WHOA Makes the Paper

October 14th, 2010 · No Comments · Uncategorized

By Tracy Dingmann

I wrote last week about the Journal’s apparent refusal to give any space to arguments from the Wild Horse Observers Association regarding Gov. Bill Richardson’s plan to allocate $2.8 million in stimulus money for a wild horse sanctuary at Cerrillos State Park.

I noted that the Journal had published a number of editorials, columns and news stories, all expressing tactic disapproval of the proposal.

Yesterday, Oct. 13, the paper printed a guest opinion column from WHOA president Patience O’Dowd titled, “State Wild Horse Sanctuary Will Boost Jobs, Tourism.” In it, O’Dowd expressed her opinion about the validity of the sanctuary and provided a few facts that all the previous Journal stories had left out.

I read O’Dowd’s piece in the paper, but I also saw it on the WHOA site, where it ran with this notation:

“Opinion column by Patience O’Dowd, President of WHOA, as printed in the Albuquerque Journal, 10/13/10 (after a week of WHOA prodding and urging the Journal editors).”

A Slew of Negative Articles

A little background: In a Sept. 25 post on Daily Kos with the unambiguous headline “Albuquerque Journal – Against the American Wild Horse,” the group had claimed the Journal ignored attempts by WHOA to contact the paper and provide information that countered the negative slant apparent in all of the articles, editorials and columns.

So I contacted O’Dowd yesterday to get her thoughts on the Journal finally printing something from WHOA – and to find out what she had to do to get the piece in the paper.

An Opinion Piece From WHOA

“My reaction is that I was very excited,” O’Dowd said Wednesday. “I thought, finally people who read the Journal would get the other side and hear the truth about jobs in New Mexico. Denying the sanctuary is denying tourism – and that’s our New Mexico’s number one private sector employer.”

As far as what she had to do to get the paper to finally run the piece, O’Dowd said she had called and emailed opinion/news UpFront investigative reporter/columnist Thom Cole and vainly tried to get him to include some of her points in his many stories about the sanctuary.

Long story short, she said she finally spoke with Cole, but never saw any of her viewpoints or facts reflected in his stories/opinion pieces.

She said she and her husband, Reggie Nepomuceno, continued to contact the paper after every negative article, to no avail.

Two Steps Forward – And One Back

Finally, O’Dowd said, she got ahold of editorial page editor Dan Herrera, and the two “hotly debated” the wild horse issue for about 20 minutes over the phone, she said. Herrera agreed to look at any opinion piece she might send and consider it for publication.

That was last week. O’Dowd said she sent something right in, and it got into the paper on Wednesday.

Which is great, O’Dowd said – except for one thing.

The day the Journal ran her piece, it ran another Thom Cole “slam” of the sanctuary on the front page.

“We predicted that, my husband and I,” said O’Dowd.

Tags: ············

No Comments so far ↓

There are no comments yet...Kick things off by filling out the form below.

Leave a Comment