The Las Cruces Sun News laid off three journalists this week and the editor resigned. The EL Paso times also laid off four journalists.
NMPolitics.net has details: Layoffs hit Las Cruces Sun-News again; top editor resigns
Here’s a statement from SPJ Rio Grande president Laura Paskus, on behalf of the board:
Already in New Mexico, we have too few reporters trying to cover too many issues. And many are doing that on a salary that’s not sustainable, and in a job that’s not guaranteed or secure.
We’ve watched the disappearance of locally-owned newspapers. And we’ve watched corporations from out of state buy out newspapers and newsrooms. Neither of those have been good for the communities those papers serve. As out-of-state owners value profits above their employees and the communities they’re supposed to serve, all New Mexicans suffer.
Right now in New Mexico, we need more reporters covering the border. Not fewer. We also need more reporters covering oil and gas development in the San Juan Basin and the Permian Basin. We need more reporters covering WIPP and the proposed new facilities in southwestern New Mexico and west Texas.
In recent years, we’ve seen round after round of layoffs. And the latest announcements are disturbing, to say the very least. At this moment in history access to accurate information has perhaps never been more important.
Like most people, I read online newspapers and get my national and international news from media outlets outside the state. And I realize many people rely on cable television. But that access to more information about the nation and the globe can’t be at the expense of knowing what’s happening in our own neighborhoods and counties.
At a time when we need to know more — about one another, about what’s happening around us, and about how our governments operate — the news of these layoffs is very bad for all New Mexicans.
By: Heath Haussamen, SPJ Rio Grande board member
Journalists from as far away as Albuquerque and El Paso attended Saturday’s training in Las Cruces to learn about their rights when encountering federal immigration enforcement agents.
In all, 23 people from the region attended the training, which was sponsored by the Society of Professional Journalists’ Rio Grande Chapter and ACLU. If you missed it, here are a couple of posts that delve into the nuances of your rights when encountering immigration authorities:
ACLU: Can Border Agents Search Your Electronic Devices? It’s Complicated.
ProPublica: Can Customs and Border Officials Search Your Phone? These Are Your Rights
In addition, here’s a great resource on protecting your digital information:
Electronic Frontier Foundation: Digital Privacy at the U.S Border: A New How-To Guide from EFF
Thanks to the ACLU for conducting the training and Sonoma Springs Covenant Church in Las Cruces for hosting it! We believe the journalists who were able to participate are better equipped to understand their rights when they encounter federal immigration authorities – and that will help them be more comfortable covering important border and immigration issues, which is the goal.
Can U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents really seize and go through your phones and other devices at an international border crossing?
What about at the U.S. Border Patrol inland checkpoints along roads in southern New Mexico and west Texas? Or at other locations within the 100-mile zone along the U.S./Mexico border where you might encounter agents while doing your job? What are your rights to photograph and/or record CBP and Border Patrol operations?
Recent changes in Washington mean journalists should learn about these issues and how to protect themselves and their sources. The Society of Professional Journalists’ Rio Grande Chapter and ACLU are holding a know-your-rights training for journalists on Saturday, March 25, from 10:30 a.m. to noon in Las Cruces. The training is open to journalists and journalism students only. There’s no cost to attend.
Join us! Email SPJ-Rio Grande board member Heath Haussamen at email@example.com to register and get more details. Please include your name, phone number, email address, and where you work or go to school.