First Forum 2019

First Forum 2019

June 6, 2019

5:30 PM Reception
6:30 PM Program

University of New Mexico
203 Cornell Dr, Albuquerque, NM 87131
(Keller Hall-in the Popejoy complex)

Sustainable Journalism: Preserving the Fourth Estate


Across the country, citizens worry about perceived news bias and want accurate, dependable media coverage to inform their personal, economic and voting decisions. New Mexico and the nation rely on a “free press” consisting of a highly qualified, fair, smart and rigorous workforce of journalists.

The public sometimes lacks faith in the press or turns to social media for quick, often less reliable information. How can New Mexico grow and sustain a powerful, instructive and trusted “Fourth Estate”? How can we support the next generation of ethical, intellectually curious journalists? What strategies might address the diminishing capacity of rural and local media?

Join New Mexico First for an exciting discussion on strengthening journalism in our Land of Enchantment.

Sustainable Journalism: Preserving the Fourth Estate


Russell Contreras is a reporter with the Associated Press in Albuquerque. Previous work included the Boston Globe and Albuquerque Journal. Specialties include multi-media storytelling and enterprise writing.


Michelle Donaldson is vice president and general manager at KOB-4 TV news. She also worked as KRQE's news director and brings television as well as radio experience from the Phoenix and Detroit markets.  

Gene Grant is the host of KNME’s public affairs program, New Mexico In Focus. A journalist and columnist, previous work includes the Albuquerque Tribune, Albuquerque Journal, and Weekly Alibi.  

Jessica Onsurez is the News Director for the USA Today network properties in southeast New Mexico: Carlsbad Current-Argus, Alamogordo Daily News and Ruidoso News. Her experience spans across education, government and data reporting.  

Sustainable Journalism: Preserving the Fourth Estate


Funding support of this important event was critical to fulfilling the important mission of New Mexico First. We would not be able to hold the event without the generous contributions from our community! We thank the following companies for their support.

Notable Newspaper

Outstanding Online Coverage Sponsors


Remarkable Radio Sponsor

Sustainable Journalism: Preserving the Fourth Estate

2019 Award Recipients

New Mexico First will recognize public officials, journalists, and civic leaders who make a positive impact on New Mexico! Awardees were nominated by New Mexicans throughout the state and were selected because they address serious problems, attempting progress or education on major issues.

Spirit of Bipartisanship

N.M. State Representative Rebecca Dow`(R)

N.M. State Senator Clemente Sanchez (D)

Spirit of Journalistic Excellence

Trip Jennings, Executive Director, New Mexico In Depth

Spirit of Civic Leadership

Katherine Freeman, President & CEO, United Way of Santa Fe County

Combined Staff of KOB-TV 4

Lifetime Achievement

United States Senator Tom Udall (D)

The awardees were chosen by a bipartisan committee including Terri Nikole Baca, Heather Balas, Rob Black, John Garcia, Ricardo Gonzales, Clint Harden, and chair, Cynthia Nava.


  • Spirit of Bipartisanship Awards honors public officials who put good policy above partisan politics.
  • Spirit of Civic Leadership Awards honors community and business leaders who make a difference through effective collaboration across party or stakeholder lines.
  • Spirit of Journalistic Excellence Awards honors media professionals who advance fair in-depth coverage of policy issues.
  • Lifetime Achievement Award honors people in any category who have advanced sound, collaborative practices throughout their careers.


Tickets are $30. The ticket price includes hors d'oeuvres, wine or non-alcohol beverages and the program. Ticket will sell fast and they are limited.

If you encounter registration problems, please email us at This mailbox is monitored regularly.

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