COMMENTARY: I’d like to share with you my insight, from a fathers’ perspective, about my son, Heath Haussamen, and his journalistic experiment he calls NMPolitics.net. Heath was raised in a home where truth, honesty, and respect for other people, their ideas and their opinions were valued. I see those values reflected in his writing and reporting for NMPolitics.net.
Heaths’ vision of creating a relevant and participative community of political partners, where ordinary people interact with each other and openly share ideas, is commendable and essential in our current world, which is plagued by “gotcha” journalism.
I absolutely believe that we can and must communicate with each other in a respectful way if we are to gain understanding, find common ground, develop public consensus, and present a realistic perspective of our collective views to our elected officials. Heath insists on mutual respect and no name-calling during discussion between participants on NMPolitics.net. Without a safe and respectful atmosphere there is little hope for discovering what our fellow citizens truly think, feel, and believe.
Frankly, openly displaying our mutual respect for each other would signal to our political and government officials that we expect the same behavior from them as our representatives.
I honestly believe that this open and honest communication atmosphere requires many thousands of people participating in the discussions to foster a useful understanding of issues. Effective political representation depends on New Mexicans participating — not just periodically in the voting booth, but by regularly talking with each other and our politicians about the issues and ideas we believe to be important and “good” public policy.
About 20,000 people currently read NMPolitics.net on a monthly basis. Imagine the impact and influence that you and NMPolitics.net could have on New Mexico’s state and local political and government systems if tens of thousands more monthly partners joined the conversations. Won’t you share NMPolitics.net with your friends, family, neighbors, co-workers, or even strangers and see if they would join the community?
Finally, NMPolitics.net is attempting to provide a participative journalism service that can change how New Mexicans are informed and communicate with each other and with our political and government officials on matters of public policy and service. Heath chooses a very challenging business model for NMPolitics.net that encourages participation without a required subscription fee.
Take a look at the 2015 donor list of more than 275 donations. I find the range of contributions very telling — donors believe in Heaths’ work and they believe their contributions (large or small) make a difference. Your contributions to NMPolitics.net, added to that list, will keep you informed and give you a voice in New Mexico’s political and government systems. Just 1,000 new donors of $5.00 per month and around 1,500 annual donors would ensure a viable future for NMPolitics.net.
Yes, Heath is my son and I am biased, as any proud father should be. I believe in his vision for adapting journalism to influence New Mexico’s political and government systems. I hope you see a benefit for you, your family, and all New Mexicans.
Please join the NMPolitics.net community as an active, contributing, and participating partner. You make the difference! NMPolitics.net gives you the vehicle to make that difference.
Wally Haussamen is a 25-year veteran of New Mexico state government who also worked 13 years for the federal government, mostly as a mid-level administrator. He’s seen the “good,” the “bad,” and the “ugly” of government functions, from political and administrative perspectives and as a constituent being served by his government. The “good” prevailed best when there was active public participation.