Rita Daniels


Rita Daniels is an award winning reporter and radio producer who was raised off the grid in the Wild West by a pack of hippies and Pueblo Indians. She's pretty sure these unique circumstances have something to do with her love of the oral tradition as well as her unyielding obsession when it comes to to capturing stories about the human experience. Upon graduating from Emerson College in the Media Arts, Rita began recording and producing radio stories while roaming the planet. In 2010 she was invited to join NPR's Snap Judgment Team as a founding producer. Building on her previous work with The National Radio Project, Rita is now reporting the news of New Mexico for KUNM.

Ways to Connect

Next in our Voices Behind the Vote series, we go to Texico, New Mexico, near the border with Texas.
Rita Daniels:  On a drizzly afternoon, I'm making my way into Texico, New Mexico, 16 miles east of Clovis, seeing signs for Romney/Ryan; no Obama signs out here.
On a drizzly afternoon, I met Mark and Twilla Koss
Twilla Koss:  I'm Twilla KossMark Koss:  Mark Koss

Sometimes it takes a whacky circumstance to recognize our true potential and life path. Renowned performer, writer, comic and all out Public Radio star Mike Birbiglia tells Rita Daniels about the first time he realized he was funny.  Birbiglia is performing at The Lensic on Wednesday night, September 19th, in Santa Fe.

Back To School

Aug 10, 2012

As teachers and students alike gear up to go back to school in the next few days, KUNM's Rita Daniels takes a look at an innovative math class that really seems to be working.

Back To School

Aug 10, 2012

As teachers and students alike gear up to go back to school in the next few days,

KUNM's Rita Daniels takes a look at an innovative math class that really seems to be working.

When a young filmmaker from New York came up with the idea to shadow three Navajo students out on the Rez through their senior year of high school, expectations were moderate.  But hundreds of hours of footage and editing later, a feature length documentary began to take Film Festivals by storm.  Here, both the stars and filmmaker talk about their experience. The film screened in Albuquerque July 25th, 2012.

Hundreds of Educators and Parents gathered at the States Public Education building in Santa Fe on Wednesday to submit testimony to Secretary of Education Designate Hannah Skandera regarding her proposed Teacher Evaluation System.

Rangina's family fled Afghanistan when she was a young child during the Soviet invasion, and for decades there was never any reason to return home.  But after September 11th, 2001, Rangina was overcome by a calling much bigger then herself, to go back and serve her people. 

In 2005 Gayle Lemmon headed to Afghanistan for three weeks on a writing assignment for the Financial Times.  She hoped to find a meaningful story about entrepreneurs who were really making a difference.  Contacts of contacts put her in touch with a very young woman who had started a dressmaking business that supported her entire community under the rule of the Taliban.  Lemmon was struck most with the realization of just how much work woman were actually doing inside their homes during the years when they could not go outside.

Veteran Farmer Project

Jun 20, 2012

With this week being the official launch of Summer, KUNM News took a tour of a few unique farms around New Mexico.  The first one Rita Daniels headed to was the Alvarado Urban Farm in downtown Albuquerque where she meet up with a group of Veterans who are learning how to cultivate veggies and then some. You can find out more about the project here.

This past Tuesday, governor Susana Martinez announced that the city of Hobbs, NM was the choosen location for a $1 billion scientific ghost town, that's going to be built by a private group called Pegasus Global Holdings.  It's being called the Center for Innovation, Testing and Technology or CITE.  KUNM's Rita Daniels had the chance to speak with the mayor of Hobbs, Sam Cobb, to try and shed some light on what this all means.


David Lescht, the man responsible for bringing hours upon hours of free live music to New Mexico each summer during the Santa Fe Bandstand project, died unexpectedly early Friday morning.  

Lescht was also responsible for starting the Outside In program which brought music to prisoners, hospitals and shut-ins. He believed that music helped people deal with boredom, isolation and despair and told the Santa Fe New Mexican that "I just try to bring a little light from the outside into dark place."  

Lescht was also a beloved afternoon freeform host here at KUNM and will be greatly missed.

With summer break just around the corner, it's tempting to forget all about the hot issues currently going on in New Mexico on the subject of education.  So before that final recess bell rings, KUNM's Rita Daniels takes a visit to some classrooms, and brings us this audio postcard.

Photo: Rita Daniels

Horses have been in the news in New Mexico in recent weeks.  The owner of a slaughterhouse applied for a permit to produce horse meat for human consumption and Governor Susana Martinez responded by asking the USDA to reject the application. The New York Times did an expose on the horse racing industry, citing New Mexico for some of the most grievous cases of drugging and abuse.  And a horse auction company in Los Lunas found itself under fire after an animal rights group released a video of abused horses.  

Max Klingensmith

Public media's teamed up and created the American Graduate Initiative to try and tackle the high school dropout crisis in our country.  In New Mexico, 2 out of 5 students don't finish high school.   PBS' Newshour correspondent Ray Saurez visited the Duke City this week to see why.