--2 New Mexico Independent Closes
Sept. 25, 2016

New Mexico Independent Closes

Editor still sees potential in non-profit journalism

November 17, 2010, 5:45 pm
By Julia Goldberg

Journalists enjoy both competition and camaraderie. The New Mexico Independent provided opportunity for both. Its strong emphasis on state politics made it a site to watch, particularly during the Legislature and elections. Its non-profit model encouraged collaborative efforts, and SFR had the opportunity to team up with NMI on more than one occasion. Loss of any media outlet is never good news, and in this case we were particularly sorry to learn today that NMI has been shuttered

NMI's editor, Gwyneth Doland, tells SFR she wasn't "shocked" because "anyone working in the media today has to be prepared for dramatic and unexpected changes. They are happening in every sector and they are happening without warning." Nonetheless, she says, "I was shocked to see the cuts go so completely."

Doland, a former editor and writer for SFR, says while NMI's financial challenges as a non-profit operating in today's economy proved insurmountable, she still believes "there's a lot of potential in the non-profit model." Were she to undertake a comparable project, she says, "I would focus some strengths on diversifying the revenue stream, because in a tough economy, philanthropy isn’t what it is when everybody has money."

NMI was one of eight sites run by the American Independent News Network, which is based in Washington, DC.

David Bennahum, president and CEO of the AIN, told Heath Haussamen of nmpolitics.net , that New Mexico-based funding for NMI had decreased dramatically since 2008, from $187,000 to $32,500, according to the story. The decision to close was financial, he said, as NMI had distinguished itself with a variety of awards for its journalism.

Bennahum was the keynote speaker last January at the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies annual web conference in San Francisco (AAN is a journalism trade association in Washington DC of which SFR is a member, and on whose board this writer serves). At the conference, Bennahum spoke of the mission for the organization, which was to marry the speed of the Internet with the basics of investigative journalism in order to serve the "public good." He also discussed the funding model of philanthropy-based journalism, noting:
"To say nonprofits are going to save journalism�I don't even know what that means."

NMI certainly enriched New Mexico's media landscape. Reportedly, its parent company plans to have one freelance blogger continue contributions to the site, and to keep its current site up for reference and archival purposes.


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