By Denise Tessier
For the second time in as many days, this morning’s Albuquerque Journal carried a front-page story that had been covered first by other New Mexico media.
In “DA Fears for her safety after charging APD officers,” the Journal directly quoted District Attorney Kari Brandenburg’s comments that had been published in last week’s ABQ Free Press:
I fear for my safety because other Albuquerque Police Department officers have told me that I should. I don’t think they’re going to kill me, but I have been told to fear for my safety.
The previous day, the Journal reported on plans for construction of a 32-acre “interim” commercial nuclear waste storage site for southeastern New Mexico, five days after the Santa Fe New Mexican advanced the story (the subject of yesterday’s ABQJournalWatch post.)
The district attorney’s comments, made during what ABQ Free Press reporter Dennis Domrzalski had called a “wide-ranging interview,” were important enough to warrant a story and follow-up by other media, including the Journal. And the Journal noted in its story that Brandenburg has declined to talk to anyone else:
Brandenburg, through a spokeswoman, declined to discuss the issue with the Journal and has not done interviews with local television stations on the subject.
This is not to chide the Journal (again) for calling itself “New Mexico’s Leading News Source”. Nor is it to remake the point that “scooping” the competition – so important decades ago, when local TV was a rival rather than a partner and the daily Albuquerque Tribune was robust – is not so important to the Journal these days.
In fact, the Journal story about Brandenburg’s comments contained new information: that the U.S. Attorney’s Office was ready to make a referral to the FBI to investigate any threats, but Brandenburg told them not to pursue the matter, and that Albuquerque Police Department officials first learned about the DA’s fears from the ABQ Free Press interview; it received no request from the DA’s office to investigate.
What is noteworthy here is that ABQ Free Press has “made the news” in this way.