By Fin Martinez
In the era of newsroom cuts, subscription decreases, and dwindling investigative reporting, the New Mexico Political report is a news source that aims to fix that problem.
The New Mexico political report is not the standard form of news source, it’s constructed as a non-profit.
Most newspapers and news sources are profit-based models that rely on advertisers and subscriptions in order to keep their doors open and to keep their reporters reporting, but often times this leads to the content reported on to be subject to the interests and will of the investors in the newspaper.
Sometimes when a story is printed it causes strife with the investors. As Dennis Herrick, the author of the class text, described in his anecdote, the investor withdrew their support of the paper on grounds of their corporate interests related to the subject of a story the newspaper printed. The investors viewed the story as detrimental to their own interests and therefore withdrew their support of the paper.
This was a big hit, financially, for the paper, but that’s not to say the paper went belly-up after the incident, it merely illustrates the nature of a for-profit business structure of a newspaper.
The New Mexico Political Report, as stated earlier follows a different business model, the non-profit business model. The New Mexico funded through crowdsourcing and grants instead of investors that with to see a profitable and tame news source.
The New Mexico Political Report is not bound by obligations to investors to produce crowd-pleasing journalism because of their free nature and willingness to report on the important social issues that are seldom reported on. The New Mexico Political Report has at point been blacklisted by certain politicians; but this is a badge of honor in the journalism world as it’s a shows that you are fulfilling your job as a journalist: to be a watchdog on those who are in power.
The lack of investors in New Mexico Political Report’s business structure is how they are able to report on issues that would otherwise pose as a liability to investors. No investors means no leash and no leash means nobody to pull back on the watchdog that bites too hard.
Legacy and for-profit newspapers is driven by a need to create content that does not step on toes and does not pose risks that could result in an investor pulling funding from their publication. Nonprofit news sources are driven by the obligation to the people and the belief that the people have the right to know what devious things politicians are up to.
Is it as profitable as a Legacy publication? Maybe not. Is it a news source that is fulfilling its duty to inform the public on complex social issues? Definitely. Which comes down to a moral quandary, do you want to have steady income or a reputation that stops corruption in its tracks?
-Fin Martinez is a journalism senior at the University of New Mexico