It's not a secret that news organizations around the country are changing and adapting their business models. Some have created online subscriptions and others have cut back or completely eliminated their print versions. In New Mexico, all of the major newspapers have some sort of presence online and some have skipped the printing process entirely.
New Mexico In Depth, a new online news site started by Trip Jennings and Heath Haussamen, launched earlier this year. Jennings, who serves as the executive director, and Haussamen, the deputy director, have both reported for various outlets across New Mexico. With an initial $525,000 grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, they are not solely dependent on subscriptions or ad revenue. However, Jennings admits the organization is looking ahead and working out a plan to stay funded past two years.
The goal of New Mexico In Depth is to look deeper and report on stories that other organizations may not have the time or staff for. Jennings prefers to base his reporting on documents and spreadsheets as opposed to simply interviewing. He said other outlets focus less on intensive researching because of budget cuts and shrinking newsrooms.
"There's a lot of pressure on fewer reporters to fill the paper," Jennings said.
Jennings and Haussamen not only plan to report stories themselves, but also work with other organizations that may not have the resources to spend on in-depth reporting. They recently announced media partnerships with the Santa Fe Reporter, the Las Cruces Sun-News and KUNM-FM, a public radio station in Albuquerque.
"What I hope to do is dig a little deeper into issues that affect New Mexican's lives and be a resource for reporters and journalists across the state who want to do a similar type of reporting," Jennings said.
Sarah Gustavus, a television and radio reporter in Albuquerque, has worked both as a freelance journalist and full time for different organizations. She knows the up and downsides of working independently from a major station or publication. Currently working as a freelance reporter, she is able to work on stories that television or radio stations may not be able to cover as intensely.
"If you have a project you are really passionate about you can go out and find the right outlet, the right funding to match what you want to do," Gustavus said. "Sometimes when you're working at a station, your priorities need to match the station's priorities."
Anthony Hatch, an adjunct professor at the University of New Mexico, teaches a class on media management in the Department Communication & Journalism. Staring his journalism career in the 1950s, he has seen many changes in how news is reported. He is less optimistic about the future of journalism than some. He sees the world of journalism becoming more about entertainment and less about digging deeper.
"Nobody goes back into the story to find out why this criminal was released," Hatch said. "Why don't they go into this? And we don't get any straight answers."
Jennings said he and Hausseman are focused on covering big issues, but also doing extensive research and showing how these issues impact New Mexicans.