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Another One Bites the Dust

Just days before Bill Richardson was elected Governor in 2002, something strange happened at the University of New Mexico:

The chairman of the University of New Mexico’s communication and journalism department said he’s not concerned that the journalism program will lose its accreditation next fall.

“I don’t think the accreditation is a major issue for the university,” said department chairman Brad Hall.

The department decided to withdraw its application for accreditation earlier this week, he said, after a campus visit from an accrediting committee.

At the time, this decision was not well received by current or former journalism students. However, it would appear that time has redeemed Dr. Brad Hall. The man is a visionary. Apparently, he saw the writing on the wall. Dr. Hall must have realized that it would be far more important for New Mexico’s future journalists to be accredited in public relations or political science.

Since New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson took office two years ago, the state’s press corps has seen an exodus of some of its most experienced journalists.

The reason? The Democrat has hired a whopping 21 reporters, editors and producers from newspapers and TV and radio stations around the state to serve in his administration. State political watchers say politicians always recruit a few reporters but describe the number defecting to the Richardson camp as unusual. “It’s more than five times the number of reporters who usually get recruited to a new administration,” says Dan Vukelich, who covered state politics for the Albuquerque Tribune for more than a decade and is now an independent television producer and writer in Albuquerque.

Now, I can imagine what you’re thinking… that’s old news. Well, apparently it’s not. According to an email Mary Lynn Roper sent me on Monday, here is the latest:

KOAT-TV reporter Nancy Laflin is leaving Action 7 News to be the Music Commissioner for Governor Richardson’s administration. We wish her well!

I imagine it can’t be long now before Governor Richardson starts bringing bloggers onto the administration’s payroll.