Small Town News Transparency and Bias Reporting: Alamogordo A Case Study


Present Day Roadrunner Emporium originally the First National Bank of Alamogordo built in 1900 (

Claims of media bias, and a lack of transparency in who is providing the news, have increased in the United States as the two-party system has become more polarized, including claims of liberal and conservative bias. These claims generally focus on the idea of media outlets skewing information, such as reporting news in a way that conflicts with standards of professional journalism, or promoting a political agenda through entertainment media, on bias in reporting to favor the corporate owners, and on mainstream bias, a tendency of the media to focus on certain "hot" stories and ignore news of more substance. A variety of watchdog groups attempt to combat bias by fact-checking biased reporting and also unfounded claims of bias. Researchers in a variety of scholarly disciplines study media bias. Media bias in local small town markets is even more pronounced in many cases as there is generally only one major periodical and most independent organizations print based on personal experience or print to an agenda but not towards journalistic integrity.

Alamogordo is a microcosm of this media bias. The major paper which was once highly regarded and had a slew of local reporters that specialized in local sports, politics and business is now a shell of itself. The paper has one local reporter and most of the stories that are local focused are limited in the number of column inches dedicated to the storyline; the result little in depth or investigative coverage by the local paper the Alamogordo News.

Then there is the dominate independent online news provided by the site and These two sites are operated by 2nd Life Media and over the last year have shown themselves as a fast growing alternative to the local print paper. The editions are found online and a radio edition that is even more community focused with indepth radio interviews is found via podcast and online at with Anthony Lucero. This news organization covers a broad spectrum of stories and is not just focused on one issue but is well rounded with local sports features, political features and multiple spotlights on nonprofit and community organizations via its series of podcasts such as:

Cat Chat for Kitty City NM

Katy Spradley's Agricultural Minute

Susan Payne and Love Inc Community Updates

Sunny Aris with Animal Village NM

and Inspirational Insights with Johnnie L Walker

This news organization via its multpronged platform is the fastest growing organization in Otero County and operates via a legitimate platform of journalistic integrity and oversite as a member of Local Online News Publishers Association and as a independent radio station streaming as This news organization is focused on community and is operated by 2nd Life Media Inc. The organization has no agenda except to report the news and show stories that contribute to the fabric of Alamogordo. Politically it is operates as a moderate. It has run a series of articles exposing the mismanagement bullying and harassment of the Democratic Party of Otero County which is now a suspended chapter under state oversight. And it has equally reported on the right wing extremism that is embedded with certain circles of the local Republican Party and their sponsorship of collaborations with Moms of Liberty or the antics of the fake electors and those such as John Block and Couy Griffin participants in the January 6th events at the nations capital. The organization reports on both parties but has greater access to the Republican Party due to their more open dialog with local press coverage.

Then there is the bias organizations. A majority of the airwaves with morning talk shows lean toward "conservative radio." There are a few exceptions, a radio show by Nadia Sikes that showcases community events called, Community Corner on 101.9 FM and the Michael Shinabery Show

Then one gets to the very bias entities. The most bias is the entity operated by District 51 Representative John Block. The site is a propaganda piece created exclusively to drive the Block and his domestic partners alleged conservative agenda. It does so via the opinions expressed on the Pinon Post which are all swayed to hate the governor, to support the MAGA agenda and to self serve the political aspirations of John Block and Karl Melton. At least there is the transparency in knowing who the writers actually are with linked bios. Though biased with an agenda, one knows who is publishing the story-lines. There is a clear understanding of the agenda. Thus one may not agree with the agenda, but it is clear and transparent.

Then a new entry of recent with very limited readership is an organization that markets itself as the Sentinel. The Sentinel publishes stories under a variety of pseudonyms, and there is no transparency but lots of bias. A majority of the stories posted are an indictment on the school system, complaints and condemnation of the school board and key executives within the school system and a view that anyone that supports the Alamogordo Public Schools leadership as the enemy. There are multiple links on the home page giving the appearance of a hard news site. Yet the links just lead to other links. A majority of the articles are opinion pieces that attack the school system. There is NO transparency, no biographies and there is no defined page listing who is behind the platform, who the opinion pieces originate from and no basis for journalistic integrity.

Thus the bias of the local news market in Otero County. Much like the nation and dialog the flow of information the the reader in Otero County is seeped with bias or a lack of transparency. The exceptions Alamogordo Daily News is a legitimate news source just light on local coverage. is transparent in its ownership by local Rene Sepulveda and is transparent that a majority of the reporting is crafted by Chris Edwards via the online edition and Anthony Lucero via the radio edition. 

The Pinon Post though a talking piece for the Block/Melton Duo is at least transparent in its agenda and in who publishes it.

The radio shows and podcasts on 101.9 FM/ 1230AM and on again show a level of transparency and are a great source for unbiased information. From Michael Shinabery and Nadia Sikes on 101.9 FM as well as those hosted by Anthony Lucero on streaming these are great sources to hear directly from the community member or local organization, unfiltered and direct.

Before the rise of professional journalism in the early 20th century and the conception of media ethics, newspapers reflected the opinions of the publisher. Frequently, an area would be served by competing newspapers taking differing and often radical views by modern standards.

History shows us the partisan media bias was expected and a part of the founding of the nation. In colonial Philadelphia, Benjamin Franklin was an early and forceful advocate for presenting all sides of an issue, writing, for instance, in his "An Apology For Printers" that "... when truth and error have fair play, the former is always an over match for the latter." From around 1790 to the late 1800s, most American newspapers were partisan with the exception of our founding father Ben Franklin.

In more modern times news organizations that have the most credibility are those that follow the mantra of Ben Franklin, locally the two organizations attempting to follow the fair and balanced doctrine of Ben Franklin is the Alamogordo Daily News and the Alamogordo Town News as well as the radio shows mentioned above of 101.9 FM and

The agenda driven media locally is certainly the Pinon Post however it is transparent in its bias and then the least transparent and most bias is the Sentinel. Read each understanding the slant being presented.

An understanding of where the news one reads comes from and who is behind the news organizations is essential for a reader to make an informed decision on the bias to the story they are reading, listening to and digesting.

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