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Santa Fe, NM 87501

Searchlight New Mexico is a non-partisan, nonprofit news organization dedicated to investigative reporting and innovative data journalism.

In a landscape of shrinking media resources, our mission is to focus high-impact journalism on topics of local, regional and national interest in order to allow the public to see into the remote recesses of government and to expose abuses of power.

We believe great reporting empowers people to demand honest, effective public policy and to seek appropriate remedies.

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Searchligt New Mexico Magazine

© 2019 Searchlight New Mexico.  |  All rights reserved. For republishing terms, see Guidelines. 

Images by Don Usner


In Memoriam: Rob Dean 1954-2020 

January 13, 2020 


Rob Dean was an ardent journalist and a gentleman, in a business that doesn’t always favor gentlemen. His job title at Searchlight New Mexico was executive director, but in truth he was our captain. 


When he died suddenly on Jan. 5, our world shifted. 


Rob was a big bear of a man who radiated instant warmth, putting people at ease and making them feel recognized. To use an old-fashioned Yiddish phrase, he was haimish: unpretentious, homey, welcoming. He genuinely cared about other people and they knew it; he was the guy you actually hoped to run into at the water cooler. Me, I was the lucky one who got to work at his side.


Rob was, and I speak for all of us (including myself, his peer in terms of age) a father figure, someone whose judgment was routinely solicited and whose praise was dearly treasured. We unconsciously sought his approval, hoping to elicit one of his “well done” notes. Those notes were keepers. They could be flowery in an old-fashioned way, but one never doubted their sincerity.

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Recent stories from Searchlight

December 31, 2019  |  By Sara Solovitch, Images by Don J. Usner

Executive Director Sara Solovitch and Photographer Don Usner sat down to talk about the best photos from Searchlight New Mexico. The images selected best captured the work that we do.  Here's what they chose. 

OCTOBER 15, 2019  |  By Ike Swetlitz

Jamari Nelson's mother pulled him out of his first-grade class at a public school in Albuquerque after he was screened in a "threat-assessment." Nelson, who is diagnosed with autism, is one of many children in special education swept up into a system originally intended to identify those who might commit mass-violence. 

AUGUST 27, 2019  |  By April Reese

Multiple studies support the notion that exposure to nature can be beneficial for the mental and physical well being of youth. The Outdoor Equity Fund - first of its kind in the nation - aims to introduce troubled New Mexico youth to the great outdoors by funding outings through programs like Families and Youth Incorporated. 

AUGUST 20, 2019  |  By Nick Pachelli

A chill in the air 

The problem of teen suicide

In 2017, Aurra Gardner was among 46 New Mexican youths between 10 and 19 who ended their own lives, and one of 16 who did so with a firearm. New Mexico has the fifth highest youth suicide rate in the country — approximately 16 per 100,000 residents, double the national average.

JUNE 11, 2019  |  By Ed Williams

In New Mexico, reports of child abuse or neglect are routinely referred to law enforcement, regardless of whether CYFD believes the allegation to be true or false.

With no system in place to track and prosecute malicious calls, those who make such reports rarely face any consequence. But their action comes with a price.

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The family of Rob Dean has asked that donations in his honor be made to Searchlight.