Why I want to be a reporter

by Luis Rios | June 4, 2021
4 min read

Luis Rios at his desk
Rios, at his desk, has enjoyed writing since he was a kid. Photograph by Arcelia Guillermo-Rios

My name is Luis Miguel Rios Jr., and I am a senior at New Mexico State University, majoring in journalism. This summer, I am working as an intern for the Sierra County Sun to further my skills and reporting experiences. Following the example of my hard-working family, I have fought tooth and nail to get this far.

I was born in Las Cruces, New Mexico, in the year 2000 and raised in El Paso, Texas. I am a second-generation Mexican American on my mother’s side and first on my father’s side. My parents have always been incredibly industrious, and I always do my best to emulate them with anything I’m involved in.

Even as a young kid, I loved to write. I remember writing stories based on what I read, like superhero comics or horror stories by Stephen King and Edgar Allen Poe. Writing remains a comforting pastime. After having a busy day at school or work, nothing helps me more than just sitting down and writing a story that has occurred to me. It’s provided me a way to express myself, while allowing me to calm my mind.

I was first introduced to journalism during my senior year at Franklin High School, when I joined the Newspaper Club. The day I walked into the club supervisor’s classroom to ask about joining, she immediately gave me an assignment. I was to go to the campus’s main library and interview students taking an after-school tutoring program and the teachers monitoring it.

I remember feeling extremely anxious since I wasn’t a social person. Going up to people and asking questions made me put myself out there and that was something I did not do. After I talked with everyone, I had a feeling of accomplishment because I got the answers I needed to formulate a story. Even today, I have to continually push myself to be more confident about approaching people to be interviewed.

The Newspaper Club teacher gave me no instructions on how my first article should be written. Getting the draft back riddled with red ink was humbling. I realized that newspaper reporting was different from creative writing. That realization didn’t intimate me, but rather stirred my curiosity and drive to do better. I wanted to learn more and master this form of writing, while also incorporating my own style.

At college, I double-majored in education and journalism until my sophomore year. I was struggling to decide what I wanted to do with my life. The more I learned about careers in education, the less interested I became.

Hearing in journalism classes that I needed prior experience if I wanted to get a reporting job after graduation, I panicked. But not for long. I screwed up my courage and walked into the office of The Round Up, NMSU’s student-run independent online news publication, and asked for work. Although it was about two months into the first semester of my sophomore year, by a stroke of luck they still had an unfilled staff writer position. I’ve been reporting for The Round Up ever since, and last year I was promoted to political writer.

It has been such an educational experience—technically, ethically and personally. Reporting, writing and turning in articles every week has taught me the reporting basics of who, what, when, where and why, as well as the Associated Press-style of news writing. It also helped me determine what I want to do with my life and gain an appreciation for how vital journalism is.

Reporters have the responsibility to ensure what they write is factual because their articles inform and affect the public. Reporters should understand that the topics they cover can be sensitive and should be handled with the upmost care and empathy. Transparency about the sources of information used in a story is essential to maintaining the readers’ trust. Citizens will use this information to make decisions relating to their lives, community and government, so a reporter must be accurate, fair and credible. Understanding this, I do more than my best to uphold these principles.

I look to do the same as I work for the Sun and continue working for The Round Up when the fall semester begins at NMSU. I’ve enjoyed the journey and feel hopeful that it is only just beginning.

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“Riverwalk” Presentation/Input Session

Truth or Consequence's riverfront

Thursday, June 24, from 5:30 to 7 p.m.
City Commission Chambers
405 W. Third Street, Truth or Consequences

This is the first opportunity for the public to be briefed and comment on on the “Riverwalk” Economic Feasibility Study, commissioned two summers ago from Wilson & Company, civil engineers, by the City of Truth or Consequences. Not to be confused with the community-led “Turtleback Trails” planning effort, which is focused exclusively on improving recreational access and amenities along the riverfront, the Riverwalk study aims to identify possible opportunities for commercial real estate development at Rotary Park, Ralph Edwards Park and a proposed “recreational hub” at the existing Highway 51 tube and paddle launch.

To prepare to provide thoughtful comment, you may view a first draft of a “concept map” of the three proposed development zones, obtained by the Sun via an Inspection of Public Records Act request, and learn more about both the Wilson & Company study and the Turtleback Trails project in the Sun’s indepth report on both planning efforts, “Healthier and Wealthier: The “Turtleback Trails” Vision of Green Riverfront Development.



Free T’ai Ch’i Chih classes in June

t'ai ch'i graphic

Tuesdays and Thursdays at 8 a.m. sharp
Park next to municipal pool, Truth or Consequences

T’ai Ch’i Chih is a gentle, meditative movement. Classes of 35 to 40 minutes will improve body balance and quiet the mind. Each session will cover the opening moves, plus six to eight moves of the method (for 20 to 21 moves in total).

Volunteer class leader Carol Borsello has Medical Qigong Level II certification and 25 years of natural healing studies, including massage. Although she is not certified to teach TCC, she is eager to share her healthy hobby with others.

“Come try it out,” Borsello says. “Reinforce good balance and raise your energy level a notch or two!”

Tondo Rotondo: The Circle Show

Nolan Winkler's painting "World Without End, Amen"

June 12–August 15
Rio Bravo Fine Art Gallery, 110 N. Broadway
Truth or Consequences

Tondo (plural “tondi” or “tondos”) is a Renaissance term for a circular work of art. This exhibition features artists represented by Rio Bravo Fine Art, in conjunction with other guest artists from New Mexico and Puerto Rico, all of whom have created a variety of imaginative art using the circle as their starting point. There are paintings on circular canvases, sculptures that take the circle into the three-dimensional realm and photographs with a circular perspective. Illustrated here is Nolan Winkler’s “World Without End, Amen,” diameter 20 inches, one of the paintings in the exhibit.

The exhibition’s opening reception will take place on June 12, during Second Saturday Art Hop, from 6 to 9 p.m. Regular viewing hours are Wednesday through Saturday, from noon to 5 p.m.




Foundation for Open Government determines T or C's fees to deliver requested electronic documents not allowed under state law

Truth or Consequences has recently begun to charge a fee of 25 cents per page to deliver electronic records requested under the Inspection of Public Records Act. FOG responded to a citizen request to determine the fee’s validity.

Reader Ron Fenn of Truth or Consequences commented: Thank you for informing on this important “right of the people” to know how our government is acting and spending our money.  Mr. Swingle needs to look at cutting costs (personnel) not penalizing residents to reduce the decades old budget deficits.

T or C still mum about problems with city’s water wells, despite only two of eight working properly

A legal ad in the Sierra County Sentinel’s May 21 edition was the first public notice and acknowledgment that two more wells in the city’s eight-well field are in trouble. Four others are offline, raising questions about the city’s water delivery capacity and the water department’s transparency about the health of the well field.

Reader William West of Truth or Consequences commented: If Wells 6 and 7 are leaking “liquid” or water with oil and metal filings, it seems possible, if not likely, we are drinking the same. If a property with a well is sold, the condition of the well water is part of the seller’s disclosure to the buyer. If T or C water is suspect, either because recent consumer confidence reports were not made public or there are capacity or quality problems with the water the city provides, should these concerns be a part of all property disclosures for sales in the city going forward?

It seems to me that fixing basic needs such as clean water, reliable electrical supply, effective stormwater handling and a transparent and aware city council should come before any consideration of “putting lipstick on a pig”-type projects such as the “Riverwalk.”


Wildlife trail or commercial development for Rotary Park?

Please, let us come together to prevent one more desecration. Please let us create, instead, a preserve for wildlife with access for people to the Rio Grande that will stand into the future to preserve the precious, irreplaceable quality of life that we are able to enjoy here.

Reader Patty Kearney of Truth or Consequences commented: Residing in the neighborhood between downtown and Rotary Park, I would not like to see commercial development at Rotary Park. There would be traffic in our residential streets. And the run-off from pavement and/or construction into the river seems environmentally unsound. I have no idea what sort of commercial development is proposed, but I can’t imagine it getting past an environmental impact study—which there ought to be, of course, for anything that goes in that location. I agree with Dr. Spruce. Wetlands restoration and a hiking trail. Investment in projects that make this town more its true self, not something it isn’t, will help us thrive

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