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KUNM welcomes local news fellow Jeanette DeDios

Jeanette DeDios is one of five New Mexico Local News Fund fellows. She's a recent graduate of the University of New Mexico and will be working at KUNM News and New Mexico PBS through the fellowship program.
Courtesy Jeanette DeDios
Jeanette DeDios is one of five New Mexico Local News Fund fellows. She's a recent graduate of the University of New Mexico and will be working at KUNM News and New Mexico PBS through the fellowship program.

You may have noticed a new voice on your radio this month. KUNM is excited to welcome Jeanette DeDios to the team. She’s from the Jicarilla Apache and Diné Nations but grew up in Albuquerque. DeDios is one of five recent New Mexico graduates awarded a Local News Fellowship.

JEANETTE DEDIOS: So, the fellowship is a nine-month program where we're placed in a local newsroom from around New Mexico. This nine months, it really gives us a time to gain hands-on experience and learn from mentors.

KUNM: And who runs the fellowship?

DEDIOS: The Local News Fund. Before we're actually in our newsrooms, they have sort of like a boot camp. So, it's week where they teach us sort of like the basics of journalism and reporting. And we get to talk to current journalists, where they're able to talk about their career and how they got there. So, it's really a great program that teaches us sort of a segue into our careers.

KUNM: Very cool. And now, the fellowship, you said, is for recent graduates. What did you study? What did you recently graduate in? And from where did you graduate?

DEDIOS: Yeah. So I graduated from UNM this past semester in the spring. And I double majored, actually, in Multimedia Journalism and English. And formerly, I got a degree in Media Arts.

KUNM: This position you have here at KUNM, it's not your first time working in a newsroom. Is that right?

DEDIOS: No, actually. So, I was interning for New Mexico PBS beforehand. And that was a time where I was able to sort of learn how to do film in a TV setting. You know, because TV and film are very different from each other. Before then, I worked for the Daily Lobo and the New Mexico News Port.

KUNM: The Daily Lobo is UNM's student newspaper. And what is the News Port?

DEDIOS: The New Mexican News Port is primarily for journalism classes. You know, if you're taking a journalism class, then we sort of filter your stories that you're working on through there.

KUNM: You were at the News Port during the local elections last November, what was that like?

DEDIOS: Initially, I wasn't too interested in politics until I was given a story about bonds. Thinking, 'okay, great... bonds.' It, you know, it's not too exciting. So, I figured I might as well learn as much as I can, and try to make it so that the everyday person understands what's happening and how their taxpayer money is being spent. Afterwards, I had a friend reach out to me and say, 'hey, I read your piece. And it really helped me when I was voting.' You know, this was one of the times where I felt the importance of reporting, no matter how stale a piece may be.

KUNM: No doubt. And so, you have a lot of journalism experience. But you also have this film background that you mentioned. What do you see as related between those two mediums?

DEDIOS: It really comes down to storytelling. For me, one of the most important aspects when creating my senior film project this past year was presenting a community issue and leaving an impact on my audience.

KUNM: And what was the community issue that you decided to highlight?

DEDIOS: I'm Native American, and something that was really important to me was raising awareness for the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women movement. This has been a common issue for years, but we see hundreds of women going missing each year and no one's doing anything about it.

KUNM: What was the final product that you created?

DEDIOS: So, my film project was called Skinwalker. And what I wanted to do was bring an important topic at hand and put a cinematic lens on it. So, I merged this important aspect with a horror aspect by adding a folklore creature known as a skinwalker. And I did this because I grew up loving horror. I really wanted to create a slasher film. So, I wanted to both inform and scare the crap out of people.

KUNM: Did you think you were successful in that?

DEDIOS: I think so. I had a few jump scares. And, when we premiered, there was a lot of audiences, you know, jumping back. So, I was really proud of that.

KUNM: And now, you're working with us here at KUNM. But you're also working with our media partners over at New Mexico PBS. Why did you want your fellowship to be in broadcast media?

DEDIOS: I spent most of my journalism career working in print media, which is a great medium, but I wanted to use my skills of filmmaking and editing for a new platform. I mean, I'm always open to learning new ways of presenting news, and I felt this was a great opportunity to sort of express that. I mean, I feel like a Swiss Army Knife, where I'm able to pull out different skills at any given time.

Nash Jones (they/them) is a general assignment reporter in the KUNM newsroom and the local host of NPR's All Things Considered (weekdays on KUNM, 5-7 p.m. MT). You can reach them at nashjones@kunm.org or on Twitter @nashjonesradio.