I picked New Mexico as a place to live more than 17 years ago. Since then, my commitment to remaining here has strengthened by degrees—some large, others small. But journalistically, I’ve lived all over since I parked my broken-down, old Pontiac across the street from UNM, grateful it had survived the trek down from Colorado.
I spent a decade as the cops, courts and justice reporter for the state's largest daily newspaper, the Albuquerque Journal. I left with a mortgage, a dog who's quick to tooth and the claw when he misses a meal, and no job prospects. My first assignment as I struggled to concoct a freelance hustle came from none other than the newspaper you're reading now. SFR's brilliant, but somewhat deranged editor somehow allowed me to hammer out a cover story about vaping. (You should go back and read it—sucker was somewhat prescient given what we're learning now!)
I bounced around in TV for a bit after that, then went to work for a nonprofit news organization I'm still proud to call home. But I have a second home, and I ain't leaving till they toss me out with a trebuchet.
I love this newspaper with my whole, black little heart.
Thinking back to that first cover story, I never forgot that SFR gave me 3,000 words to explore a complicated topic that mattered to readers. I'd never been afforded an opportunity like that before. And in case you didn't know, this, my second journalism home, remains the only news source in the state that publishes big heaves like that; and we do it every week.
Be it a rich, colorful arts feature, a beautiful photo contest, essential elections coverage or a deep-dive that exposes and seeks to right some wrong the powerful elite have visited upon those with no political cache, we are committed to longform journalism whose primary goal is to serve the interests of you, our readers.
We've been doing this since 1974, the year I was born. And we punch way above our weight.
Those of you familiar with my work know I'm not in this to make friends. But I'm here asking you to be a Friend of the Reporter.
The work we do here—especially those long-term, soul-sucking excavations of scumbaggery or beauty—costs money. And in case you've been living under the Plaza the past decade or so, times are tight at SFR and in the news business more broadly.
This new program is one of the ways we're using to keep the lights on, both in our newsroom and in the dark corners of business and government where the trouble festers. We hope you'll agree that this is worthwhile, and that you'll show it by becoming a Friend of the Reporter.
Jeff Proctor Contributing Editor and Defender of the Reporter