Searchlight New Mexico Hiring Senior Data Journalist

Searchlight New Mexico, a new non-profit, non-partisan investigative reporting organization, is seeking a senior data journalist to help us launch and maintain a website with a wide variety of local and state data, including payroll, pensions and contracts.

The ideal candidate will know how to extract unwieldy data sets from obstinate bureaucracies and will be a skilled enough analyst and writer to ferret out stories that hold the powerful accountable and help explain how our tax dollars are being spent.

More information here 


Las Vegas Optic Seeks General Manager/Editor

Applications are now being accepted for the general manager/editor’s position at the award winning Las Vegas Optic, a mail delivered 3,550 circulation tri-weekly publishing on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday in Las Vegas, New Mexico. Las Vegas is located approximately 65 miles east of Santa Fe and at the base of the Sangre de Cristo Mountain range in the southern Rockies. The paper is printed at its sister paper, the Los Alamos Monitor, which is located approximately 100 miles from the Las Vegas Optic office.

Details at 

Building resilience for journalists: Photojournalist Donna DeCesare on covering difficult stories

By Rachel Sams
SPJ Rio Grande Board Member 

Courtesy Donna DeCesare
Courtesy Donna DeCesare

Photojournalist Donna DeCesare has reported on conflict from Northern Ireland to El Salvador.

She’s spent her career pursuing stories that play out beyond the battlefield and away from the public eye — particularly stories of how women and children are affected by violence.

Now, she’s coming to New Mexico, which has some of the nation’s highest rates of poverty and domestic violence, to hold a workshop Feb. 11 for the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma on “Reporting on Child Abuse and Family Violence.”

SPJ Rio Grande is hosting the workshop with the University of New Mexico Department of Communication and Journalism.

DeCesare is the author of “Unsettled / Desasosiego: Children in a World of Gangs.” Famed photographer Mary Ellen Mark called DeCesare “clearly one of the great documentary photographers of our time.”

During her career, DeCesare has photographed child soldiers, and questioned the impact her images could have. She thinks about how far those pictures will reach — and whether the images will follow these children in a way that makes it difficult for them to build a future.

Sometimes DeCesare composes her shots so the subject’s face isn’t recognizable, or asks the subject how they’d like to be portrayed, involving them in the photographic process.

“The gang members I interviewed were young people who had experienced trauma,” said DeCesare, an associate professor of journalism at the University of Texas at Austin. “It was very important for me to understand the situations and choices they had, and to try to do journalism that would help people understand the complexity of the issues.”

She says the toughest stories she’s covered have involved subjects who spoke of being sexually abused as children. When subjects share things like that with her, she makes sure they have a support network to turn to after they’ve told their story.

“We’re not social workers,” she says, “but you do feel a burden of responsibility when you have opened someone up.”

And in cultures where violence is commonplace, “anything journalists can do to help break that normalization process is helpful,” she said, adding that crime reporters, for example, can reach out to public health officials who can explain the impacts of high levels of violence on a population.

The workshop DeCesare is holding in Albuquerque will include best practices on covering issues related to vulnerable populations, including children. It will explore some of the Dart Center’s tools for understanding the complexity of these issues, and advice on emotional self-care for journalists covering painful stories.

Much of what the workshop will cover applies to any journalist covering tough stories, whether they involve children or not, she said.

DeCesare became a fellow of the Dart Center, which is a project of the Columbia Journalism School, in 2003.

The center’s work, she said, is about “how to keep yourself resilient in the face of covering a lot of really difficult stuff, and still able to love people and love the world, and still go back and cover the bad stuff when it happens, and do it in a sensitive way.”

The best way to decompress when covering tough stories is the way that works for you, she said. As a photojournalist, her choice often is to spend time photographing the natural world.

DeCesare’s workshop takes place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Feb. 11 at the University of New Mexico SUB, Acoma A&B. Tickets for DeCesare’s workshop are available online at $10 for SPJ members and $20 for nonmembers.

Register here