Board Meeting Minutes – March 1, 2015

Society of Professional Journalists Rio Grande Chapter

March 1, 2015

Board members present:Joey Peters, Marisa Demarco, Jeff Proctor, Mike Marcotte, Megan Kamerick, Rachel Sams, Andy Lyman, Matt Grubs


Treasurer’s report from Mike – The budget is the same. There hasn’t been any money coming in or going out.

He will contact Peter to find out about the status of closing the old bank account in Santa Fe and what needs to be done to file taxes this year.

Our bank that hold the new account changed names – nothing else has changed.

Old name was New Mexico Educators Federal Credit Union, new name is Nusenda.

Mike and Andy will work together to complete the annual report required from SPJ- Mike on financials, Andy on the rest.

Membership report from Rachel – Four people have joined or renewed and two people have left or let their memberships lapse.

Rachel urged the other board members to personally encourage others to join.

Joey, Marisa, Jeff and Andy all have at least one person to work on.


Website update from Marisa and Megan – Marisa has been helping Megan with some website updates.

Megan said she is trying to figure out ways to get more people to participate on the chapter email listserv.

Rachel said she heard some frustrations from members regarding excessive back and forth conversations.

Megan is also looking into an apparent problem with the Top of the Rockies entry website.


Update on Regional -

Andy gave an update on Regional via Colorado president’s email.

  • more information on the regional conference from the Colorado chapter should be out later in the week
  • The Top of the Rockies deadline was extended to March 4.
    • They said they need more entries from TV and radio.
    • We’ll send out more information – registration fees, website registration, etc. – this week.


Sunshine week – Rachel volunteered to draft some content to use for Twitter during Sunshine Week. She will be out of town at that time, so cannot personally post the tweets.

Marisa said she would volunteer to help with scheduling the tweets.

Andy asked what the chapter did last year regarding Op-Eds. Rachel said last year Laura wrote an article and the Santa Fe New Mexican published it.

Andy suggested Gwyneth Doland as this year’s author.

Jeff agreed since Gwyneth is a former NMFOG director and is also on the FOIA Committee. Jeff said he would reach out to Gwyneth and ask if she would write an op-ed article this year. He offered to work with her on the content


Possible Programs - Andy spoke with Julie Ann Grimm from the Santa Fe Reporter and Nigel Jaquiss might be willing to come to NM to talk to journalists. It would be an opportunity to raise money and provide a program to members.

Andy said Tom Johnson was willing to contribute $250 from the regional office.

Matt said it sounded like a good idea and it could be encouraging to other journalists and educationally valuable.

Jeff said a couple hundred dollars sounds like a fair contribution from the chapter.

The board agreed on $250 to match the money from regional.

There was some talk about possible venues.

Andy will get in touch with Julie Ann to get more details and let her know the board approved the money.

The Thornburg foundation contacted Andy about a proposed project related to money in politics.

The board is receptive to working with Thornburg, but would like more information.

Andy said he would get more information from the board.

Marisa has been working on putting together one day of the month when journalists meet to draft public records requests. She looked into having it at the Press Club, but they require a member present for all functions.

Megan said she would look into getting a membership for herself.

Marisa said she would also look into other possible locations.

Joey said Gwyneth Doland is using records request logs, gathered from various agencies by the FOIA committee, for a special project

Andy said he would get in touch with Ilia from UNM to double check on the day and time of the upcoming IRE workshop.



Santa Fe Reporter Seeks Copy Editor

Can you make it sing? Do it from the heart of Santa Fe. This alt-weekly is seeking an experienced person to work under deadline pressure for fact-checking and copy editing in the fun and fast-paced Santa Fe Reporter newsroom. Must know AP style. Familiarity with InDesign, Santa Fe culture and history and/or Spanish language a plus.

Part time, 20 hours per week. Send resume and cover letter to Julie Ann Grimm,

Sun-News Hiring Digital Journalist

The Sun-News, a 22,000-circulation daily newspaper in Las Cruces, NM, is seeking a skilled new media journalist to strengthen our evening digital operation. Top responsibilities would include posting breaking and spot news during the afternoon and evening cycles, rewriting reports from the field from other reporters, curating content apart from the daily print publication designed to be heavily shared on social networks such as listicles, user-generated content or database reporting, as well as being the liaison to the production desk four evenings a week.

This position will include reporting on Saturdays and occasional evenings. Must have strong understanding of social media platforms and reader engagement. Some of the platforms we use are Facebook, Twitter, Tout, Storify, ScribbleLive and other storytelling apps. A strong candidate will know how to craft a headline that’s appropriate for the platform and understand how to use social media for promotion and conversation. He or she will be a student of new ideas in digital journalism, evangelizing the latest best practices in the newsroom. This position requires evening hours and weekend work.

Send resumes to Sylvia Ulloa, and Lucas Peerman,

Taos News Hiring Director Of Digital Delivery And Social Media

The Taos News has an immediate opening for a Digital Delivery and Social Media Director. Required skills include a working knowledge of print production, Postscript and PDF workflows and a detailed background in the Adobe Creative Suite (Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator and Acrobat) in a full production environment. Candidates must also have a detailed knowledge of Macintosh operating systems. Also an understanding of what is needed for the web workflow.

Social Media:

Engagement, campaign development, content generation and strategy expertise; SME knowledge of popular Social Media platforms and audience engagement tools and techniques; proficiency with Emerging Media, Responsive Web and Mobile Design. Project coordination and vendor/partner relationship management; Comfortable working in a fast-paced, collaborative environment that’s deadline driven; self-manager with experience delegating tasks, planning projects and tracking through completion.


This part of the position is responsible for coordinating all aspects of the website and it’s need to be current and meet standards. This includes design, usability, marketing, content, and new technologies as they arise. Must have skills in web design (HTML5, CSS etc.) search engine optimization as well as marketing.

This is a full-time position with full benefits: 401-k plan, medical/dental, vacation/holiday pay, plus spa membership.

Come live, work and play in one of New Mexico’s most beautiful cities with a thriving arts community and unlimited outdoor recreation opportunities. Email a resume, and three references to

More information, including salary, is at

SPJ Open Letter To NMSU President

President Garrey Carruthers  (see his response below)

The Society of Professional Journalists Río Grande Chapter is alarmed and disappointed by the efforts of New Mexico State University administrators to weaken the Inspection of Public Records Act (IPRA).

Draft changes circulated by university leaders would significantly limit the public’s access to information about institutions they fund with their own tax dollars. Such changes would leave New Mexicans less informed about their government and remove vital safeguards against abuses of power.

For example, draft amendments we have reviewed would give law enforcement broad discretion in determining whether certain public records should be kept secret.

While couched in concerns about privacy and due process, we believe this would give law enforcement too much leeway in deciding what the public has a right to know. That, in turn, would give law enforcement too much room to skirt oversight.

We are similarly alarmed by a proposal that would allow public institutions to withhold records pertaining to complaints alleging civil rights violations by those same institutions. This proposal is also couched in concerns about due process.

We believe secrecy should be the exception rather than the rule.

IPRA is strong because it is simple.

Journalists and the general public rely on this accessible law each day to better understand the institutions that serve them.

We urge New Mexico State University to abandon these proposals before they go any further and instead join us in calling on lawmakers to bolster the public’s right to know by holding accountable those institutions that flout this vital law.


The Board of Directors of the Society of Professional Journalists Río Grande Chapter

Response from President Carruthers

Thank you for your comments. I will take them under advisement as we work with the legislature. Our biggest issue may be the inordinate amount of staff time we have to use to ferret out, in some cases, thousands of pages of documents. I am sure, at a minimum, you would support legislative changes that would allow us full cost recovery to provide all of these documents. It seems your biggest concern is restricting information from police files. I get it!

Garrey Carruthers, Ph.D.
Office of the President
New Mexico State University
P. O. Box 30001
Las Cruces, NM 88003-8001
Phone 575-646-2035
Fax 575-646-6334

NMSPJ Condemns Barring Of Reporter From Press Conference

On January 20, Mayor Richard Berry called a news conference to discuss the selection of an independent monitor to oversee reform at the Albuquerque Police Department. City staff sent an announcement to various news outlets, including New Mexico Political Report. That news organization sent Margaret Wright, an established local journalist, to cover the news conference. Wright was barred from the news conference by an APD officer. She offered to show identification as well as proof that she’d been invited. The officer refused to look at any of it and barred Wright from attending.

Wright asked the Rio Grande Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists for a comment on the matter. The board of directors issued the following statement:

A free, diverse press is an essential component in an informed democracy. If Mayor Richard Berry’s administration is going to send out news releases inviting news organizations to news conferences, the mayor and his subordinates must allow those news organizations’ journalists to attend when they show up.
That’s not what happened on January 20.
The Rio Grande chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) strongly condemns the mayor’s arbitrary barring of journalists from important news events that impact the community.
The practice runs a grave risk of giving the public the perception that it is used to keep out members of the press that the city doesn’t like. Powerful government officials should not be allowed to pick and choose which reporters cover them.

Note: NMSPJ President Andy Lyman also works with New Mexico Political Report. He was not involved in the drafting of this statement.


Rio Grande Sun Hiring Reporter

The Rio Grande Sun, an 11,000 paid circulation weekly newspaper in Northern New Mexico, seeks an energetic city reporter who shudders at meetings but will look behind the curtain.

In March 2014 one city council race was decided by a coin toss. One of the contestants was charged with child abuse one week earlier. In December another city councilor resigned because he was facing assault and battery charges after pistol whipping a man, then shooting at his departing vehicle.

We’re looking for someone to bring strong reporting and writing skills, work ethic and flawless AP Style. We are known statewide as strong advocates of open records and in-depth, broad, accurate investigative work. You will routinely ask for (and sometimes fight for) documents related to great stories found anywhere in city hall and its many departments. This is a political hot bed of fascinating stories. Several large pay raises would come quickly in the first year to a performing person who wants to write news the way it was taught 20 years ago. Good compensation package including health, vacation, sick and profit-sharing plan.

Please submit resume to Robert Trapp at

Board Meeting Minutes – January 10, 2015

Society of Professional Journalists Rio Grande Chapter board meeting

January 10, 2015

Present: Andy Lyman, Michael Marcotte, Rachel Sams, Marisa Demarco, Russ Contreras, Joey Peters, Megan Kamerick, Andrew Oxford

Absent: Jeff Proctor, Elva Österriech, Matt Grubbs

Membership report from Rachel

The chapter gained 11 members in 2014, an increase of 20 percent and a net

gain of three.

The goal was to recruit 20 members in 2014.

It was agreed the chapter will aim to recruit 15 members in 2015.

Rachel requests board members submit and divide up a list of prospects.

Treasurer’s report from Michael

Most the chapter’s funds are still in the Guadalupe Credit Union. Only a small amount has been transferred to New Mexico Educators Federal Credit Union.

In the process of attempting to transfer more funds from the account at Guadalupe Credit Union, Michael reports a check bounced twice, leaving the chapter with two $30.00 charges for insufficient funds. Former treasurer Peter St. Cyr is working to have the charges waived. Michael said that if the charges are not waived, he will reimburse the chapter. There is also a $5.00 charge from NMEFCU, he noted.

The chapter received $300.00 to cover future travel expenses of regional president Tom Johnson. The chapter also received $440.00 from the Top of the Rockies contest.

The chapter is now registered with the Secretary of State’s Office. The chapter’s registration had lapsed in recent years but was renewed amid the move to NMEFCU.

FOI Committee report from Joey

Open Meetings Act and Inspection of Public Records Act compliance audits are underway, Joey says. Committee members are gathering IPRA logs from the City of Santa Fe, Santa Fe Police Department, the Human Services Department, the Office of the Governor and the Albuquerque Police Department. The HSD and City of Santa Fe logs have already been received as well as an IPRA compliance log from the town of Taos.

Joey says a meeting may soon be organized to determine how to organize and proceed with the collected data.

There has been some discussion among committee members of pushing for a stronger shield law but there is also discomfort with lobbying, Joey says.

Chapter updates

Laura suggested changing passwords for the website, email list, social media accounts, etc. Megan says she will begin changing some passwords.

Legislative panel recap

Andy says the panel was a success but noted technical difficulties with the streaming video. Andy says he did not activate the appropriate settings on Google.

Andy suggests building a Storify to compile material from the panel.

Megan says Kevin at KNME would be interested in helping with such an event in the future.

Marisa says she enjoyed the panel and found it useful.

Michael says the timing was not optimal as many students had already left campus for the winter break.


Laura had indicated interest in developing a panel on environmental reporting, Andy says.

Megan says FOI and IPRA panels would be useful.

Marisa suggests a monthly get-together a la FOIA Friday during which journalists as well as other interested parties could brainstorm and work on open records projects. A venue such as the Press Club would be ideal, she says.

Marisa also suggests getting schedules of information from state agencies.

Marisa proposes SPJ advocate fair pricing for fulfilled IPRA requests.

Russ suggests a joint regional conference with UNITY, of which he is president. Similar regional events are being organized around the country, he notes. Russ says the event could focus on an issue such as poverty or FOI. Such an event could draw journalists from El Paso, Carlsbad, etc. as well as the broader community, he says. Russ suggests such an event could be scheduled for the fall if organization begins immediately.

Andy says he likes the idea and ask the chapter be kept abreast of what it can do to help.

Michael asks whether Russ can offer any insight on outreach to NAHJ. Russ says it has been hard to keep an NAHJ chapter active in Albuquerque, noting turnover and a lack of support from the national office.

The chapter should continue brainstorming ideas for programming, Andy says.

A social event coinciding the legislature is discussed. It may be scheduled for early February.

Gift certificates

The chapter received three gift certificates for bowling after its victory during the Hacks v. Flacks event. It is agreed the gift certificates will be kept as door prizes at future events.

Other business

No news on the regional conference in Denver.

Michael notes LoboCamp is fast approaching. The chapter will reach out to organizers and assist where possible.