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In New Mexico News Port’s current project, “Curious New Mexico,” journalists take questions from the public and pursue the answers as stories in collaboration with the public.

An experimental student news lab at the University of New Mexico has been granted $50,000 by the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation. The money allows the New Mexico News Port to continue growing its “innovation and collaboration” model in the 2015-2016 academic year.

Michael V. Marcotte, the lab’s founder and faculty supervisor in Communication & Journalism, said, “We’re thrilled. This is a significant gift that recognizes the progress the News Port is making. With this funding, we can proceed with a second year of developing our platform, our role in the journalism curriculum and our media partnerships.”

The New Mexico News Port is a publishing platform to help train student journalists in professional reporting and writing, ethics and advanced multimedia production. It also serves as a hub for collaboration between UNM Communication & Journalism and interested media partners, which have included KUNM-FM, NMPBS, The Daily Lobo and New Mexico In Depth.

Current coverage on the News Port is a public engagement project called Curious New Mexico, in which students seek to answer questions raised by New Mexicans. Last fall, the News Port championed in-depth reporting on the 2014 New Mexico general election. The News Port is also part of a media partnership, “People, Power & Democracy,” covering the 2015 New Mexico legislature.

“Our next area of coverage is now open for discussion,” said Kate Nash, News Port editor and adjunct faculty. “We’re excited to be able move forward and think creatively about where to aim next.”

Karen Foss, chair, UNM Communication & Journalism, said, “Congratulations to the News Port team and all the project partners. Special thanks to the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation and our friends at the UNM Foundation who are helping to make the News Port a sustainable effort.”

The Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation, based in Oklahoma City, was founded by Edith Kinney Gaylord. Its mission is “to invest in the future of journalism by building the ethics, skills and opportunities needed to advance principled, probing news and information.“

The New Mexico News Port project was started in 2014 and grew out of an initial grant of $35,000 from the Online News Association’s “Challenge Fund for Innovation in Journalism Education.” Support for the challenge fund was provided by Excellence and Ethics in Journalism Foundation, the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Democracy Fund and the Rita Allen Foundation