Wednesday, January 09, 2013

NM Telegram Legislative Session Fundraiser

Please consider contributing to NM Telegram. Open up the link, see the great info NM Telegram is providing.  Matt does great work, for next to nothing in funds. We need good coverage of this very important legislative session. Matt has been covering the Leg session for 5 years. I can attest that Matt truly relays the information coming from the session main stream media will not touch.

Democracy for NM blog here will be relying on Matt's coverage.  Look people no one can work for free. Can you work for free? 

January 9, 2013 at 01:34 PM in Media, NM Legislature 2013, NM Telegram | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

New Mexico In Depth Announces Radio Partnerships

Nice things happened in New Mexico's world of getting the truth out to the people while I was out campaigning. I did not take time to cover the founding of New Mexico In Depth an exciting new adventure in "In Depth" Journalism founded by Tripp Jennings and Heath Hausemann.

Below is a press release today from New Mexcio In Depth:

New Mexico In Depth is announcing two new partners – KUNM and Fronteras, a multimedia collaboration of several public-radio stations from across the Southwest.

NMID plans to work with Albuquerque's KUNM-FM, the state's largest public-radio station, to shine light on some of the state's most pressing problems and explore possible solutions. With Fronteras: The Changing America Desk, NMID will cover border issues, including immigration and changing demographics, with a focus on New Mexico.

Alisa Joyce Barba, Fronteras' senior editor, said the partnership will allow her organization to expand its coverage in New Mexico.

"We are excited about working with two seasoned journalists in New Mexico who share our passion for telling the stories from this state that have remained untold, uncovering the issues that fly below the radar and deepening our understanding of what is happening in our communities and what it means for the future," Barba said.

Richard Towne, KUNM's general manager, said the partnership with NMID is especially exciting because the station is working to increase its "service to the state's most vulnerable citizens."

"Our two organizations share the belief that we can serve New Mexicans better together than we can separately," Towne said. "Trip Jennings and Heath Haussamen are journalists of the highest caliber. Working together, we will increase our mutual abilities to engage citizens with the level of journalism our state deserves."

Barba, like Towne, spoke about the importance of news organizations working together. "We are all re-defining journalism these days, and these kinds of collaborations will inevitably enrich our experience of the world around us," she said.

Trip Jennings, NMID's executive director, hailed the collaborations. "Partnerships with KUNM and Fronteras will help us cover more ground and, frankly, stretch our journalistic muscles," Jennings said. "Heath and I come from print and online, so we can't wait to partner with our friends in radio. The collaborations represent a big step toward our goal of working on several media platforms."

Stories produced through NMID's partnership with Fronteras will be available to Fronteras' seven stations, which includes KRWG-FM in Las Cruces, and to other public-radio stations including KUNM. Jennings and NMID's Deputy Director Heath Haussamen have worked primarily in print and online, so the partnerships with Fronteras and KUNM create the potential for multimedia collaboration on projects that could appear in newspapers, on the radio and online.

Fronteras, whose collaborating stations stretch from Central Texas to Southern California, and from Las Vegas to the Mexican border, covers an area of about 9 million residents and reaches an audience of about 1 million listeners. In addition to Las Cruces, its stations are based in San Diego, Calif.; Phoenix, Tucson and Flagstaff, Ariz.; Las Vegas, Nev.; and San Antonio, Texas. KRWG appears at 90.7 FM in the Las Cruces area, at 93.5 FM in Deming, 91.3 FM in Silver City, 91.9 FM in Truth or Consequences and Lordsburg, and at 98.5 FM in Alamogordo. Fronteras also produces a weekly TV show for Southern New Mexico's KRWG-TV.

KUNM's signal reaches about half of New Mexicans, and an estimated 108,000 people tune in each week (according to Arbitron Research, Inc., total service area surveyed for people aged 12+; averaged from Fall 2011 and Spring 2012. Mon-Sun, 6AM-Midnight. Arbitron data are estimates only.). The station is licensed to the Regents of the University of New Mexico. It airs at 89.9 FM in Albuquerque and Santa Fe, 88.7 FM in Socorro, 90.9 FM in Taos, and 91.9 FM in Las Vegas and Española.

The radio partners join three newspapers that have agreed to work with New Mexico In Depth. Earlier this month, NMID announced its partnership with the Santa Fe Reporter, a weekly newspaper with a circulation of 23,000 that has been an award-winning source of news and culture for Santa Fe since 1974.

“I’m excited to be working with NMID, and I’m confident that the combined talent and experience of our respective news teams will enable us to publish some groundbreaking stories,” said Alexa Schirtzinger, editor of the Santa Fe Reporter. “Together, we look forward to co-producing hard-hitting investigative work with a focus on public interest.”

“We’re excited too,” Jennings said. “In many ways, a partnership with the Reporter is a perfect fit. NMID aspires to do long-form journalism about issues of public interest in New Mexico. We can’t wait to team up with the Reporter’s staff.”

In October, NMID announced partnerships with two of the state's three largest daily newspapers, The Santa Fe New Mexican and Las Cruces Sun-News.

New Mexico In Depth is in the final stages of organization.

About New Mexico In Depth: Our goal is to foster, promote and publish journalism in the public interest. We aim to produce our own investigative reports and forge partnerships with existing media outlets around New Mexico in a bid to nurture a culture of ambitious journalism that tackles big questions and complex issues.

New Mexico In Depth is funded by donations, and we disclose information about our donors publicly to ensure transparency and accountability. Our funders include The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (, which is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States and guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive; The Marshall L. and Perrine D. McCune Charitable Foundation (, which is dedicated to enriching the health, education, environment and cultural and spiritual life of New Mexicans; and The Santa Fe Community Foundation (

Learn more about our funding at

November 13, 2012 at 11:09 AM in Journalism, Media | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

New Mexico In Depth, a New Organization Receives Kellogg Foundation Grant

Great news for New Mexico; a new organization will focus on public-interest journalism in N.M.

As some of you may know DFNM received a DFA/NN scholarship to attend the Netroots Nation where many online journalists of all sorts gather to share ideas of what works and does not work. DFNM attended with the specific interest of finding out how current online media earn revenue. How are others doing this work of getting important information out to citizens being able to make ends meet? Basically the answers were not very promising.

Then there is this fabulous news this morning!

"The W. K. Kellogg Foundation has awarded $525,000 to New Mexico In Depth, a new organization whose goal is to foster, promote and publish journalism in the public interest."

Trip    Heath
Trip Jennings                        Heath Haussamen

Two veteran journalists – Trip Jennings and Heath Haussamen –will lead New Mexico In Depth as it produces its own investigative reports and forges partnerships with existing media outlets around New Mexico in a bid to nurture a culture of ambitious journalism that tackles big questions and complex issues. Our focuses will include education, poverty, health and politics.

Jennings will serve as executive director and Haussamen will serve as deputy director. The two-year funding commitment from the Kellogg Foundation means New Mexico In Depth will begin publishing later this year. NewMexico In Depth is also funded in part by the McCune Charitable Foundation.

Jennings is an award-winning veteran journalist who has worked at newspapers across the nation, including in California, and Georgia. Besides working at the Albuquerque Journal and Santa Fe NewMexican, Jennings was part of a team that started the New Mexico Independent, an influential online newspaper.

Haussamen, a former award-winning newspaper reporter who worked with Jennings at the Independent, is the editor and publisher of the political news website He plans to continue operating while working with New Mexico In Depth.

“We are inspired by Kellogg’s belief in the importance of probative journalism that ventures beyond the daily events to seek to explain what it all means to New Mexicans,” Jennings said.

“We’re excited by the potential New Mexico In Depth has to foster a stronger journalistic culture in our state,” Haussamen said. “We’re thrilled to be able to devote time and resources to building partnerships that make that a reality.”

This is such exciting news for New Mexico. Heath Haussamen has a great write up on this award. Heath also provided DFNM with the following statement:

"Deep, probative journalism is essential in our democracy, and our media desperately needs help in this area. Just today, The New Orleans Times-Picayune announced 200 layoffs as it struggles to adapt to the new world of Internet publishing. We hope to be part of the solution in New Mexico."

A huge Thank You to Trip Jennings and Heath Haussamen for stepping up for New Mexico's people and going the extra effort to apply for and receive this grant. And a huge Thank You to the Kellogg Foundation for seeing the need for investment in online media in the Land of Enchantment! We in New Mexico need the online media sources to continue to educate the people, bring fresh awareness to complex topics. Remember: Knowledge is power!

June 13, 2012 at 10:45 AM in Journalism, Media | Permalink | Comments (4)

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Guest Blog by Hakim Bellamy: With Media and Justice for All: Media Justice as Anti-Racism Work

027 cropHakim Bellamy is the Strategic Communications Director at Media Literacy Project

Last week, Media Literacy Project (MLP) attended the Second Annual Anti-Racism Day at the New Mexico State Legislature. Having served on the planning committee for this day of action, convened by the New Mexico Health Equity Working Group and the Deconstructing Racism Group, MLP had a chance to reflect on the anti-racism aspects of our work. Recently, we have been protecting the cyber frontier from corporate colonization through our opposition to the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA), both in Congress.

Racism often frames the environment in which the most horrific human rights abuses occur. The human right to communication is certainly threatened by SOPA and PIPA, making freedom of speech the dominant argument in these debates currently happening in the U.S. House and Senate, respectively. However, these companion bills that were initially supported by a majority of the New Mexico Congressional Delegation have a more acute impact on communities of color. With Anti-Racism Day fresh in our minds, we must at least acknowledge the disparity of that impact on our communities.

The intentionally deceptive use of language by supporters of SOPA and PIPA is something that disproportionately impacts people of color and therefore, disproportionately impacts New Mexico. The good news is that this deceptive language is not lost on folks who work in the fields of media justice and creative arts. The idea that the SOPA and PIPA legislation was designed out of some altruistic concern of Congress to protect “the starving artist” is an utterly absurd frame. Yet, this is the frame that they have been using, with some success, to get artists to support protecting intellectual property at the expense of freedom. The reality is that the content owners, not the content creators, are the ones lobbying this legislation through Congress. As an organization whose work is reliant upon content created by cultural workers and artists in the Southwest, we want to see the fair use and fair compensation of our partners and collaborators protected.

At the same time, we know that the most innovative and democratic model for communication and artistic distribution ever created is the Internet. The Internet is a threat to the corporate model of gatekeeping content, communication and culture for profit. Much like the artists that work in your community, the artists we work with are more likely to make a living from their art because of the Internet, not in spite of it. Rarely are these artists in the economic stratosphere of “1%ers” who have to concern themselves with how the Internet is cutting into their movie, television or music profits. As an artist, I suspect that for artists of color approximately 99 percent of us fall into the former category.

It is not the content creators who stand to see a windfall of profit if SOPA and PIPA become law; it is the content owners who want to make sure that they remain the middle man between the artist and the audience. In the scope of anti-racism theory, the economics of this dynamic can best be explained with a plantation analogy. The plantation gets the harvest of the artist for next to nothing, and then keeps all the market profit.

However, the corporate owners have been faced with a revolt. Their attempt to put a noose around the Internet has been met with great opposition. Their attempts to control the market and bully us into giving up our freedom, is failing. Community artists figured out that working for themselves could provide much more creative and economic freedom than slaving for the owners, and have been doing so since the advent of the digital revolution in the 1980s. Essentially, the Internet has emancipated poor people (read: artists) and communities of color from having their talent, their issues and their culture ignored or marginalized as not universal enough or not profitable enough.

So as we all apply this idea of anti-racism to the work that we do, please consider how difficult it would be for us to do the work of bringing people of all colors together without being able to share our culture freely? How would we realize the anti-racist world we seek without being able to communicate our songs, our images and our stories? Where else might we share our languages, our traditions, and our truth? It was the Internet that gave consumer advocates, web experts and media justice advocates the power to stop SOPA and PIPA from seeing a vote. That power to catalyze change is precisely the quality of the Internet that proponents of this legislation seek to eliminate.  We ask that you write your Congressperson and Senators and tell them to leave the Internet open and free...with media and justice for all.

January 31, 2012 at 06:36 PM in Action Alerts, Guest Blogger, Media, Net Neutrality, NM Legislature 2012, Racial Minorities | |

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Press Don't, Won't, Can't, Cover the 99% Occupy the Roundhouse Rally

A must read from contributing writer Lora Lucero.

Middle age woman occupy rndhse“Middle age, middle class. What’s so radical about that?”   The lady marching in front of me to Occupy the Roundhouse on Tuesday was my kindred spirit, even though I could only see the sign on her back. 

I joined an exuberant, high energy crowd of about 300-400 people (my guesstimate) to send a strong message to anyone who would listen ----- “We are the 99% and this is OUR house.”

Occupy groups from Los Lunas, Albuquerque, Silver City, Farmington, Santa Fe, Las Vegas and Taos were present, along with groups focused on healthcare reform, voter’s rights, eliminating corporate personhood, opposing GMO chile, closing the tax loophole for multistate corporations, supporting clean energy, ending fracking and so much more.

What did all of these people (across the age, income, and ethnic spectrum) share in common?  They spoke for the 99% against the special interests and 1%.  Believe me - coming together is very powerful and empowering. 

Press roomWhat did the mainstream media choose to share with you?  There were certainly a plethora of media personnel sitting and standing in the “box” above the House floor in the Capitol building.

I don’t watch much television but I heard that New Mexico stations covered the handful of demonstrators who disrupted Governor Martinez’s speech.  And I saw a Channel 13 crew on the west side of the Roundhouse filming a predictable tit-for-tat between a couple of Tea Party folks and a few representing the 99%.   (The Tea Partiers are going to realize someday that they ARE part of the 99% too.)

Mainstream media always likes a conflict or controversy.  But did you hear any of the messages from the 99%?   Did you hear the reactions of any Legislators about the 99% at their doorstep?  Did you hear about the middle age, middle class woman who was told to leave the public gallery by a security guard because “stickers are not allowed”?   She had a small (2 inches x 4 inches) sticker on the back of her coat that read “We Are the 99%”.  She left without causing a ruckus. 

We may rail against the Koch brothers, corporate America, and the 1%, but I think the media is complicit in undermining our democracy.  It feeds us the soundbites that keep us titillated and dumb, and ignores real issues that an informed citizenry need to know.

Some of us may not be comfortable disrupting the Governor’s speech, but thank goodness someone has the courage to stand up and make noise.  I suspect that we are going to need more provocative actions of peaceful civil disobedience in order to dislodge the stranglehold that the special interests and 1% have on our politicians, our government, and our media. 

And we need to support the public radio and television stations that break with the status quo to provide us with meaningful news reporting. 

I’m still seething from being escorted out of the gallery on Tuesday because of the message (“We Are the 99%”) on my back.  Capitol security and staff need some First Amendment training, and I need to make noise.  Being one of the 99% carries awesome responsibility.

Come join us this Friday, January 20, to Occupy the Courts.   There are actions happening at courthouses across the country.  I’m headed to the Federal District Court in downtown Albuquerque from noon to 3 pm.

January 19, 2012 at 12:06 PM in Lora Lucero, Contributing Writer, Media, NM Legislature 2012, Occupy Wall Street | |

Saturday, October 22, 2011

10/25: Book Talk at UNM (and Santa Fe) for 'News for All the People' by Democracy Now! Cohost Juan Gonzalez

276471_165000090256979_1980428740_nFrom Democracy Now!
You're invited to "News For All the People," a book talk with Juan González and Joseph Torres on Tuesday, October 25, from 12:00 PM to 2:00 PM at the University of New Mexico Student Union Building Fiesta Rooms A & B, in Albuquerque. 

(The book talk is also scheduled for Santa Fe on the evening of October 25. See below.)

Democracy Now! co-host and award-winning journalist Juan González’s new book, "News for All the People: The Epic Story of Race and the American Media," co-authored with Joseph Torres of the media reform group Free Press, is being launched with a national book tour. "News For All the People" is a landmark narrative history of American media that puts race at the center of the story.

The event is free and open to the public, with a book-signing to follow. Copies of the new book will be available for purchase. Sponsored by the Media Literacy Project, the University of New Mexico Office for Equity and Inclusion, KUNM FM, Democracy Now! and Free Press.

Please help us spread the word about their book and event by posting this announcement on Facebook, Twitter and emailing people in your networks. If you would like to volunteer with Democracy Now! at the event, please email Diana Sands: diana(at) Thank you!

INTERVIEW: Hear Juan González and Joseph Torres discuss the book on Democracy Now!

ABOUT THE BOOK: "News For All the People" is a sweeping account of the class and racial conflicts in American news media, from the first colonial newspaper to the internet age. It chronicles key government decisions that created our nation’s system of news, major political battles over the role of the press, and the rise of media conglomerates and epoch-defining technologies. The book reveals how racial segregation in the media distorted the news and unearths numerous examples of how publishers and broadcasters actually fomented racial violence through their coverage. And it illuminates how Black, Latino, Asian, and Native American journalists fought to create a vibrant yet little-known alternative and democratic press and then, beginning in the 1970s, forced open the doors of the major media companies.

The writing is fast-paced, story-driven and replete with portraits of individual journalists and media executives, both famous and obscure, the heroes and the villains. It weaves back and forth between the corporate battles and government policies that built our segregated media system — as when Commerce Secretary Herbert Hoover gave a radio license to a notorious KKK organization in the nation’s capital — and those who rebelled against that system, such as Pittsburgh Courier publisher Robert L. Vann, who led a national campaign to get the black-face comedy Amos ’n’ Andy off the air.

"News For All the People" will become the new standard history of American media. Published by Verso Books.

SANTA FE: The book talk is also scheduled for 7:30 to 9:30 PM on Tuesday, October 25, at the Armory for the Arts in Santa Fe, as a benefit for KSFR, Santa Fe Public Radio. Tickets are $15. For advance purchase, call KSFR at (505) 428-1527.

October 22, 2011 at 11:13 AM in Books, Events, Media, Minority Issues | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Steve Klinger Guest Blog: New Independent Newspaper 'The Light of New Mexico' Seeks to Illuminate Inconvenient Truths

This is a guest blog by Steve Klinger, a long-time journalist and editor of the Grassroots Press, on the recent launch of a new, independent print and online newspaper called The Light of New Mexico. Steve will be editing the paper, which will initially be published monthly. The first print issue of The Light of New Mexico hit the streets of Santa Fe on September 15, with a cover story on "The Politics of H2O: Who Controls Your Water?" It's also available for download as a pdf by clicking here.

The newspaper, published by Skip Whitson, will focus on "Illuminating Inconvenient Truths," and will be covering "Conscious Culture, including Politics, Reviews, Books and Entertainment." The Light of New Mexico is designed to serve as a progressive, alternative source of ideas, information and a networking nexus for north-central New Mexico and beyond, providing a newspaper, a blog and a community resource.

According to the paper's Mission Statement, "Our focuses include state and local politics, peace/nonviolence, environment, civil liberties, foreign policy, social justice, global awareness, fair trade, localism and sustainability, as well as an abiding appreciation for music and art as a force for change. We maintain a commitment to outreach, education, and peaceful dialogues to safeguard democracy and raise consciousness within our communities.

“It is the role of a newspaperman to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.” –-Chicago journalist Finley Peter Dunne

Connecting the Dots
There are those who think the print newspaper is in its death throes and others who think words of any kind are just useless spitballs hurled by naïve optimists into the maelstrom of a crumbling democracy and a planet hurtling toward disaster.

Among the dwindling minority who are still willing or able to commit words to the printed page, even fewer are doing anything like real journalism, as the money behind the surviving mainstream media is too busy advancing the corporate agenda, promoting the so-called balance of false equivalents, or in some cases hacking the phones of crime victims in the race to pander to the lowest common subscriber denominator.

We won’t be doing things that way, and we thought you’d like to know.

I feel privileged to be associated with The Light of New Mexico, a new, independent monthly newspaper based in Santa Fe that will take a higher road in attempting, as our tagline states, to illuminate inconvenient truths. We considered numerous titles for our new publication, and various slogans as well, with a common theme of shedding light on the issues of the day: political corruption, connecting the dots between manmade climate change, gridlocked government, skyrocketing corporate influence in campaigns and legislation, and the threats to democracy our republic is facing on every level. 

As I have done before in my nearly 40 years of newspaper work in New Mexico, most recently with Grassroots Press, I’ll be looking for stories that illustrate the realities ordinary people are facing in their daily lives, hoping to educate our readers and ourselves on the forces that are shaping our future in a downsizing and endangered nation. I’ll be exploring the ways in which the forces of greed and self-interest are attempting to hijack public policy. I’ll be featuring commentary from journalists, authors and experts on the critical times we face, plus a mix of pertinent syndicated material and open pages for you, our readers to fill, with your comments and unique perspectives on everything from politics to the arts.

Without deep pockets or any corporate support, we’ll also be relying on you to help us grow with your display advertising and your donations, as well as your feedback and suggestions.

Santa Fe is a remarkable place, with a rich history of cultural alchemy, a place that tolerates and elevates diversity, eclecticism and artistic expression. One of the oldest capital cities in North America, it arose on the site of far older Pueblos, a product of European colonialism and an often bloody clash of cultures -- Native American, Hispanic, Anglo -- and has been endlessly reinventing itself for better and worse ever since. These days, it’s a world-class destination, but also a place called home for nearly 70,000 folks, including some of the most talented and successful individuals on the planet, and the organizations they’ve brought with them. These include a vital emerging community of locavore, sustainable, nonprofit endeavors. Santa Fe also holds but a fraction of the population of the state of New Mexico that is our larger home, a coverage area into which we hope to expand as The Light of New Mexico grows; we hope to serve it with dedication and distinction.

Most of all, we hope you’ll read our words and help us write them. We hope to prove worthy of your interest and support. Obviously, we believe in the power of words to educate human beings and change history. We also think that time is growing short to do that under the umbrella of a free press in a besieged democracy. That’s why we feel our work is important, especially in a time when ever more of us are feeling afflicted, and those with the money and power are growing ever more comfortable.

This is a guest blog by Steve Klinger, who can be reached at

If you'd like to submit a piece for consideration as a guest blog, contact me by clicking on the Email Me link at the upper left-hand corner of the page.

September 28, 2011 at 10:03 AM in Arts, Civil Liberties, Education, Environment, Journalism, Local Politics, Media, Music, Santa Fe, Weblogs | |

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Eric Griego and Marty Chavez Congressional Campaigns Staff Up

Yesterday, Roll Call featured a post reporting on recent staff hires by the NM-01 Congressional campaigns of Dems Eric Griego and Marty Chavez as this race starts heating up. It shows that this contest for an open seat, created by Rep. Martin Heinrich's decision to run for U.S. Senate, will be getting a substantial amount of attention nationally, as well as locally. It also points to the fact that these two candidates are taking this race very seriously and are in it to win it.

On Marty Chavez's campaign:

Former Albuquerque Mayor Marty Chavez (D) has signed on Alan Packman as campaign manager. Packman managed Heinrich’s re-election in 2010, helping the incumbent pull off a 4-point win in a tough year for Democrats. Since that election, Packman has served as executive director of ProgressNow New Mexico.

“I’m very excited to have Alan onboard,” Chavez said. “He organized a very strong campaign last year and ran a terrific GOTV effort across the district, especially in the South Valley.”

On Eric Griego's campaign:

Chavez’s Democratic primary opponent, state Sen. Eric Griego, announced a strong consulting team. The campaign will be managed by Ed Yoon, a former regional political director at the Democratic National Committee who ran independent expenditure campaigns in 2006 and 2008 for the Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund.

Griego’s pollster is Michael Bocian, a founding partner of Gerstein Bocian Agne Strategies and veteran of the Democratic Governors Association, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. 

Martha McKenna and Jennifer Pihlaja of McKenna Pihlaja, also veterans of the Democratic committees, are the media strategists. Alan Moore and Ed Espinoza of the Mack Crounse Group will serve as the direct-mail and targeting strategists.

Bernalillo County Commissioner Michelle Lujan Grisham has also now entered the Dem primary for this Albuquerque-area seat, but no word yet on who will be serving on her staff.

September 7, 2011 at 09:06 AM in Eric Griego, Martin Chavez, Media, Michelle Lujan Grisham, NM-01 Congressional Race 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, August 15, 2011

A Free-Wheeling Conversation With Diane Denish: Part 2

Di-Pic- Here is Part 2 of our recent interview with former Lt. Governor and Democratic candidate for governor, Diane Denish. In this installment, Diane discusses the Susana Martinez administration, the congressional races in CD1 and CD2, Democratic messaging and the media. 

Late last month we published Part 1 of our interview, which covered Diane's views on the U.S. Senate race in New Mexico, the Darren White controversy, Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry, the federal debt ceiling, jobs, fracking and mining. Thanks again to Diane Denish for taking the time to discuss the issues with us in an informal setting.


DFNM: How is the Susana Martinez administration doing in your view?

DD: Well I think she's just a new version of Bill Richardson. She's putting her friends who helped her with money in high places within her administration.

I'm also disappointed because she really has not put out one agenda about jobs. We should all hope that she does really well because we need jobs, we need work. Her focus has been on law enforcement, and the Darren White thing gives her a chance to put more focus on that.

I read the recent Albuquerque Journal article about her first six months, even though we no longer subscribe to that paper. In their headlines, they mentioned jobs, but there was nothing in the article about any efforts on her part to create jobs. They focused on her push about the drivers' licenses; critics mentioned that she was not engaged and that she doesn't like to meet with people -- which I had heard from others.

Martinez is still in the phase of blaming Bill Richardson for everything and continuing to talk about possible pay to play from the past. I'm disgusted by it. Most of the stuff that came out in the gubernatorial campaign was a surprise to us. We used to say, what could possible be next? 

DenishObamaABQcr DDD&TeagueShake_DCJan08 DianeDenishMeetup1.10

DFNM: What about Martinez's approval numbers in the recent Public Policy Polling survey, including some support from Democrats?

DD: Well, I think Dem support in the PPP polling was at about 32% -- not bad but really not strong either. I understand that in Senate campaign polling in February Martinez was at about 62% approving -- and that she's now at 52%. In the PPP poll, she was at 49% favorable to 45% unfavorable. Martinez isn't faring that well in the first congressional district. She should be above 52% in the first six months. She's doing good compared to other new GOP governors like Scott Walker in Wisconsin or Rick Scott in Florida, but not good for a first-time, brand-new governor early on.

DFNM: Did you see the report showing that New Mexico is dead last in job creation? Do you see anything that's being done at the state level to create jobs?

DD: No, I don't see anything concrete being done. In fact, the Martinez-backed filibuster of the capital outlay bill in the legislature by Sen. John Ryan was a job killer. The way Gov. Martinez and Republican legislators have approached the film industry is a job killer. They've been killing jobs -- and they don't have a focus on how to create jobs. I don't see any plan.

Martinez and the Republicans are working to kill the SBIC, which has been the source of capital for micro loans that create jobs. I believe Martinez has mostly been on a mission to get rid of whatever the previous administration did to create a vision for the future. I really believe this should be a fight about a real vision and about jobs and how we're going to get there -- not a battle on purely partisan grounds.

Same thing at the city of Albuquerque. This Darren White thing -- that's just a big mask -- this city and state are losing jobs by the boatload. We need to focus on a combo of old and new industries, and we're not doing anything about the new industries under Republican governance, like green energy.

As far as environmental issues in the governor's race, I tried to stick as close as I could to Democratic values. I did disagree with Governor Richardson on the pit rule -- and it's not what controls drilling. If they think there's oil down there they will go get it.

Now it's all about natural gas -- they're all selling us a bill of goods. I just read about Chesapeake Energy having what's being called their "Enron moment" in a New York Times story. The claim is that national gas reserves are performing at 7-10%. Well, that remains to be seen.

What controls drilling is the market. Do a smart regulation policy. Oil and gas drilling and markets are very different -- it's not one size fits all. Environmentalists killed me on my pit rule position, but I was pro-choice, pro-labor, pro-teacher, pro-small business. I was everything else that I could be in terms of taking strong Democratic positions in my race. Remember -- I was raised in redneck country. I have come a very long way!

DDD&LujanTalk_DCJan08 AdamsDenish DenishABQ


DFNM: What's your take on the Democratic primary race in CD1 to replace Rep. Martin Heinrich?

DD: I think the field has yet to play out. I think there will be more entries into that field. No predictions until I see all the candidates who will be in there. I think the district will change a bit during redistricting, but not enough to make it substantially different than it is now. I think Michelle Lujan Grisham is taking a strong look at it. I think Stuart Paisano is still on the list. Those are two names that I've heard.

I think Eric Griego is going to be in the primary race until the end. That  really was a boost for him. We'll see.

DFNM: Can Democrats hold onto the CD1 seat in 2012?

DD: It's going to be a real battle and we're gonna have to work our tails off to do it. Everybody's going to have to work hard because the electorate is very volatile and we can't predict where we're gonna be in the economy. I think if Obama stands his ground on this budget battle and doesn't give up too much territory, that will work in our favor. There are a number of things that have to happen for us to maintain that seat, and I think it will be hard.

Even if we win, the seat will be hard to maintain going forward. I hope somebody says to the next person coming in, "if you win, we want you to be there for five terms so we can solidify this is a Democratic seat." It takes 3-4 terms to really do it, and we never ever had the seat before Martin so it's tough.

I understand Martin has the right to make the decision he made to leave the CD1 seat -- that the life of a congressman is a grind and that he has children -- but I wish we'd had those conversations with him before Jeff Bingaman retired, or last year, and let him know he had to make a commitment to hang in there for 10 years in the House. I can certainly understand why he wants to run for Senate.

However, when you talk to my friend Harry Teague, he says he always envied Martin, with a house right in ABQ in the middle of his district and near the airport. Harry had to fly into El Paso, Midland or Albuquerque, then drive around his huge CD2 district three or four days and then drive back many miles to get on a plane. So CD1 is our prime district in terms of structuring your life in a way that you don't have to be so beat up and tired out.

DDD&HeinrichShake_DCJan08 DianeDenishConventionCr DenishColon

DFNM: Your name was mentioned a lot for both this House seat and the U.S. Senate seat. What made you decide not to enter either race?

DD: I took a look but, as I have always said, it's not really the life I want. The Senate is very prestigious but New Mexico is where I really belong, where I want to be. As for the House seat, there's the two-year election grind, and it's also bothersome to see those congressional candidates sitting in those cubicles making those phone calls day in and day out all the time to raise money.

However, a whole lot of people encouraged me to run for the House seat. I got lots of encouragement from Emily's List and others, but my own family wasn't very supportive. I didn't think it was the right race for me. If the right opportunity came around, I think I would run again. I'd like to maybe run for office one more time -- not just to run for the sake of running, but because it would be something meaningful to me. Timing is everything.

Being in the House or Senate is a different thing than wanting to be governor. I'd look for opportunities for executive leadership in Albuquerque or the state. I think I'm more suited to that than Congress.


DFNM: So how is former CD2 congressman Harry Teague, having lost to Steve Pearce?

DD: He's doing good. He thought it was the adventure of a lifetime to serve his home district in Congress and he enjoyed it.

DFNM: Who can take on Pearce and win?

DD: If one of the great, strong women representatives in that district or somebody in the Las Cruces area would decide to run, that would help. But I don't know that any of them wants to do it. This year, working with my friends on the national level on different things, I've learned that this has been one of the toughest years to recruit candidates that they've ever had. That difficulty doubles when it comes to women, because they say, who needs it? The money, the intellectually dishonest way that the media plays out,the savage 30-second ads (on both sides) all make it a hard sell. They think, why would I put myself through that?

DianeDenish DenishElectionNight DenishPancakesCr


DFNM: How can Democrats get their message out if many media outlets -- including the ones like TV news and local newspapers that ordinary people access -- refuse to cover the issues from any perspective other than a right-wing slant?

DD: We're terrible at that and the media doesn't help. For instance, during my campaign for governor, media wouldn't look into things we thought represented important failings on the part of Susana Martinez. The information we provided was based on significant research showing that many things she did as DA were designed to protect the sheriff's department. Nothing was ever printed about that.

The consolidation of the media across the country is a real threat to democracy because are about eight companies that own everything -- print media, radio, tv -- and that affects everything we do. Here's an anecdotal story: I went to UNM and taught a class on ethics in business, media and politics. I spoke to a student who interviewed Clear Channel execs and were told straight out that they promote the conservative agenda.

If that's fair, then who in big news media promotes the progressive agenda? The students couldn't name any major progressive news outfits except maybe NPR, which is seen as "neutral." This brings us to Fox News, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Post -- and Rupert Murdock. He has had a terrible impact on news and politics, but he may finally be getting his due.

As for newspapers, the New York Times is what I read now. I need a hard-copy newspaper in the morning and that used to be the Albuquerque Journal but it's now very clear that most of what they provide is biased and slanted. They ignore or play down stories that don't fit their ideology. We now subscribe to the daily Times, not just the weekend editions, and we never manage to get through the entire paper. There are so many great stories, but there are very few of those kinds of news sources left, and many people don't have easy access. Where I come from they don't even sell the New York Times. so people don't really have access to the facts that are out there in the so-called "liberal media."

DFNM: We often have all the arguments and facts on our side, but we don't have the messaging to make the argument persuasively and widely enough to make a difference. 

DD: We don't, and I don't think either the local or the national folks are doing it that well. For example, in the 2000 in the Gore v. Bush presidential race, the Supreme Court pick won and I don't think the American people really understand that. On the local level we have all these communications trainings for candidates and all, but the party doesn't say, "we're going to hire a really professional and experienced communications officer and we're going to fund that generously." Instead, they bring in inexperienced people or people who work on it only part time.

DFNM: On the other hand, Republicans spend a lot of money on communications, supporting blogs and news outlets, developing effective short-term and long-term messaging strategies and hiring seasoned people to get the message out. Look at the local Rio Grande Foundation. They operate with relatively astounding amounts of money and other resources.

There don't seem to be any sophisticated communication strategies being implemented by Democrats that compete effectively with GOP operations. Even at the national level, Obama does his thing to work towards his reelection, but what's our bigger message as a party?

DD: I know. Consider The Independent. They take nonprofit foundation money so they can't really be seen as "partisan" in any way, even if the Rio Grande Foundation certainly is. They're not a useful business model in helping our cause. Their funding almost guarantees that they can't really be going after the stories they need to go after to show our side of things.

Click on photos for larger images. All photos by M.E. Broderick.

August 15, 2011 at 03:30 PM in Democratic Party, Diane Denish, Eric Griego, Media, NM-01 Congressional Race 2012, NM-02 Congressional Race 2012, Rep. Harry Teague (NM-02), Right Wing, Susana Martinez | Permalink | Comments (3)

Friday, June 24, 2011

Media Literacy Project Opposes AT&T and T-Mobile Merger

The Media Literacy Project (MLP) has released a statement publicly communicating its opposition to the AT&T and T-Mobile merger. If the FCC and Department of Justice approve this merger, it would eliminate jobs, increase prices and threaten consumer choice, according the the MLP.

The Media Literacy Project joins a national debate on the detrimental impacts of the merger on jobs, innovation and consumer choice. The news has already generated a wave of public comments, with the Federal Communications Commission opposing the merger. As public comment on the merger closed on Wednesday, the Media Literacy Project released its statement against the merger.

Andrea Quijada, the Executive Director of Media Literacy Project, issued the following comments:

“If the FCC and Department of Justice approve the merger, AT&T and Verizon will control 80 percent of the market. New Mexicans will be in a dire communications circumstance where they have no real choice in their cell phone providers and little recourse to hold their providers accountable for anti-consumer behavior. We know that many New Mexicans depend on their mobile devices to apply for jobs, access health information and stay connected to their families. But because the wireless market is unregulated, many New Mexicans will be vulnerable to slowed or blocked content and unexpected fees.”

“We know from AT&T’s past that they have no hesitation in cutting jobs to pad their bottom line. Currently, T-Mobile employs 1,700 New Mexicans at its two Albuquerque call centers. Already New Mexico faces a 19 percent poverty level and cutting more jobs will leave many more families scrambling to make ends meet. New Mexico is already buckling under the economic crisis and we can’t afford another blow to jobs.”

“Poverty rates are statistically higher in rural communities than in urban communities. This puts New Mexican families at a disadvantage when prices for data and voice plans from national carriers typically remain the same whether the consumer lives in a metropolitan or rural area. If prices increase, it will definitely be difficult for many families nationwide to be able to afford their voice and data plans. But it will be especially difficult on many New Mexican families. We can’t let AT&T and T-Mobile increase prices that will leave New Mexico hit the hardest.”

“It’s clear that AT&T already doesn’t invest enough in its rural broadband network. The call quality and reliability of its network is low. Instead of purchasing T-Mobile’s licenses for $39 billion, AT&T should divert these funds toward updating and improving its existing rural area network infrastructure. They don’t need to buy T-Mobile to better serve rural New Mexico.”

Media Literacy Project is a non-profit organization that advances education and advocacy for media justice.

Note: For additional perspectives on the proposed merger, see our previous posts relating the views of the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission's Jason Marks (which has accumulated a significant number of new comments on the thread), as well as a on the subject by Glenda Winternheimer of the Communication Workers of America.

June 24, 2011 at 09:58 AM in Media, NM Public Regulation Commission, Regulation, Telecommunications | |

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Chris Cervini to Open Strategies 360 New Mexico Office Today

ChrisCervini120 Strategies 360 is expanding its reach to New Mexico with the addition of Chris Cervini, former chief of staff for New Mexico’s Lieutenant Governor Diane Denish, according to a press release. As Vice President of New Mexico operations, Chris will open and run the new Albuquerque office for the strategic communications firm headquartered in Seattle. 

Chris brings more than 14 years of public relations, media, public policy and private-sector experience to Strategies 360. He has served as chief of staff and communications and policy director for New Mexico’s Lieutenant Governor, and spokesman and external communications manager for Lovelace Health System, a division of Ardent Health Services.

“Expanding our presence and services across the Western U.S. will generate tremendous value for our clients. It enables us to create the environment for success across a larger geographic, business and political landscape. New Mexico is a smart move because of the business potential of the state, and the talent of Chris Cervini,” said Eric Sorenson, president and co-founder of Strategies 360.

A former journalist at the Albuquerque Tribune, Chris understands both media and politics and has expertise in crisis communications, media relations, message development, government relations and strategic communications.

“We’re delighted to have somebody with Chris’s background and credentials join our growing family. He’s the right person to allow us to serve New Mexico right from the get-go,” said Ron Dotzauer, CEO and co-founder of Strategies 360.

S360 noted that Chris has broad experience in policy topics including economic development, budget, education, health care, behavioral health and government reform. He also brings statewide reach with strong contacts throughout New Mexico.

Chris holds a master’s degree in political science from The American University in Washington, D.C., and a B.A. from the University of New Mexico in communications and political science.

“I’m very excited Strategies 360 is making a strong investment in New Mexico,” Chris Cervini said. “The S360 team, like me, is committed to offering the highest level of service and providing New Mexico clients with an impressive range of offerings. Joining this talented, western-focused team was a no-brainer.”

Chris can be reached at: or 505-980-6110.

Strategies 360 specializes in creating the environment for client success. The firm started in 2004 in Seattle, and now has a total of nine offices in Alaska, Montana, Oregon, Spokane and Olympia, Wash., Idaho and Washington, D.C. Clients range across dozens of industries, including energy, natural resources, technology, health care, agriculture, land use, manufacturing, education, transportation, nonprofits, and others.

June 1, 2011 at 02:03 PM in Media, Public Policy | |

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Stuart Heady Guest Blog: Stupefying Ray Aimed At Earth

StuartHeady This is a guest blog by Stuart Heady, a freelance writer and political activist who lives in Albuquerque.

The title of this post is a wisecrack that I think of whenever someone in public life says or does something so stupid that nothing else seems to really explain it. Doesn't it seem like there has been a lot of this lately?

What better explanation can there be for the rise of purely emotional folks who seem to have unplugged their brains? What explains the Tea Party and the anger that fuels it? People like Glenn Beck? Evidence abounds! Call the National Enquirer! We have a story!

When you think about it seriously, it is easier for those who simply respond to things emotionally to get worked up than it is to figure out how an intelligent, complex and persistent approach to the future can be agreed on. That is way hard. Most people who are engaged in efforts that will ultimately be taken for granted as forming the walls, the floor and ceiling of our 22nd century lives, are not nearly as likely to be heard from or to become sensations in the media.

But, are we in danger of turning into a society that is dominated and run by the yahoos that Jonathan Swift described centuries ago? What are the more deliberate and competent among us to do?

Given the present media environment, that is a deadly serious question.

Sound Bites and Databases
Now should be the time, after the legislative session is past and when the next election is the farthest away that it can be, to step back and think about why things are the way they are and what could be done to more effectively address this condition that we are in, looking ahead into the second decade of the 21st century and beyond.

I used to spend a lot of time thinking about how to deliver messages through direct mail or grassroots handouts of various kinds. After thinking about this situation for a long time, some thoughts and insight into this have begun to form.

It all boils down to sound bites and databases.

Broadcast media has set up a circumstance, combined with a huge population, in which what is valued the most is quick, on-your-feet immediate thinking, encapsulated in the sound bite. Everyone in communication, on way or another, finds themselves addressing this constraint.

Databases have a powerful, but much less obvious influence on our thinking. When we learn how to use databases, we master the art of thinking in categories in a mechanical way. Things have to be reduced to their simplest terms, actually a math equation, in order for their to be "power" in a database. It is a useuful way to think, as it disciplines a tendency to be satisfied with speculation and vagueness into a sharp focus.

These twin gods have banished the ability to think more deeply and to value long and persistent contemplationg about the larger picture.

We get trapped in the short term without a perspective. We cannot analyze our situation truly, but instead are driven to do better, to work harder to make what we already have been given as a given work. However, in the long run, say over a twenty-year period, one can observe that the advantage in a system that is based on sound bites and short-term thinking goes to the manipulators of emotional mobs. That is what we are seeing now.

As usual, seeing a problem is way easier than figuring out how to address it, especially if it is a condition of the landscape.

Looking at all the various communication methods for manipulation that the large-scale corporate special interests have instituted over the past 40 years or so, it is a pretty daunting picture. Tens of millions of dollars are spent every year on shaping every aspect of public information and education. Many of the best college graduates with majors in advertising, public relations, journalism or English are attracted into the world of corporate PR, where a good number of people are employed by the tens of millions a year that the right wing is being advantaged by.

This goes way beyond the question of framing, and way beyond the tried and true GOTV campaign strategy that has become crucial over the past thirty five years.

An even larger factor that constrains the way the environment treats political communication is that no one has time -- the suburban swing voter, least of all. Whatever information gets processed into votes has to be taken at a glance in passing most of the time by people on the run. Long meetings with very informative, fact-based, deliberative substance are mostly out of the question. That is why the short sound bite synopsis has become so dominant. That is why database-driven systems, with their tendency to reinforce as well as serve the short attention span, always provide the practical backstop.

Untapped Potential
There has to be a way out of this conundrum.

The place to start is with this computer screen and this keyboard. The potential of it has barely been tapped. A lot of the time it is seen in terms of the experience of the past, not in terms of needs that could be served and how innovation towards meeting those needs might be accomplished.

The difference is precisely in the way it is viewed. Our participation in the medium is presently limited in various ways. Especially in rural areas, the connectivity is sparse. A lot of people don't like sharing their thoughts with strangers, especially when there is a prospect for disagreement which can seem insulting. The logic of the medium represents a waste of time to quite a few people.

Yet, here it is -- the product of trillions of dollars and over a century and a half of innovation by people anywhere and everywhere. Moore's law (that computer chip capacity doubles every eighteen months) has yet to reach its limit and, as long as it has not, the internet will continue to increase in capacity over the coming years, offering new avenues and expanded options.

To actualize the potential for better deliberation at large and thus, a better chance that stupidity won't rule the future, thinking has to be taken to a new level, by each person with a computer who might be inspired to see value a future in this. Networking could become more of an active verb. All that is really required is the imagination and persistence of intellect to keep trying to figure it out.

A simple thing to contemplate, but perhaps a pretty tough challenge.

If the purpose is not really just to exhibit one's ego, but to find a way to reach others and create some sort of cooperation in an effort to use the medium as a basis for organizing, for furthering the reach of the work that we are all trying to engage in, then it begins to move forward incrementally. One could look at it as an undeveloped distributed think tank that awaits any engagement that might have any energy at all.

Selling anything, whether it be a book or a policy approach requiring voter approval, requires the same thing: The assumption that a skeptical but open buyer can be persuaded with the right approach.

If the skeptical buyer is the swing voter, the problem is to develop a dialogue that creates either a sale or an acceptable compromise. That is a process that requires more than a lot of thought and communication. This becomes a permanent effort and the definition of citizenship over a lifetime.

If a real dialogue about what is real can supercede the soundbite oversimplification and sensational manipulation that now dominate, then it could do a lot more than just win an election. It could revitalize the American political system and renew its capacity for addressing what really needs to be addressed in the 21st century, looking ahead to the 22nd.

This is a guest blog by Stuart Heady. If you'd like to submit a piece for consideration as a guest blog, contact me by clicking on the Email Me link at the upper left-hand corner of the page.

March 23, 2011 at 01:58 PM in Guest Blogger, Journalism, Media, Progressivism, Right Wing, Weblogs | |