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Your Trust Is KUNM's Greatest Asset

Elaine Baumgartel/KUNM

In the KUNM Newsroom, we work hard every day to bring you important, impactful and meaningful news coverage. It’s really all about you.

We are thinking about what you need to know and when, and how best to get you that information. We are taking your feedback and comments and following up on your leads. We are finding great stories and bringing them to you on the radio in the way only public radio can.

KUNM was in the news this week due to an accusation of plagiarism, and our integrity was questioned. We’re disheartened. But we’ve taken this situation as an opportunity to re-examine our ethical practices.

To refresh our own thinking on journalism ethics, we took an online course as a department and hired an instructor from UNM’s Communication & Journalism Department to go over various ethical scenarios and appropriate responses.

Next, after creating a detailed and explicit ethics guide for KUNM reporters, we plan to make it public so that you will know exactly what you are getting when you tune in to listen to the news on KUNM.

That’s all in addition to the immediate response we took to allegations we received in November 2013. We reacted as any newsroom concerned about ethical behavior would. We put a hold on projects until expectations were clear. We scoured content for plagiarized material. We made corrections and added attribution where it was needed.

We can’t discuss everything we did with you, or even with other members of our staff. As a department of the University of New Mexico, KUNM abides by university policies that protect the confidentiality of employees and personnel issues.

It’s a delicate balancing act, being part of New Mexico’s flagship university. UNM requires that employee privacy is protected, and as journalists, we recognize your right to know the truth.

I have worked in the KUNM newsroom for over seven years. During that time, I have worked with a lot of really smart, determined, creative journalists. I can assure you that we are deeply committed to our responsibilities as journalists. We strive to tell stories, report with integrity and be accountable for our work.

We take journalism ethics and allegations of misconduct very seriously. Everyone in our newsroom is sorry this happened.

And we are making sure it won’t happen again.

Elaine Baumgartel was KUNM's News Director from 2013 to 2019. She was local Morning Edition host from 2007 through 2012 and she regularly hosted the station's live news and public affairs show for some years. Elaine originally came on board at KUNM as a volunteer and student employee in 2003.