The Society of Professional Journalists gave the New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission the dubious honor of its sixth annual Black Hole Award, which goes to “government institutions or agencies for outright contempt of the public’s right to know.”
The nomination came from NM Political Report reporter Laura Paskus, who has reported on the agency for years. “Making these sorts of heavy decisions and citing data to back those decisions but refusing to produce this data is ridiculous. Agencies should be transparent in their effects on publicly owned bodies, land or water” Gideon Grudo, chair of SPJ’s Freedom of Information Committee, said. “They certainly shouldn’t be this aggressive to the press, either. Hats off to Laura Paskus for being persistent.”
Related: Effort to make college research secret stalls over fears it goes too far
From the SPJ announcement:
“The agency has been sued for Open Meetings Act violations, gives me plenty of hassles about releasing public documents, and for years now, has refused to answer my questions.
With the state wracked by successive corruption scandals involving top officials, several lawmakers seem to agree that this is the year for ethics reform in New Mexico. A committee of the state House of Representatives gave a boost to those hopes Thursday by advancing a bipartisan proposal to establish an independent ethics commission through a constitutional amendment. The commission would have the power to investigate complaints of misconduct by public officials, candidates, lobbyists and contractors. The complaints would be public, and the commission’s opinions could be appealed to the state courts. Campaign finance reform advocates and good government groups have fought for years to create such a body.
NM Political Report brought home four awards, including one first-place award, at the annual Top of the Rockies awards. The awards ceremony took place Thursday night in Denver. Stories written in 2015 in Region 9 of the Society for Professional Journalists (Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming) were eligible for the awards. Want to keep this journalism going? Donate here. Since we are a non-profit news outlet (notice: no ads!
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.
[box type=”info” style=”rounded”]DR. VIRGINIA NECOCHEA is the Executive Director of the Center for Social Sustainable Systems and an organizer with the Contra Santolina Working Group.[/box]
The Albuquerque Journal’s editorial board is at it again. Many of us wonder if it is at all possible for them to write a piece that at minimum veers more towards a neutral stance rather than their usual favoritism towards developers and monied interests. As someone who has sat through almost every single hearing on the Santolina Master Plan, it becomes quite obvious that the Journal’s editorial board has not been present. Their latest piece titled – “Water worries overblown concern for Santolina,” clearly demonstrates their severe lack of what has been defined by the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) as ethical journalism. SPJ states, “ethical journalism should be accurate and fair.