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Monday, April 18, 2005

Blogging With Big Bill & The Class Of 05'; Top Students Ask The Tough Questions: We Answer, Plus: Legendary Lobbyist Pancho Padilla Is Called By Death 

UNM
The media revolution may or may not be televised but it will be blogged. At a discussion at Big Bill's UNM Poly Sci class Friday, top students quizzed a panel of media mavens with questions that showed they are not impressed with big media, are skeptical of what they read everywhere and give certain blogs as much credibility as other media. I was peppered with questions that kept me on my toes so I thought I would share my answers with you, my loyal readers, to give you a long overdue primer on what guides us around here.

HOW DO YOU REGULATE WHAT YOU BLOG?

I was trained as a journalist and describe myself as a hybrid--a reporter/blogger. I am not here to talk about personal lives, personality disorders, call people names, create rancor or attempt to kick them when they are down. I am here to cover the process and the game that we all love and know as "La Politica." I do use anonymous sourcing but I strive for a 99% accuracy rate.

A newspaper reporter, in most instances, needs sources to give their names. We need that kind of reporting. On a story of significant consequence, dealing with public policy etc., I will invoke the named source rule for my blog. But if it has to do with a politician seeking a office or most of the other stuff we specialize in, I will go with my very reliable sources, most of who have been in politics for decades and, if you are a regular around here, you know that they rarely get it wrong. When they and I do, the email hits. That's the beauty of the Web.

WHAT ABOUT YOUR CONFLICTS-OF-INTEREST?


It's a great question. I blog as a sideline because, like you, I am fascinated by politics. My main biz is public relations and consulting. I disclose that at the top of the blog. I seldom blog about an issue or cause that I am working on because often it is not connected to politics, but if I do I disclose my interest. Again, those who know me are aware that over the years I have consulted for Republican, Democratic and Green candidates. What I try to bring to you is my experience, insight, and perspective, plus polticial news that is not covered in other media. This is "NM Politics with Joe Monahan," not a newspaper or TV newscast.

I believe my readers need to know when I am professionally involved in something and making comments or predictions about it so they can weigh that. But most of the time it simply will not come up. For example, I am involved in a public affairs issue dealing with casinos in southern NM. If I blogged politics related to it, I would mention my association. In the past, I have disclosed here political candidates that I have consulted with including Manuel Lujan, Martin Chavez, Roberto Mondragon, Dave Cargo and others. If you think I may be biased because of it, that's your right. Also, I am not a politician. I am not blogging to further a political career for myself or anyone else. I am a registered Independent. I vote for candidates from all parties.

WHY DO IT?

Another good question. When I started this in October of 2003 I was often asked how I was going to make money. And I said I had no idea, that I was doing it because I like to write and friends had asked me to send them my stuff. It grew from that. I received advertising and am proud to say this is one of the few blogs anywhere that generates a profit.

My bottom line is I think I have something to give and something to receive. The "give" is my knowledge of NM politics learned over three decades and the great sources that report to you through me. I'd like to think it has given some pep to the NM political community and, on occasion, made a small contribution to better public policy. The "receive" is just the joy of being involved in politics in the state we call home.

ARE YOU AWARE OF YOUR READERSHIP?

Indeed, I am. It's no small pressure on you when you have the top reporters in the region and in Washington and New York looking at your stuff, as well as top politicos everywhere, plus a general readership that is highly-informed. As the blog grew, along with the references to it in the local and national press, I realized that sometimes I can be too casusal and that a responsiblity has developed here. I am just one blogger, but I do my best to meet that responsibility. In the end, blogging is about all of us, the blogger and the reader, having fun and sharing the subject that delights us: politics. When it ceases to be that, it will be time to move on.

Thanks to the students from the class of 06' and beyond for the great questions. It was a real-eye opener. And thanks to the participants: Larry Ahrens of KAGM, 106.3 FM ABQ, David Miles of the ABQ Journal, Lorene Mills of NM public TV and Mark Evan, state editor of the Associated Press. Big Bill presided, letting it be known that he reads and listens to everything everyone says and writes. He then concluded the class by offering all the panelists high-paying jobs in Santa Fe. (Not really).

GOODBYE, PANCHO PADILLA

We have been talking about him a lot here lately; the most famous lobbyist in the history of the New Mexico Legislature, Frank "Pancho" Padilla. His name arose because of controversy this past Legislative session involving another lobbyist. Now word comes that Pancho passed away last week at the age of 85. "He was truly a legend," commented a current Santa Fe and Washington lobbyist. "He was a liquor inspector before he became a lobbyist for the liquor industry and made his famous, or infamous comment."

That comment, that will ring thru the ages, was: "I own the Legislature," said in the midst of a heated debate over a contemplated change in the states liquor laws. He was evicted from he lawmakers sight because of it. But Pancho never did get out of the game, still hanging in Santa Fe this session and sharing political history with friends in ABQ at the Barelas Coffee House.

Pancho Padilla, a name surely engraved in the permanent record of La Politica.

(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2005
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