What They're Saying


Here is a selection of articles and editorials about Searchlight New Mexico’s work, as well as links to appearances by our journalists in other media.

A pattern of failures

Searchlight New Mexico, and reporter Ed Williams, were featured on The Best of Nonprofit News 2018, a collection of the best nonprofit news stories from the Institute for Nonprofit News, for the investigation A pattern of failures.

“A four-month investigation by Searchlight New Mexico uncovered a pattern of abuses within New Mexico’s treatment foster care system — a branch run by nonprofit and for-profit companies to serve the most traumatized children in state custody. The reporting found at least 28 specific violations of oversight rules and led to a state investigation.”

Crossing Borders

Searchlight reporters Lauren Villagran and Ed Williams appeared on 860 Radio Noticias in Ciudad Juárez in August 2018 to talk about our upcoming series of in-depth reports on how families are split by the U.S.-Mexico border. We’re partnering with the Spanish-language MEGA Radio network, which broadcasts to hundreds of thousands of listeners in the Paso del Norte region, including Juárez, El Paso and communities in southern New Mexico.

Leveraging the mobile engagement technology of GroundSource and other digital platforms, Villagran and Williams will nurture a community dialogue that will help us uncover stories that matter to border communities in ways no other local or national media outlet has done.

You can watch clips of their livestreamed discussion here and here and here.


In September 2018, Villagran and Williams appeared again on 860 Radio Noticias with host Ricardo Meza to discuss accusations of sexual assault by CPB agents.

In a previous appearance on the program, a listener from Juarez called in to the show to share a story about her daughter being sexually harassed by U.S. border agents as she crossed the bridge to El Paso to go to school. Villagran and Williams found several other similar instances that had been documented in legal cases, and are currently developing this story in collaboration with 860 Radio Noticias listeners.

Watch a clip from their appearance here.

New(s) Applications

Sara Catania of GroundSource discusses Searchlight’s use of innovative digital technology in a larger piece about novel ways newsrooms are building bridges to and between sources. Reporter Ed Williams talks about using GroundSource to investigate New Mexico’s foster care system.

“The number of kids in foster care is at an all time high right now. How can we remove that isolation and give the kids a way to find and talk to each other and have a safe communal space online?” Williams said.

“GroundSource is a great way to create initial conversations and identify these young people.”

You can read the full article here.

Building Partnerships

Searchlight New Mexico’s Susan Boe is quoted in a Columbia Journalism Review article by David Westphal about how digital-native nonprofit newsrooms are increasingly entering into financial and editorial partnerships with legacy, for-profit media companies.

“If we can help the sustainability of local newspapers, well, that’s our hope,” [Boe said].  The idea of supporting the local newspaper was a core principle when Searchlight New Mexico was co-founded by Ray Rivera, then editor of the Santa Fe New Mexican.

You can read the full article here.

A Focus on Childhood Trauma

Radio Cafe on the Santa Fe New Mexican‘s Mary-Charlotte Domandi  hosted Susan Boe, Sara Solovitch and Amy Linn of Searchlight New Mexico for an in-depth conversation about the effects of childhood trauma on our state’s children.

Listen to the program here.

Newspapers Partner on Raising New Mexico Launch

More than a dozen newspapers and independent websites ran some or all of the first release in Raising New Mexico, our yearlong series examining the well-being of our state’s children. They included the Albuquerque Journal, the Santa Fe New Mexican, the Las Cruces Sun-News, the Farmington Daily Times and the Deming Headlight.

Tools to Empower the Public

The Santa Fe New Mexican praised Searchlight New Mexico’s Your Data portal in a Nov. 20 lead editorial, noting our efforts to “make public information better available to the public — for free.”

Today, many news organizations lack the resources to sue over access to public records; with the work of Searchlight, those records will be gathered and made available through a permanent digital record. This is important. No matter who is governor or mayor, these archives will be available to the people who want or need the information.

You can read the full editorial here.

Nonprofit Investigative News

The Columbia Journalism Review, in a Dec. 8 feature article, singled out Searchlight New Mexico as one of a new group of financially strong local- and state-level independent investigative reporting sites.

Several aspects of investigative nonprofits’ early success are hopeful indicators about this sector’s future. One is that they’ve been able to thrive in small states like Iowa, New Hampshire, and Maine, as well as in large states. Three of the 10 largest investigative operations are in Oklahoma and New Mexico.

You can read the full article here.

Our Staff and the Media

Reporter Lauren Villagran discussed Searchlight New Mexico’s upcoming series on the well-being of New Mexico’s children during an interview on KRWG-TV’s In Focus.

Watch the video here.

Data editor John R. Roby spoke about Searchlight New Mexico’s Your Data portal with the Rio Grande Foundation‘s Paul Gessing on the foundation’s Dec. 2 Tipping Point radio program. You can listen to the full interview here