Bienvenidos to New Member M. Nicolás Cabrera-Montiel

A belated welcome to student chapter member and Albuquerque resident Manuel Nicolás Cabrera-Montiel.  Nicolás is an alumnus of the University of New Mexico with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. As an undergraduate he worked for the local PBS affiliate and is currently a PhD candidate in the Department of Sociology and Communication at the University of Salamanca (Spain). His interests include Spanish-language media in the United States with an emphasis on television news.

Survey Will Ask: ‘What Do You Want From Us’

By Betsy Model, President

The “Whaddya Want From Us?” Survey is Under Construction and Coming Soon to Present and Future Chapter Members

Thanks to the diligence of board member Dan Vukelich, a survey is being created that will go to all existing SPJ New Mexico members – and prospective members – asking the critical question “what do you want from us?” in the coming year.  Thanks to Dan asking the elephant-in-the-room question of “what makes joining SPJ New Mexico relevant to journalists in a time of uncertainty and in a sea of other professional organizations to choose from?” we are – under Dan’s efforts – creating a survey asking just that question as well as what YOU want to see out of this chapter in the coming year.

In order to start formulating the questions and the survey’s format, Dan did an impromptu twelve-person survey with past, present and prospective members and walked away with great ideas, suggestions and what appears to be the starting point for some serious questions aimed at serious results for our members.  As Dan notes, “…tight budgets have led newsrooms to cut memberships and associated training for their people. An opportunity exists for New Mexico SPJ to meet individual journalists’ needs at the same time it offers a value-added opportunity for their employers through practical, relevant and low-cost journalist training at the “brown-bag lunch” level.”

With an eye to creating the kinds of programs and learning opportunities that everyone in the state can access – including via podcasts, audio files and archived workshop videos – Dan is helping the board, through you, create the content, programs and opportunities that make belonging to SPJ New Mexico worthwhile.

Surveys will be administered via email soon and the results made public soon after.  If you have associates, bosses (!) or friends in journalism that you think would have their own unique take on what’s needed for them to join, please send their email address to Dan Vukelich at for inclusion in the survey mailing.

NM a Rising Star in ‘Top of the Rockies’

By David L. Brown, VP-Communications

John Ensslin, Region 9 director for SPJ, has announced the total entries in the Top of the Rockies competition has exceeded 500. New Mexico SPJ members accounted for 11 percent of the entries, or about 55.

That’s quite an achievement for a chapter that’s just emerging from a long sleep that could make Rip Van Winkle look like an early riser.

All participants are to be congratulated — and the best part is that because of these entries our chapter will receive some much-needed cash. After expenses are deducted, the revenues from the TOTR competition will be shared among the region’s chapters on a pro-rata basis, which means 11 percent will be coming our way.

According to John’s latest report, there were 508 entries from the four-state area. Colorado, where the competition was launched last year, still held the top place with 60 percent of entries. Utah and Wyoming contributed 26 and 3 percent respectively.

The entries are being shipped this week to impartial judges at SPJ chapters in other parts of the country. John says his goal is to announce the results by March 15, in time for winners to plan whether to attend the awards ceremony in person. That event is set for April 10 at the conclusion of the Regional Conference in Denver. Look for a special report here on that upcoming event, which should be worth considering whether or not you’re in line for an award.