The city will begin with one rack at City Hall, and then will accept public input before making a decision on extending the program to all city-owned property and right-of-ways (including sidewalks), according to Santa Fe Reporter columnist Zane Fischer. He argues that the program is a waste of time and money, and that the modular racks -- not individual news boxes -- are the real eyesores. "The neatness purchased by such an investment tends toward homogeneity rather than beauty," Fischer writes. "Santa Fe's dedication to retaining its distinctive appearance has been so enormous over the past century -- and its resistance to architectural progress remains so formidable -- that there is sad irony to be found in watching its difference be chipped away by small, aesthetic technicalities."
When the Los Angeles Press Club announced the 50th annual Southern California Journalism Awards on Saturday night, five AAN papers and an Associate Member were honored. LA Weekly took home 16 awards, including first place in Editorial Cartoon, Entertainment Feature, Online Entertainment, News/Feature/Commentary and Signed Commentary. OC Weekly won a total of five awards, including first place for Entertainment Reviews/Criticism/Column, Group Blog, and Sports. Ventura County Reporter received a first-place prize for News Feature, while Los Angeles CityBeat won three awards and Pasadena Weekly won two. Associate Member Amy Alkon, aka the Advice Goddess, won four awards, including first place for Column.
Bill Lascher says in an email that June 25 will be his last day as editor of the Reporter, as he leaves to attend a new master's program in specialized journalism at the University of Southern California. He will be replaced by Michael Sullivan, who was previously a writer at the Fresno Business Journal and a freelancer with the Reporter and the Ventura County Star.
In honor of Sunshine Week, which is March 16-22 this year, the Reporter has launched "version 2.0" of MuckrakersGuide.com, "a toolshed of links and resources for digging up public records." The website began with a January cover story by Dave Maass and now features more than 200 links to databases and search engines that will help citizen watchdogs. The Reporter plans to continue growing the site, and welcomes all questions and additional links.
Nine days after the Santa Fe Reporter revealed that the State Investment Office had $42.3 million tied up in "highest offender" corporations conducting business in Sudan, New Mexico became the 22nd state to commit to a divestment plan, according to the Reporter. "We are also sending a strong message to the corporate world that New Mexico will not accept investment profits that come at the expense of innocent lives lost to genocide," state investment officer Gary Bland says in a press release.
In this year's New Mexico Press Association contest, the alt-weekly took home a first place award for business writing; a second place award for investigative reporting; and honorable mentions for reviews and design & typography.
All the finalists in the "Newspapers: Local Circulation Weeklies" category were AAN members, but Todd Spivak came out on top for "Run Over By Metro." The prestigious awards, given by Investigative Reporters and Editors Inc., recognize the most outstanding watchdog journalism of the year. Judges said Spivak's "compelling and vivid narrative writing gives extraordinary power to the victims' stories and fuels the outrage over the agency's misconduct." The other finalists were Sarah Fenske of Phoenix New Times (for "Cracked Houses"), Dan Frosch of the Santa Fe Reporter (for "The Wexford Files"), and Matthew Fleischer of LA Weekly (for "Navahoax").
Writing in this month's CJR, Gloria Cooper gives kudos to the alt-weekly for its "long-running series on the state of the health care system in New Mexico" that led to the termination of Wexford Health Sources' contract with the New Mexico Department of Corrections. The Reporter's series highlighted repeated abuses and systemic failures by the for-profit company formerly in charge of inmate care.
Citing the alt-weekly's five-month investigative series into repeated abuses and systemic failures on the part of Wexford Health Services, Governor Bill Richardson has ordered a termination of the company's $27 million contract to provide medical care within New Mexico's prison system. Richardson's spokesperson confirms the decision to axe Wexford was made based on the Reporter series. "They're done," spokesperson Gilbert Gallegos told the weekly. "We expect to have a new provider in a reasonable amount of time."