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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

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Images by Don Usner

INDEPENDENT INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM

BOARD MEMBERS

William deBuys, board chair, has written nine books including The Last Unicorn: A Search for One of Earth’s Rarest Creatures (listed by the Christian Science Monitor as one of the ten best non-fiction books of 2015), A Great Aridness: Climate Change and the Future of the American West (2011), The Walk (2008), Salt Dreams (1999, which inspired the 2017 movie, The Colorado), and River of Traps (a 1991 Pulitzer finalist). In 2015 his first book, Enchantment and Exploitation (1985), was reissued in a revised and expanded 30th-anniversary edition. He was a 2008-2009 Guggenheim Fellow. His conservation work has included land acquisition, river protection, and grass banking. From 2001 to 2005, he chaired the Valles Caldera Trust, which then administered the 89,000-acre Valles Caldera National Preserve in the Jemez Mountains of New Mexico. He serves on the advisory board of the Liz Claiborne Art Ortenberg Foundation and lives and writes on a small farm in northern New Mexico that he has tended since the 1970s.

Ray Rivera, founder of Searchlight New Mexico, is managing editor of The Seattle Times, where he previously worked as a reporter and deputy managing editor over investigations. He is the former Editor of the Santa Fe New Mexican and has worked as a staff writer at The New York Times, the Washington Post, the Seattle Times and the Salt Lake Tribune. His investigative stories have included a nine-part series debunking the federal government’s investigation into Capt. James Yee, an Army Muslim chaplain at Guantanamo Bay falsely accused of espionage; the extensive use of death squads by Al Qaeda and Haqqani Network insurgents along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border; and the illegal funneling of taxpayer money to bogus non profits associated with New York city and state lawmakers. He lives in the Seattle area with his wife and three children.

Sandra Blakeslee, board vice chair, has been writing about science and medicine for The New York Times for over 45 years. Now semi-retired, she still contributes to Science Times as hard-to-resist stories come along. The author of nine books, she is currently finishing the tenth, about the role of the human microbiome in aging. She’s a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, a journalism fellow at the Santa Fe Institute, a Templeton Fellowship awardee, and co-founder of the Santa Fe Science Writing Workshop. She lives in Santa Fe.

Phill Casaus is the editor of The Santa Fe New Mexican. Earlier, he was editor of The Albuquerque Tribune and a senior editor at The Rocky Mountain News. He continues The New Mexican’s tradition of watchdog reporting. Under his leadership, the Tribune won several national awards, including first place in the National Journalism Awards for “The State of Our Children,” a 20-part series focused on New Mexico. Before joining The New Mexican in 2017, he served as executive director of the Albuquerque Public Schools Education Foundation, raising millions of dollars for fine arts, literacy and STEM programs.

Philip S. Cook is a journalist and editor who from 1987 to 1990 was director of the Media Studies Project at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C. He was a reporter for the Hartford Courant and the New York Herald Tribune and later served as a Newsweek correspondent in Washington and Rome. He was a founding editor of the Wilson Quarterly and managing editor of Issues in Science and Technology, a journal published by the National Academy of Sciences. In addition to his career as a journalist, Cook served on the staff of the Peace Corps, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and the Office of Technology Assessment.

June Lorenzo is an attorney for the Pueblo of Laguna advising the pueblo's governor and council on a wide spectrum of legal issues. Lorenzo began her legal career at the Navajo Nation Department of Justice, and then moved on to the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, analyzing legislation to determine the impact on Indian tribes. At the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, she litigated, investigated and monitored compliance with the Voting Rights Act. With the Indian Law Resource Center, Lorenzo focused on the international application of human rights law to indigenous peoples.

Carmella Padilla is a journalist, author, and editor who has published extensively, including in the Wall Street Journal, Dallas Morning News, Latina, and American Craft. A native Santa Fean, much of her work has focused on New Mexico Hispano art, history and culture, including such  books as El Rancho de las Golondrinas: Living History in New Mexico’s La Ciénega Valley; Low ‘n Slow: Lowriding in New Mexico; and The Chile Chronicles: Tales of a New Mexico Harvest. She recently co-edited A Red Like No Other: How Cochineal Colored the World, winner of the 2017 Alfred H. Barr Jr. Award for distinguished scholarship in art history, and Borderless: The Art of Luis Tapia, exploring the art and life of a noted New Mexican Chicano sculptor. She has volunteered with several northern New Mexico nonprofit arts and community organizations and is a recipient of the New Mexico Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts, the Santa Fe Mayor’s Arts Award and the New Mexico Community Foundation’s Luminaria Award.

Lisa Cacari Stone is an associate professor of health policy with the College of Population Health at the University of New Mexico.  She also is director and principal investigator of the Transdisciplinary, Equity & Engagement Center. She has 30 years of leadership in advancing health equity and implementing programs that support children, families and diverse communities. She has received special acknowledgment for her ability to build teams and encourage participation among diverse groups. Her research portfolio includes more than $20 million in grants from private and public funders. She has written many articles and policy reports, and delivered speeches nationwide. She earned a PhD from Brandeis University, completed her postdoctoral research at the Harvard T. Chan School of Public Health and served as a Congressional Health Policy Fellow with Senator Edward “Ted” Kennedy. She was a recipient of the WK Kellogg Fellowship in Health Policy and was a fellow with the Kaiser Permanente Burch Minority Leadership Development Program.

Daniel Yohalem has been an attorney for over 42 years, the last 29 of which have been in New Mexico.  He received his B.A. in 1970 from Yale University and J.D. with honors in 1973 from Columbia University Law School.  He is currently in private practice, focusing on first amendment, civil rights, open government, employment, and class action cases for plaintiffs, particularly in the areas of equal pay for women, whistleblower, discrimination, and retaliation claims.  Among other honors, he has been awarded the William S. Dixon First Amendment Freedom Award (2006) as Lawyer of the Year by the New Mexico Foundation for Open Government, of which he is a past president and long-time board member; and the Cooperating Attorney of the Year (2002) by the ACLU of New Mexico. He is a founding board member of the Santa Fe Neighborhood Law Center and New Mexico Ethics Watch and serves on the Board of the Santa Fe Community Homeless Shelter

FOUNDING BOARD MEMBERS

Scott Armstrong is an investigative journalist and executive director of the Information Trust, a former staff writer for The Washington Post and co-author with Bob Woodward of The Brethren, a narrative account of the Supreme Court. As a senior investigator for the Senate Watergate Committee, his interview of Alexander Butterfield revealed the Nixon taping system. Armstrong’s reporting on the Iran/contra affair with Bill Moyers on PBS Frontline’s "Crimes and Misdemeanors" won an Emmy and a DuPont Silver Baton. Armstrong founded the National Security Archive, a non-profit institute providing comprehensive government documentation to the public. A Yale graduate, he lives in Santa Fe with his wife, Barbara Guss, and has 5 children, 11 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren.

Susan Boe is the former executive director of the New Mexico Foundation for Open Government. She is a retired attorney and was formerly a partner at Faegre & Benson (now Faegre, Baker & Daniels), an international law firm in several locations which includes specialists in media law.  She also was general counsel for Iowa Realty, a Berkshire-Hathaway Company.  Prior to becoming an attorney, Susan worked for daily newspapers in Corpus Christi and San Antonio, Texas and was a public information officer for the University of Texas at San Antonio and The Ohio State University.  She received a B.S. degree in journalism from Iowa State University and her law degree with highest distinction from the University of Iowa.

Arturo Sandoval is founder and executive director of the 25-year-old Center of Southwest Culture, Inc.  The Center is a non-profit organization that helps develop healthy Indigenous and Latino communities through economic development initiatives and educational and cultural work. CSC works primarily in the Southwestern US and northern México and has raised more than $18 million for communities to use in building capacity and long-term sustainability.  Sandoval has been active for five decades in community-based economic development, cultural, environmental and civil rights efforts in New Mexico and across the US. He has helped start more than 100 civil rights, health, culture, education and economic development organizations.