains but for other intense wildfires in the state and region. And in 2019, Paskus won two first-place awards in the same competition, one for her story “Federal climate report shows how climate change will impact U.S. economy, infrastructure and more” in the “Science and Technology: General Reporting” category and another in the “Public Service” category for her coverage of the Texas v. New Mexico water lawsuit in front of the U.S. Supreme Court.
We are hiring a new environment reporter. In the past two and a half years, our award-winning environment project has been a key part of our coverage and we want that to be true for years to come. So we’re looking to hire another experienced environment reporter to take over and help us make sure we continue to have the best reporting on climate change, water, environmental protection and other issues involving the environment in New Mexico. If you’re interested, read the job description here. We’ll be accepting applications through June 10 and plan on having our new environment reporter star on July 3.
NM Political Report won four regional awards at the annual Top of the Rockies contest—including two first place awards. The Society of Professional Journalists Top of the Rockies awards are for the best journalism in the region—Colorado, New Mexico, Wyoming and Utah. NM Political Report competes in the category against print outlets in the region with circulations between 10,000 and 29,999. Laura Paskus won first place for her story “Federal climate report shows how climate change will impact U.S. economy, infrastructure and more” in the “Science and Technology: General Reporting” category. The judge wrote, “Laura Paskus does an excellent job of explaining a federal report that looks at climate change and its impact on the U.S. economy and infrastructure.
NM Political Report won eight awards at the annual New Mexico Press Women’s Communications Contest, including one first place award. The number of awards put NM Political Report in second place in the organization’s Sweepstakes contest, which assigned points for each entry that won or placed in the competition. Laura Paskus won first place in the Specialty Articles – Green/Environmental category for her story “Federal climate report shows how climate change will impact U.S. economy, infrastructure and more.” The story examined a federal report on the climate from a New Mexico perspective. The story from November of last year is part of NM Political Report’s full-time environment coverage. Paskus also won second-place in the Continuing Covering or Unfolding News category for her coverage of the Texas v. New Mexico Supreme Court case.
Four years ago today, we formally welcomed readers to the site—and a lot has changed since then. When we began, Republicans held a majority of the state House and Gov. Susana Martinez had just easily won reelection. The state Senate was led by Michael Sanchez. Barack Obama was still president. And things have changed over the years at NM Political Report as well.
This weekend, NM Political Report won seven awards at the Top of The Rockies, an annual contest sponsored by the Society of Professional Journalists – Colorado Pro Chapter. The competition includes outlets from New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming and Utah. We won one first place award, one second and five third-place awards, facing off against outlets like the Denver Business Journal, the Provo Daily Herald and more. Donate today so we can keep doing this award-winning work! Laura Paskus won first place in the Ag and Environment: General Reporting category for her story, “The Heart of Darkness: A walk through the scorched landscapes where our forest used to be and a glimpse of future fires.” NM Political Report wrote this story along with the Santa Fe Reporter.