KUNM

SFR

Mark Woodward for SFR

Around the country we’ve seen tensions escalate between elected officials and journalists. Here in New Mexico, the story is the same. And four years ago, the Santa Fe Reporter sued Gov. Susana Martinez, saying her office violated the state’s Constitution when it shut out the paper for covering her administration’s use of private email for public business.

Mark Woodward

The Santa Fe Reporter filed a lawsuit against Governor Susana Martinez alleging her staff blacklisted the paper after critical coverage. Four years later, a judge has issued a decision in that case, saying the paper’s free expression rights were not violated but that the Governor’s Office did break the state’s open records law. 

Mark Woodward

When she was running for office, Susana Martinez campaigned on open government and promises of transparency. But journalists here say her administration routinely blocks access to state experts and employees, and won’t respond to questions from news organizations that have published critical stories. According to a lawsuit filed by the Santa Fe Reporter against the governor, that kind of blacklisting is discrimination and censorship.

Mark Woodward

Testimony ended today in the three-day trial of SFR v. Gov. Susana Martinez with Mark Zusman, who co-owns the newspaper and two other weeklies, saying all three prioritize the watchdog function of journalism. 

Mark Woodward / with permission

The SFR v. Gov. Susana Martinez trial began today in state District Court with the governor’s high-powered, contract defense lawyer attacking the credibility of the journalists who filed the lawsuit, suggesting they were not precise, not knowledgable, not prepared and not invested in the profession.