The University of New Mexico Department of Communication and Journalism has received a $100,000 grant from the New Mexico Local News Fund for a fellowship program to place three recent graduates in local newsrooms for eight months of professional training.

The pilot project seeks to demonstrate the viability of a field-based fellowship model designed to address several critical needs in New Mexico’s local news ecosystem:

  • The need for an effective in-state school-to-career pathway for young journalists;
  • The need to reinforce journalistic capacity in New Mexico newsrooms;
  • The need for innovation in local newsrooms to cope with significant change.

“The New Mexico Local News Fund is excited to partner with UNM on this important project,” said NMLNF program coordinator Sarah Gustavus. “Local journalism is crucial for our democracy and the Local News Fund hopes this program will effectively serve both newsrooms and promising early career journalists.”

The program is supervised by UNM Professor of Practice in Journalism Michael Marcotte.

“Our diverse graduates bring fresh energy and skills,” Marcotte said. “The more we can keep them here in New Mexico, the more our newsrooms and our citizens benefit.”

Under the program, each newsroom is provided $24,000 to employ the fellows. The remainder of the grant covers administrative costs and supports UNM Communication and Journalism professional preparation programs, such as internships and the New Mexico News Port publication lab.

The selected fellows and their assigned newsrooms are:

Anthony Jackson: The Albuquerque Journal

Anthony Jackson

Jackson is a visual and data journalist who graduated from UNM in 2019. He was born and raised in Albuquerque. As a Local News Fellow, he said he hopes to give back by sharing stories from communities in all corners of the state.

"Everyday is a different experience while I've been working at the Journal," he said. "This fellowship sharpens the skills I need so I can get where I want to be."

Brianna Wilson: KOB-TV

Brianna Wilson

Wilson is a UNM graduate with a bachelor's degree in multimedia journalism. She recently served as a speech writer and public affairs representative for the U.S. Ambassador in Portugal. She said she has been able to leverage her communications skills and love of storytelling to make an impact, both at home and overseas.

"This wonderful opportunity presented itself at just the right time," Wilson said. "Now I'm about to start training for my dream job at KOB. I'm so excited and so grateful."

Celia Raney: New Mexico In Depth

Celia Raney

Raney has been covering news for three years. Her byline can be found in the Albuquerque Journal, the Santa Fe Reporter, New Mexico Magazine, the Daily Lobo, at KUNM News and at Talk Media News in Washington, DC. She graduated from UNM in 2019 and was born and raised in Santa Fe.

"This fellowship will allow students to stay in New Mexico after they graduate - letting them further develop their skills in a state they grew into young reporters," Raney said. "It is wonderful to continue to call Albuquerque home and continue to serve the community I love."

The Local News Fund was established to address a growing crisis in local news. It has fostered research to expose challenges and promote solutions. The fund is working to build support and hopes to expand the fellowship program in 2020.