I’ve already had the pleasure of meeting some of you, but for the rest of you, let me introduce myself.

I’m the new staff writer here at the Valencia County News-Bulletin and I’ll be covering the village of Los Lunas, the town of Peralta, Los Lunas Schools and School of Dreams Academy.

I’ve lived in Valencia County my whole life. I grew up going to Story Hour at the Los Lunas Library, Vacation Bible School in Belen, I took piano lessons in Bosque Farms and graduated from School of Dreams Academy. All that to say, I am a proud member of this community.

Anna Padilla

I recently graduated from the University of New Mexico with a degree in journalism and mass communication. Unlike many students, I never dreaded the constant questions about my future career goals because I’ve always known writing would be part of my career in some capacity, although there was never a big moment that made me realize I wanted to pursue a journalism degree.

I decided to take an introduction to journalism class my freshman year of college, and it intrigued me. I never knew how different writing for news was from creative writing, which is my first love. I realized that while there are many guidelines set in place for journalists to follow in their writing, there is still a tremendous amount of creativity involved in reporting.

At the heart of it all, journalism is still storytelling, which is my passion. Through reporting, I have gotten to know some very interesting people who are doing great things in their communities. I have stretched myself and surpassed what I thought my limits were.

Most importantly, I have learned something new every day. I don’t think anyone ever stops learning during their lifetime, and that’s especially true for journalists, whose job literally is to be curious and learn new things.

I also love photography. I started off taking nature photos with a tiny digital camera and have grown into using my Canon DSLR for taking portraits. I see photography as another form of storytelling. It’s a visual medium and is one of the reasons I get to explore my county, to search for new beautiful locations to take photos. I truly believe taking photos has helped me see the beauty in everything around me, and that perspective has influenced my way of thinking. I try to see things as “glass half full.”

I have always been interested in learning about local businesses and, during my time at UNM, I was able to pursue those interests for stories I would write through the online student publication. I got to speak with many Albuquerque small business owners who started their companies from an idea and were able to grow them into sustainable entities. I often left interviews feeling inspired after hearing about the hard work and dedication that it takes to get a business off the ground.

I covered school budget hearings, learned about how student government works and learned how the state government can impact the student body. I got to speak with local artists who, by simply making their art, make New Mexico a more beautiful and diverse place. I’ve had many opportunities to tell people’s stories and I’m thrilled that I get to do it in the county that I grew up in — in the county that I love.

You’ll probably see me around with a camera in-hand and if you do, please say hello. I love meeting new people, and I’m looking forward to continue learning about Valencia County and the people who also call it home.

To reach me, email me at apadilla@news-bulletin.com or call me at 505-966-9671.

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Anna Padilla, News-Bulletin Staff Writer