Marisa Demarco

Reporter

Marisa Demarco is a reporter based in Albuquerque, N.M. She's spent almost two decades in journalism, founding the New Mexico Compass, and editing and writing for the Weekly Alibi, the Albuquerque Tribune and UNM's Daily Lobo. She began a career in radio at KUNM News in late 2013 and has covered public health for much of her time at the station. During the pandemic, she is also the executive producer for Your NM Government and No More Normal, shows focused on the varied impacts of COVID-19 and community response, as well as racial and social justice.

Ways to Connect

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

For more than a year now, this show has been keeping pace with changes large and small, noting them and documenting them. It’s about looking closely and creating a record of this historic year in human history. It’s also been an unusual time for journalists themselves. Today, we’re talking about the behind-the-scenes thinking and decision-making that goes into telling stories.

Marisa Demarco / KUNM


  Let’s Talk New Mexico 6/3 at 8 am: The Rio Grande is swelling right now, but looks can be deceiving. Climate change is drying out this lifeline in the high desert. The river is a highly managed water system, so flows are supplemented and the impacts of global warming aren't always immediately visible. But climate change is taking its toll, and local managers say those miles-long dry patches we’ve been seeing could grow larger and last longer. The annual flows may drop even further, leaving thirsty cottonwood trees, parched ecosystems and dry farms.

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

  Young people in the last decades have had to study more than academics—they’ve had to learn what to do when a person shows up to your school with a gun and starts shooting. And unfortunately those types of skills could help you anywhere these days—even on Capitol Hill. As the American pandemic of gun violence grows, so do the arguments about what can be done about it. Often those arguments are about the Second Amendment, but do we have the right to bear arms ... right? Or are we arguing about it wrong? NoMoNo hits part two of our look at gun violence.

Courtesy of New Mexicans To Prevent Gun Violence

As of Friday, May 14, there have been nearly 16,000 deaths due to guns so far this year in the United States, according to data from Gun Violence Archive. Last year, the COVID-19 pandemic, protests about racial equity, and the general election dominated our attention, but that doesn’t mean that other serious matters like gun violence disappeared. Data from the archive shows that nearly 20,000 Americans died by guns last year—the highest total number of deaths in at least the last two decades. The problem didn’t go away. Our attention did. In episode 29 we take a look at the problem of gun violence in America, where we stand and what can be done about it.

Courtesy of Tony McAleer

  Humans are peculiar. We are capable thoughts, feelings, and expressions ranging from unconditional love to insidious hate. It begs the question: where do we learn those concepts? And then: How do we unlearn them? Here is a good one: How does someone who has been a member of a group that professes hatred of other humans leave that community and ideology behind? What are the steps? What’s the process like? Who are the people that can help them?

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

 In the race for herd immunity, New Mexico is being heralded around the country as an unlikely frontrunner. Over half of the state’s population has gotten at least one dose of vaccine. But when it comes to some demographics hit hardest by the virus, vaccination rates are falling short. The numbers continue to highlight what the pandemic put into sharp relief—structural racism interfering with public health efforts.

Jurassic Blueberries via CC

After many attempts over what seems like forever, New Mexico has finally passed a law making recreational cannabis use legal for adults. But the rollout is not as simple as lighting a match as special considerations for how this new law will impact New Mexicans must be addressed. It raises a lot of questions: What happens to people with prior cannabis convictions? Who will have access to the emerging industry? How will equity be enacted? And how will this affect you if you don’t have citizenship status?

The Seafarer via Flickr CC

The illness of racism was here long before Covid-19, but the pandemic brought it out into a brighter focus. It is too blinding not to see it. It is too loud to be silent in its presence. So we are going to make some noise of our own—the kind of noise you can dance to. On Episode 26, we highlight the dialogues we’ve had over the past year with anti-racist educators and leaders. As the country loops back through a national call to self-destruct on Sunday, April 11, NoMoNo spins remixes of conversations and wall-to-wall beats.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers


CARES Act money was distributed last year to keep businesses open during the pandemic, to help people pay rent, and even to help local governments stay afloat. But for the country’s indiginous tribes, who are among the most vulnerable, getting those dollars took extra work and more time. KUNM’s Khalil Ekulona recently asked Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez what it took to get their stimulus and disaster relief payments and how they’re using the money to help people on the reservation. 

Vanessa Bowen

2020 was a long year. We don't have to tell you. It was a constant barrage of reality-shaping events, and it hasn’t stopped. What is different for us now that we are on the verge of—maybe, knock on wood—coming out of the pandemic? How are the leaders we elected approaching their duties now? How are activists applying what they’ve learned to push their causes forward? How are the people who experienced hardship pre-pandemic adapting to a possible post-pandemic life? No More Normal reflects on last year while keeping our focus on the future.

bug carlson


 Twelve months ago, team NoMoNo was busy having conversations about how we were going to make a show that covered the response to a global pandemic. What did we want to talk about? What was not being talked about? What was the vital info? What were the nuances? What life-and-death decisions were being made by public officials? Who needed help—and where is the help? We’ve worked hard over the last year to provide those answers. 

Blvck Astroknot

Where do you get your news? Rather, where do you get your stories? Even more: how do stories shape us? And who are the people crafting these stories—what’s their story? For our second episode on Black history, we are looking into storytelling and the people who craft the narrative, offering us insights we may have passed by. 

When host Khalil Ekulona thinks about his purpose in life, he often thinks of his family. Family is where we get our first lessons and introduction to the world. On Episode 22, Khalil enters conversations with his family about the meaning and purpose of familial love, support, and collective dedication to passing those lessons along.

"boombox" by A.rex is licensed under CC BY 2.0

It's the return of our Old-School Shoutout Show on Episode 21. The first one, we did back in May. Now, as the pandemic wears on, we wanted to hear from callers: Who do you love? Who do you miss? Who do you want to celebrate or honor? We did the episode live this year. 

Office of Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham

About 100,000 New Mexicans are receiving unemployment benefits right now. Many of those people lost their jobs due to the pandemic, and some of those jobs may not come back. But there are employment areas that are growing. New Mexico’s Department of Workforce Solutions Secretary Bill McCamley told KUNM’s Khalil Ekulona about these growing areas, and said now is the time to plan for what work will look like in the future.

Eva Avenue


We get into what money really is. We take a dive into a bill that looks to create a public bank. We talk with a member of a financial innovation group about how universal basic income has helped businesses during the pandemic. We grapple with student loans. We hear the journey of how difficult it is to start a business as a pandemic is raging. And we have a talk with the secretary of workforce solutions about where the jobs are going to be.

Khalil Ekulona/Zoom

 

If you have listened to the show for a while, a few months back, you may have heard an interview we had with Stephen Heintz, a co-chair of the Commission on the Practice of Democratic Citizenship. The commission is charged with discovering ways to activate participation of U.S. citizens in democratic civil life. So that's what they did. 

Scott Greene

  

Our democracy is being tested right now. It is not the first time. But it feels like a tipping point, and our very lives are in the balance. Can we find truth? Will we come to a place of peace? Can we resolve not to look the other way when the view is uncomfortable? Will those who stormed the Capitol, who aided and abetted seditionists, and who proliferated racism and dangerous lies, face punishment? Episode 18 is all about the fallout.

Sharon Chischilly for the Daily Lobo

Anyone who’s been paying attention to racism and white privilege in this country knows that what happened in D.C. has been brewing a long time. There’s a lot of good research and reporting happening right now outlining what’s been missed, suppressed and ignored when it comes to the rise of extremist militias in the U.S. We get into it in episode 17.

Hannah Colton, Twitter @hmcolton

The KUNM community is heartbroken to say that News Director Hannah Colton died earlier this week at age 29. 

Margaret Wright

On Saturday, Nov. 7, just after the presidential race was called for Biden, hundreds turned up on the steps of the state’s capital for a rally against election results--though there has not yet been evidence of fraud. And a quick content warning: This story contains antagonism based in transphobia.  

Wow, we just had a tense bunch of days, each one filled with anticipation and impatience and consternation. From people worrying about how the election was going to play out, to some keeping an eye on potential violence, it would be an understatement to say that anxieties were high. It makes sense, 2020 has been mad anxious as my East Coast compatriots would say. But the electoral college digits that just wouldn’t move are not the only numbers the United States has to grapple with. Most of the country spent so much of their attention on the election, news of record- breaking new covid cases barely cut through the din. No matter who’s in charge, we’ve got a lot in front of us.

KUNM / Creative Commons

This week, New Mexico voters blew past turnout records of years past, and pushed the state Senate further to the left. That means that in the next legislative session, some policies and plans might be on the table that weren’t before. KUNM's Megan Kamerick spoke with Marjorie Childress, who wrote about the progressive shift for New Mexico In Depth.

Hannah Colton / KUNM

Say you went to vote on Election Day 2020, and the poll worker could not find your registration information in the computer system. In that case, you’re supposed to get what’s called a provisional ballot. You fill it out along with a form. It’s set in a separate pile, and later, someone will try to find your registration information to see if your vote can be counted. But the morning of Election Day, at least a few polling locations in Sandoval County could not print provisional ballots.

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

Clifton White and Selinda Guerrero organized Free Them All Fridays for months, speaking out against conditions and abuses in New Mexico prisons. White had spent years behind the walls, with Guerrero on the outside calling for prisoners’ rights. After the couple pulled together the first Black Lives Matter protest of 2020 in Albuquerque in late May, White was arrested on an administrative parole violation, which Guerrero says was retaliation for their protests. She and other demonstrators called for his release all summer long. He was returned to his family late last week. KUNM talked with the couple Monday, Nov. 2, in a park, with everyone wearing masks, which you might hear in the interview.

Eric J. Garcia / El Machete Illustrated

The final presidential debate of 2020 got passing marks because the candidates managed to take turns. But rarely did they roll out the kind of action plans the moderator was looking for. She kept asking: If elected, what will you do about this big problem we are facing? Still, candidates did not venture into specifics. We think that was by design. The strategy was, make debate No. 1 so bad that by the time debate No. 2 comes around, expectations are so low, everyone will just be grateful it’s not incoherent shouting and call it good. But in a time with multiple crises pressing down on us, specific plans can pull people together, provide direction and alleviate anxiety. So that’s what this episode is all about. What do you want to hear candidates talking about? What kinds of plans and policies do you wish they were outlining before the public?

Lonnie Anderson

For months, demonstrators fighting police violence and racism have been calling for the state to release Albuquerque protest organizer Clifton White from prison. His wife, Selinda Guerrero, said she was surprised by a call from Santa Rosa prison staff on Thursday saying she should come pick him up. 

Contributed by artist Larry Schulte

The NoMoNo team was talking about ideas for our election coverage in early August: The potential for violence, attempts to subvert the vote and the importance of media literacy. It is not hyperbole to state that for most of us, this is the most important election we have ever taken a part in. That said, it is imperative that we are not only informed about our voting rights, but we ensure they are protected. That means becoming savvy about misinformation and disinformation and the ways that you and some people you may know are possibly being manipulated. 

Lonnie Anderson

Attack ads and contemporary political rhetoric about crime have a disturbing campaign ancestor: The Willie Horton ad that may have cost Michael Dukakis the presidential election in 1988. It relied on racism for its efficacy, and it ushered in an era of so-called "tough-on-crime" laws and posturing that nearly broke criminal legal systems, like the one in Albuquerque. Executive Producer and longtime criminal justice reporter Marisa Demarco navigates in Episode 13 how racist, fear-based electioneering warped the country's approach to crime. That continues to this day, favoring quick vengeance over long-term solutions that might have a real impact on crime rates. It's an addictive cycle: These methods, in fact, might be a big part of creating the problem candidates are promising to solve with them when they're counting on fear to salvage their flagging campaigns. 

Laura Paskus

An overwhelming majority of scientists agree that human-caused climate change is real. And along with more heat, drought and wildfires, we are facing an increase in forced migration – people fleeing their home countries for U.S. borders when they lose their crops or conditions become unlivable. No More Normal host Khalil Ekulona spoke with environmental reporter Laura Paskus about how New Mexicans should be preparing for this future, especially when it comes to water use. She says the Albuquerque stretch of the Rio Grande is critically low and could even stop flowing this month.

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