See the final program for the SPJ Region 9 conference

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Meet the presenters and learn more about the workshops and panels scheduled for the SPJ Region 9 Conference, to be held April 5 – 6, 2019 at the Continuing Education Conference Center on the scenic campus of the University of New Mexico.

The conference is presented by the SPJ Rio Grande Chapter with help from the SPJ@UNM chapter.

Don’t put it off — register today on our Eventbrite page!

On social media: Use the hashtag #SPJR9 for conference-related tweets, and follow:

  • @SPJRioGrande
  • @SPJ_UNM
  • @UtahSPJ
  • @spj_tweets

Our generous sponsors include:

    • Thornburg Foundation
    • Heising-Simons Foundation
    • The Max and Anna Levinson Foundation
    • McCune Foundation
    • Searchlight New Mexico
    • Albuquerque Journal
    • New Mexico In Depth
    • Albuquerque Business First
    • KRQE TV
    • Media Placitas
    • New Mexico Press Association
    • Lucas Peerman, Las Cruces Sun-News/USA Today Network
    • Koahnic Broadcasting Corporation
    • SFI Communications
    • NM Foundation for Open Government
    • Tom Johnson
    • New Mexico News Port
    • The Utah and Colorado Chapters of SPJ
    • SPJ National Headquarters


Workshop 1: Facebook for Journalists: Tools including Live, Groups, Video, Insights and Safety features.

In 2018, Facebook and SPJ partnered to teach Facebook Tools for Journalists at conferences and newsrooms around the country. Facebook and SPJ are committed to creating opportunities for journalists everywhere to learn about ways Facebook tools can help create and share incredible works of journalism, as well as engaging the public in the stories about their communities. Click here for more informationAll participants are asked to fill out this pre-survey.

Lynn Walsh is an Emmy award-winning freelance journalist who has worked in investigative, data and TV journalism at the national level as well as locally in California, Ohio, Texas and Florida. Based in San Diego, she is a past national president of SPJ and Project Manager at the Trusting News project.

Workshop 2: Getting it Down & Getting it Right: How to take better notes, conduct better research and fact-check your own work

Whether you’re reporting from the office or the field, gathering good information is crucial for any story. In this hands-on workshop, veteran journalists will teach you strategies for taking notes that capture key quotes and vivid color, conducting thorough research, and vetting the accuracy of what you’ve learned.

Sarah Scoles is a freelance science journalist based in Denver, Colorado; a contributing writer at Popular Science and Wired; and the author of the book Making Contact. She writes mostly about astronomy, space exploration, and their overlap with the defense and intelligence communities. She’s a former editor at Astronomy magazine and a member of the National Association of Science Writers’ Freelance Committee. Follow her at @ScolesSarah.

Julia Dendinger has been a reporter at the Valencia County News-Bulletin for more than 12 years, and was named assistant editor in January 2015. During her time at the VCNB, she has written about everything from traditional Spanish art to illegal dumping to murder. She has been recognized by the National Newspaper Association and New Mexico Press Association for her work, but says her proudest moments have been when readers have told her she helped them, made a difference in their day or inspired them.

Judy Fahys has reported in Utah for two decades, covering politics, government and business before taking on environmental issues. She loves covering the Beehive State, where climate change, the nation’s radioactive legacy and other types of pollution provide endless fodder for stories. Previously, she worked for the Salt Lake Tribune in Utah, and covered the nation’s Capitol for States News Service and the Scripps League newspaper chain. A longtime member of the Society of Environmental Journalists and Investigative Reporters and Editors, she has served on SEJ’s board of directors since 2017. In the 2004-05 academic year, she was a fellow in the Knight Science Journalism program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In her spare time, she enjoys being out in the environment, especially hiking, gardening and watercolor painting.

April Reese (moderator) is a freelance science and environment journalist based in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She writes about borderlands, conservation, climate change, public lands, water, wildfire and other topics for a number of outlets — Scientific American, Science magazine, Popular Science, The Guardian and Yale Environment 360 among them. She’s a former editor at Discover magazine and Cosmos in Australia and is an SPJ-Rio Grande Chapter board member. Follow her on Twitter @areesesantafe.

Workshop 3: Data Analysis & Visualization: Learning what’s really happening in your data, visualizing it and sharing it with others

Data lies beneath more and more of the work we do as journalists – and not just for the big investigations. Your best data work is done not with Excel, but with a dedicated programming language like R. This workshop will help you up your reporting game by learning a programming approach to analyzing and visualizing a real-world dataset, and generating story ideas from your exploration.  Note: This workshop is appropriate for any experience level, but you must be comfortable with basic computer operation. Also, you must provide a laptop (Windows, Mac or Linux). Attendees will be given links to download free software and data, which must be done before the workshop begins.

John R. Roby is a data journalist with and vice president for communications with SPJ Rio Grande. He has produced data-driven articles and interactives for publications based in New York, New Mexico and California. John lives outside Santa Fe with his wife and two children. Follow him on Twitter @ByJohnRRoby.

Workshop 4: Google Mapping Skills: Overview, My Maps, Google EarthPro

Most people think they know how to use Google’s suite of tools effectively and efficiently, but chances are there are hidden tricks, secrets and shortcuts you’ve never been told. Join us to learn about advanced search tactics, finding trending stories, building maps in Google Maps and constructing flyovers with Google Earth Pro. Be sure to bring a laptop and set up a free Google account before arriving.

Dan Petty is digital director of audience development at MediaNews Group, the parent company of publications including The Denver Post, Orange County Register, San Jose Mercury News and Boston Herald. He oversees efforts to build loyal and engaged audiences on the company’s digital platforms as well as off-site efforts, including mobile apps and social media. He has trained hundreds of journalists in digital best practices, including Google tools and social media.

Workshop 5: Think Like a Business: Survival Skills for Journalists

Week after bloody week, journalists are losing staff jobs and facing financial collapse. Others have worked years, against odds, to make independent journalism pay the bills. No matter who you are or where you worked before, today’s realities mean we all need to think like a business, not an employee. This workshop will cover the nuts and bolts of turning a job into a self-owned business and brand. Some of the questions we’ll explore:

  • Where do I find project grants? How do I win them?
  • Should I form an LLC?
  • How can I work smart and save on taxes?
  • What’s a fellowship and what could it do for me?
  • What’s my side gig?

April Reese is a freelance science and environment journalist based in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She writes about borderlands, conservation, climate change, public lands, water, wildfire and other topics for a number of outlets — Scientific American, Science magazine, Popular Science, The Guardian and Yale Environment 360 among them. She’s a former editor at Discover magazine and Cosmos in Australia and is an SPJ-Rio Grande Chapter board member. Follow her on Twitter @areesesantafe.

Sarah Scoles is a freelance science journalist based in Denver, Colorado; a contributing writer at Popular Science and Wired; and the author of the book Making Contact. She writes mostly about astronomy, space exploration, and their overlap with the defense and intelligence communities. She’s a former editor at Astronomy magazine and a member of the National Association of Science Writers’ Freelance Committee. Follow her on Twitter @ScolesSarah.

Mónica Ortiz Uribe is a freelance radio reporter who specializes in the U.S./Mexico border and the American southwest. She was one of three El Paso-based reporters— all women— to cover a vicious drug war in Ciudad Juárez beginning in 2008. Her coverage included the disappearance and murder of young women in that city. Mónica has also reported on Mexico’s judicial reform, strikes by Mexican factory workers, and water management issues in the arid Southwest. She’s currently covering the impact of the Trump administration’s immigration and border enforcement policies. Her work regularly airs on National Public Radio and Public Radio International.

Tracy Staedter, moderator, is a science journalist covering the intersection of innovation and sustainability. She was the managing editor for both MIT Technology Review and Scientific American Explorations, and worked as an editor for Discovery News, Seeker, Astronomy, and Earth. As a freelance writer, she has contributed to Earther, Smithsonian Air & Space, Scientific American, Inside Science, Mercury Magazine, Live Science, IEEE Spectrum, HowStuffWorks, Fast Company, Slate, MIT Technology Review, and and authored the children’s science book, Rocks and Minerals, part of the Reader’s Digest Pathfinders series. In 2013, she founded the Boston-based writing workshop Fresh Pond Writers, for writers of fiction and creative nonfiction.

Happy Hour featuring Abe Streep,  winner, American Mosaic Journalism Prize

Canteen Brewhouse
2381 Aztec NE
Albuquerque, NM 87107

Abe Streep is a contributing editor at Outside and a contributing writer at The California Sunday Magazine. His work has also appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Harper’s, WIRED, The Atavist, and elsewhere. In 2019 he was awarded the American Mosaic Journalism Prize for excellence in long-form reporting on underrepresented groups in America.


Presentation: Covering the Climate Crisis in the West

Climate change is one of the biggest issues of our time, affecting every corner of the West. But how can we make such an enormous topic sensible for our readers? How can we turn science and data into great storytelling? What tools can we use to root our reporting in evidence-based research—especially in an era of fake news amid a societal backlash against science?

Tom Yulsman directs the University of Colorado’s Center for Environmental Journalism and is a Professor of Journalism in the College of Media, Communication and Information. Yulsman keeps an active career as a journalist going by covering the Earth and environmental sciences for major magazines and online publications. He writes regularly for Discover Magazine, where he runs ImaGeo, a visual blog focusing on the intersection of imagery, imagination and planet Earth.  In addition to Discover, his work has appeared in a wide variety of publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, Time, bioGraphic, Audubon and Climate Central. His book, “Origins: The Quest for our Cosmic Roots,” was published in 2003. Before joining CU in 1996, Yulsman was editor-in-chief of Earth magazine. He received his MS degree in 1980 from the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University.

Improving Your Reporting Through Better Storytelling

You’ve done your research, gathered the facts and even gotten some killer quotes. Now, on deadline, it’s time to write—to take that great stuff in your notebook and weave it into a story that will (hopefully) inform and enthrall your audience. But what’s the best way to tell that story? How do you turn dry facts and figures into a compelling story that will best serve your audience? Veteran storytellers share their experience and techniques, discuss tailoring storytelling to fit a specific audience and answer your storytelling questions.

Panelists: Elizabeth Hernandez, Denver Post; Abe Streep, freelance journalist.

Elizabeth Hernandez is a Denver Post reporter who covers higher education and a little bit of everything else, too. Hernandez started at the Post as an intern in 2014 during her senior year at the University of Colorado Boulder and just kept coming to work until they hired her. A staunch advocate for local news, Hernandez often uses Twitter to engage with her community to show behind-the-scenes work of a day in the life of a reporter in the hopes that folks will feel compelled to subscribe and become more civically engaged.

Abe Streep is a contributing editor at Outside and a contributing writer at The California Sunday Magazine. His work has also appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Harper’s, WIRED, The Atavist, and elsewhere. In 2019 he was awarded the American Mosaic Journalism Prize for excellence in long-form reporting on underrepresented groups in America.

Ryan Lowery, moderator, is an independent journalist who contributes regularly to a number of publications, including the Las Vegas Optic in Las Vegas, N.M., where he previously worked as a staff writer. An SPJ member since 2014, Ryan holds a strong belief in the importance of journalistic ethics. He is also a vocal advocate for unifying journalists from print, online, radio, and broadcast, and promoting their work to help expand the reach of good journalism.

Whose Voices Are You Hearing? An NM Recipe for Covering Diverse Communities

Bring your best pitches involving stories about people of color and other underrepresented groups. We’ll brainstorm the best way to make them reality, get past the editor who always says no, and avoid pitfalls like “poverty porn.” We know that diverse journalism is good journalism, but it’s not always a regular practice. Following through and elevating diverse voices is hard work and often involves overcoming barriers. And when newsrooms tackle diverse stories knowing how to avoid stereotypes is key.

Sylvia Ulloa covers child well-being and education for New Mexico In Depth, a digital, nonpartisan, nonprofit new organization that produces investigative, data-rich stories with an eye on solutions that can be a catalyst for change. Before joining NMID, she was managing editor of the Las Cruces Sun-News in the agricultural Mesilla Valley in southern New Mexico, as well as an editor and designer at the El Paso Times and the San Jose Mercury News. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from San Jose State University and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, respectively.

Mary Hudetz is an Associated Press reporter based in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where she covers law enforcement, criminal justice and Native American affairs. She started her journalism career in 2008 as an AP reporter in Portland, Oregon, then moved to the AP’s West Desk in Phoenix where she worked with reporters and editors ad­vancing coverage of Native American issues. A member of the Crow Tribe in Montana and a graduate of Fordham University in New York, Hudetz is also a past president of the Native American Journalists Association.

Monica Braine, moderator, is senior producer for the radio show Native America Calling. Her career in journalism started with an internship at her tribal newspaper Wotanin on the Ft Peck Reservation in Montana. She later studied film making at Antioch College and has a Master’s degree in Education from the University of New Mexico. She also worked at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, the Navy Museum, National Geographic and the Media Literacy Project.

Overcoming Journalism’s Urban / Rural Divide

Journalists in rural communities are often left out of the national conversation about the future of journalism. How can we bring more journalists together to support and learn from each other in the West? Are there opportunities for collaboration between journalists in urban and rural communities?

Panelists: Kara Mason, politics reporter, Aurora Sentinel, CO; Abe Streep, contributing editor, Outside Magazine, NM

Abe Streep is a contributing editor at Outside and a contributing writer at The California Sunday Magazine. His work has also appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Harper’s, WIRED, The Atavist, and elsewhere. In 2019 he was awarded the American Mosaic Journalism Prize for excellence in long-form reporting on underrepresented groups in America.

Kara Mason is a Colorado native. She’s covered the state’s small communities of Southern Colorado, the politics under the gold dome in Denver and is a regular at Aurora city hall, where she covers the state’s third largest city. She covers government and politics for the Sentinel, based in Aurora. That includes the state delegation and the Sixth Congressional District. Kara grew up in Pueblo, where she also attended college. Before joining the Sentinel in 2017, Kara worked for newspapers in Pueblo and Cañon City, and for Scripps Howard. She also currently writes for Colorado Politics and PULP Newsmagazine. Kara is the immediate past president for the Colorado chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.

Jessica Onsurez, moderator, is Managing Editor of the Carlsbad Current-Argus in Carlsbad, NM. She was previously the senior reporter at the daily newspaper which serves southeastern New Mexico. She has a master’s degree in digital communication from American University in Washington, D.C. and a bachelor’s degree in communication from Eastern New Mexico University in Portales, NM.

Open Government / Open Data — Access and Action Needed

Reporters spend time and resources developing investigatory and data analysis chops, but are often stymied by a frustrating experience: not being able to access crucial government information, including what ought to be easily transferred datasets in machine readable format. This panel will discuss the importance of open data and best practices gleaned from other states so journalists can more effectively make their case for data to gatekeepers at public agencies.

Panelists: Melanie Majors, Executive Director, New Mexico Foundation for Open Government; Peter St. Cyr, Executive Director, Open Access New Mexico; John R. Roby, data journalist,

Melanie J. Majors is executive director of the New Mexico Foundation for Open Government, bringing to bear a 30-year professional career in New Mexico that spans the fields of journalism, communications and public relations. In 2010 she opened her own Communication firm, The Majors Company, specializing in media training, crisis communication and strategic planning. She started her career as a print reporter where she earned an AP Citation and several NMPA awards for her news coverage. She moved to Albuquerque in 1984 and became a news producer at KOB-TV4, working in both news and promotions, and is an accomplished author of numerous publications. After moving into public relations, she has provided senior level counsel and strategic relations for some of New Mexico’s leading corporations and major projects. She is also a media trainer for the New Mexico Broadcasters Association, and is a past board member of the Foundation for Open Government; a past president of the New Mexico Chapter of Public Relations Society and a former member of the board of directors of the National Federation of Press Women. In 2008, the New Mexico chapter of the Public Relations Society of America awarded her the Vista Award. She is a graduate of the University of New Mexico’s journalism school and is currently an adjunct professor in that department.

Peter St. Cyr is the founder and executive director of Open Access New Mexico, a nonprofit focused on strengthening democracy by advancing policies to digitally transform the public’s access to government. An Emmy award-winning investigative journalist and producer, St. Cyr has earned a reputation for developing complex legal and political stories. His series on the ethical lapses of a powerful state senator prompted a criminal investigation by the state Attorney General that ultimately led to a criminal conviction. He believes transparency in government is critical to holding the powerful accountable and empowers citizens to inform, shape and direct public policy. This summer, Open Access New plans to launch chapters in Northern and Southern New Mexico and is scheduled to provide Open Meetings Act training programs to charter school boards. They’ll also be working closely with the governor’s office and state legislators to develop an open data policy for New Mexico.

Moderator: Marjorie Childress, Deputy Director, New Mexico In Depth.

Keynote Speaker: Jenni Monet, freelance journalist

Jenni Monet is an award-winning journalist who writes about Indigenous rights and injustice for such publications as The LA Times, The Guardian, and Center for Investigative Reporting. Jenni received top honors for her coverage of the Dakota Access Pipeline battle in which she chronicled the movement for six months, resulting in her arrest and ultimately her acquittal.  Jenni is a tribal citizen of the Pueblo of Laguna and divides her time between New York and the Indigenous world.

Moderator: Bill Diven, news editor, Sandoval Signpost, owner Media Placitas, NM

Mark of Excellence Awards Presentation

Stay seated after lunch (but go back for desert!) as we honor the best of college journalism in SPJ Region 9. The winners and finalists will be announced by UNM Journalism Professor of Practice Michael Marcotte, advisor to the student chapter of SPJ@UNM and this year’s Region 9 Conference chair.

Covering Opaque Institutions: Strategies and Skills

All conferees are invited to choose a table where a student journalist will moderate a discussion focused on institutions deserving deeper coverage. Some table topics will be pre-planned (suggestions include the cannabis industry, campus athletics, prisons and jails); others will be determined at the time.

#MeToo on the Job: Appropriate Responses in our Newsrooms & Communities

We know the national news. But how does the #MeToo movement affect our own newsrooms and local communities? How many among us have faced harassment on the job, in the field (or even in the office)? And what are regional journalism outlets doing about it? This is not just about women. It’s about everyone. This is an interactive session, and we would like participants to come with questions. Men, we especially want to hear from you! We need your help in fostering a discussion about how to be allies, good co-workers and managers. We will reveal the results of a sexual harassment survey sent to regional SPJ chapters/members and media outlets, modeled on the groundbreaking International Women’s Media Foundation international survey of harassment and attacks against female journalists. We will also hear from an attorney about appropriate responses from media organizations. Does your newsroom have a sexual harassment policy? Do you recognize sexist speech or behavior while on the job? How can journalists prevent sexual harassment in the workplace and in the field?

Panelists: Pamelya Herndon, former executive director of the Southwest Women’s Law Center and a WK Kellogg fellow; Melissa Cassutt, deputy editor, Jackson Hole News & Guide, leader of an innovative #MeToo project with dramatic effects throughout the community; Jill Geisler, Bill Plante Chair in Leadership & Media Integrity, Loyola University Chicago; Freedom Forum Institute Fellow in Women’s Leadership (joining us via video call); Karen Coates, SPJ Rio Grande Chapter president, independent journalist and International Women’s Media Foundation fellow.

Moderator: Megan Kamerick, host at KUNM, correspondent for NM PBS

Pamelya Herndon is a graduate of the Howard University School of Business and the University Texas School of Law. She is a former General Counsel and Deputy Cabinet Secretary for the New Mexico Regulation and Licensing and the General Services Departments, respectively. Prior to joining state government, Pamelya served as a senior trial attorney for the Department of Treasury, IRS. She served seven years as the successful executive director of a women’s nonprofit law center where she and her team were instrumental in helping to pass the New Mexico Fair Pay for Women Act. Pamelya now serves as the Chief Executive Officer of KWH Law Center for Social and Change, a nonprofit organization focused on filling gaps in legal services and advocating for low income families in the South and Southwest.

Jill Geisler is the Bill Plante Chair in Leadership and Media Integrity at Loyola University Chicago and an internationally recognized expert in leadership and management. She’s the person news organizations reach out to when their managers need solutions, skills and inspiration.  Her influence on media leaders ranges from Boston to Bhutan. She is also the Freedom Forum’s Institute Fellow in Women’s Leadership.  Jill designs and delivers programs in its “Power Shift” initiative. The goal is workplace integrity – which exists when organizations are free from sexual misconduct, discrimination and incivility and full of opportunity, especially for those who have been traditionally underrepresented in leadership roles. Jill is the author of “Work Happy: What Great Bosses Know” and “News Leadership at the Head of the Class.” She writes a monthly management column for the Columbia Journalism Review. Her podcasts, including “Q&A: Leadership and Integrity in the Digital Age” have had millions of downloads worldwide. Her management mantra is “Life’s too short to work with jerks.”

Melissa Cassutt is the Deputy Editor at the Jackson Hole News&Guide, editing the paper’s Features section and special projects. In addition to overseeing a dozen special sections focusing on gender, art and the nonprofit sector, she has produced several series including a three-part series on a live liver transplant. She recently led a four-person team that examined one facet of the #metoo movement, Why do survivors speak out when they do? She has a master’s in Zoo, Aquarium and Animal Shelter Management from Colorado State University and a bachelor’s in journalism from the University of Colorado-Boulder. She was named the Wyoming Press Association’s Young Journalist of the Year in 2016.

Megan Kamerick is an award-winning journalist and radio producer based in Albuquerque. She has worked as a business reporter and editor at the San Antonio Business Journal, New Orleans CityBusiness and the New Mexico Business Weekly. Megan is currently the host of All Things Considered on KUNM in Albuquerque and a correspondent for New Mexico PBS, where she previously was previously a producer for two shows, “New Mexico in Focus” as well as “Public Square,” which was funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. She has produced stories for National Public Radio, Latino USA, Marketplace, Capital & Main, The Bottom Line podcast, Pacific Content and Serious Eats. Megan’s TED talk on women and media now has more than 300,000 views at

Public Lands in the Crosshairs

The history of the West is rife with conflicts over land and water continuing into present times when combatants, still occasionally armed, are more likely to wield lawsuits, surveys, studies, lobbyists, protest signs and slick promotions. Caught in the middle are the managers of public lands trying to balance competing interests and journalists faced with diverse and diverging communities. What can a journalist do to move beyond hype and stereotypes to tell a human story without getting lost in the weeds of governmental process?

Panelists: Rebecca Huntington, print and broadcast environmental reporter and current managing editor of the Jackson Hole News & Guide in Jackson, Wyo., a center of recreation and ranching; Geoff McGhee, Bill Lane Center for the American West; Chris Stagg, vice president of Taos Ski Valley, where his business relies U.S. Forest Service leases and recently drew national media coverage of a fatal avalanche.

Geoff McGhee is a veteran multimedia journalist who has been working since 2010 at the nexus of storytelling and research at Stanford’s Bill Lane Center for the American West. He co-edits the Center’s publication, ‘…& the West’ with his former New York Times colleague Felicity Barringer, as well as the EcoWest series of environmental data trackers on wildfires, drought, and snowpack, among others. Geoff has also worked on Center projects like Water in the West, a joint program with the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, and the Center’s Rural West Initiative, which conducted research and reporting on the alternative energy boom, as well as retracing a 100-year-old survey of country life originally commissioned by President Theodore Roosevelt. He also contributed a chapter on rural broadband internet issues to the Rural West Initiative’s 2015 book, Bridging the Distance: Common Issues of the Rural West. Geoff oversees the Center’s Western Journalism and Media Fellowships program, which brings journalists to the Center for brief collaborations and supports travel and research expenses for work on critical western issues. Previously, he worked as the multimedia editor at Le Monde in Paris from 2008-2009 and at The New York Times from 2000 to 2008 as Graphics Editor, Enterprise Editor, Chief Multimedia Producer and Video Journalist. He also worked at ABC News from 1999-2000. He was the lead writer on National Geographic’s “Data Points” column on information visualization in 2015-16. He received his master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University in 1999. His personal site is at

Rebecca Huntington is managing editor of the Jackson Hole News & Guide in Jackson, Wyo. She has covered public lands in the West for daily and weekly newspapers in Montana, Idaho, Washington, Oregon and Wyoming. She was a Ted Scripps Fellow in Environmental Journalism at the University of Colorado where she investigated the unintended consequences of feeding wildlife — still a quandary for Wyoming where chronic wasting disease continues its relentless march across the state. A multimedia journalist, she also hosts The Fine Line podcast about backcountry rescue and has been a contributor to Wyoming Public Radio, the PBS series This American Land and other video news outlets.

Jay Christopher “Chris” Stagg, a native of upstate New York, picked the University of New Mexico for college to be near skiing and the promise of great adventure for someone never west of Kentucky before. With a bachelor’s degree in Architecture and Planning, he moved to Taos to “teach skiing for a year” and 43 years later is now vice president for public affairs at Taos Ski Valley, Inc. Chris still claims “ski instructor” as his profession. He started out in the marketing business by attending ski shows with Taos’ founder Ernie Blake in 1974. Over the course of his tenure with Taos Ski Valley Chris has had the opportunity to travel to all of the states and over a dozen foreign countries promoting Taos and the state of New Mexico. In 1996 the community of Taos Ski Valley incorporated as New Mexico’s 100th municipality, and Chris was elected mayor serving two terms.  Chris has been active in statewide organizations including Tourism Association of New Mexico, The Association of Commerce and Industry, Ski New Mexico, the Nature Conservancy state chapter and the New Mexico Municipal League. He has been a member of the New Mexico Tourism Commission since 1991 under four governors and serving as its chairman for 19 years. In December 2013 the Blake family announced the sale of Taos Ski Valley to New York financier Louis Bacon. Chris continues as a member of the management team with responsibilities for community and government relations for the resort in the Carson National Forest. His interests include skiing, flying, kayaking, golf, sailing, windsurfing, backpacking, hiking, biking, swimming and travel.

Moderator: Harold Morgan, columnist, New Mexico News Service. Harold’s column every other week goes to seven New Mexico community newspapers. He has covered the New Mexico economy and policy matters since 1979.

The Border — Reality vs. Hysteria

At the U.S.-Mexico border, journalists walk the hard terrain to talk with residents, travelers, law enforcement officers and political leaders. Their stories discern fact from myth and show the consequences of policy and complex points of law.  Journalists distinguished for their reporting on the border will share their experiences and take questions.

Panelists: Diana Alba Soular, Las Cruces Sun News; Nick Oza, Arizona Republic; Monica Ortiz Uribe, independent radio journalist; Angela Kocherga, Albuquerque Journal.

Angela Kocherga is an Emmy Award-winning journalist with extensive experience covering the southwest border and interior of Mexico on air and online. She is the southern New Mexico border reporter for The Albuquerque Journal and has reported on a wide range of issues including the influx of migrant families and children traveling on their own to the U.S. border, zero tolerance family separations, the Tornillo tent city for youth, as well as the recent “Remain in Mexico” policy. She has also reported on the root causes of migration with special reports from Guatemala and Honduras. She also has covered the security buildup on the border including the fight over the wall. She also reports on binational trade and the border economy. Previously, Angela led news coverage as the Mexico City and later Border Bureau Chief for a television station group. She earned two Emmy awards for her work reporting from Ciudad Juarez on the drug war. She is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and is based on the border on the edge of New Mexico, Texas and Chihuahua.

Algernon D’Ammassa, moderator, is a reporter at the Las Cruces Sun-News, reporting on business and education in addition to coverage of labor disputes at the Third Judicial District Attorney’s office and the high-profile 2018 election for the U.S. House seat in New Mexico’s second congressional district. He also appears weekly on KRWG Public Media’s “Monday Business Watch” segment.

2 thoughts on “See the final program for the SPJ Region 9 conference

  1. What a line-up! You folks have outdone yourselves. Wish I could be there.

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