People & Places 

Sadly, my time here at the Valencia County News-Bulletin has come to an end. 

The fellowship that brought me here to Valencia County is ending this week and I will be moving on to a new chapter in my life.  

Jesse Jones

I’ve lived in Albuquerque for 23 years, but rarely did I ever visit your beautifully historic county. Some of the stories I covered took me all over the area, and I met some of the most friendly and welcoming people. 

I was placed here by the NM Local News Fund, which is a fellowship program that placed eight of us throughout the state. I feel fortunate to have been placed in such a great community, with a top community newspaper that genuinely cares about the people it serves. 

Throughout my time here, I had the opportunity to cover a wide range of topics many new journalists do not get to do — all of which have helped me develop into a well-rounded journalist.  

In my life, I have struggled with anxiety when it comes to public speaking. However, being in this profession has helped me overcome it significantly. I am not referring to speaking in front of a large audience, but rather conducting one-on-one or group interviews.  

As a reporter assigned to cover the village of Bosque Farms and the town of Peralta, I had the opportunity to meet and get to know the leaders of these lovely municipalities. While some questions might have annoyed the officials, I took it as a sign that I was doing my journalistic duty to get some of the answers for the people who live in the towns. 

Some of my favorite highlights while working here include covering the presidential visit, artist profiles, learning about various topics to explain and the lively festivals and parades the county is known for. 

If it weren’t for my assignment at the News-Bulletin, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to capture photos of the leader of the free world. Photographing President Joe Biden was undoubtedly one of the highlights of my career so far. 

Other highlights from my time here included interviewing some of the very talented artists from around the county. This was right up my alley because my minor was in art history and I love almost all forms of art.  

The News-Bulletin gave me the challenging job of explaining what water rights are in the special section. Although some lawyers spend their entire careers studying water law, I was asked to simplify it enough for our readers who are not lawyers to comprehend, while keeping it brief. 

I recently had the opportunity to learn about tai chi through the Senior Source special section. I had been interested in this ancient Chinese martial art for many years and finally got the chance to attend a class. After experiencing the numerous benefits of tai chi firsthand, I highly recommend it to anyone looking to improve their physical and mental well-being. 

One thing I learned about this county is that the people here take parades and fiestas seriously. Each town hosts a distinct festival and these celebrations truly embody the unique character of the communities they represent. 

Besides studying art, photography also brought me immense joy. This job gave me plenty of opportunities to explore the countryside. 

Our special water section issue allowed me to explore new places, hike around the bosque and capture its rich beauty.  

I joined the News-Bulletin last June and I was able to learn the art of journalism under some of the very best journalists in the state. It was a blessing to have the cream of the journalist crop in the same place.  

Watching my editor/publisher Clara Garcia and Julia M. Dendinger, the assistant editor, run the paper is awe-inspiring.  

Publishing a newspaper is not easy but Clara handles the job of like five people while covering her beat all while carving out time to help mold me into a better journalist.  

Julia is a remarkable woman who, besides being a fantastic journalist, possesses a wealth of knowledge. I can ask her almost anything and she will almost always have an answer; she is a walking encyclopedia on everything from politics to health care and everything in between. 

Felina Martinez and Mike Powers, our in-house celebrity sportswriter, both have propelled me into better writing as well. Getting to read their articles daily has made me better.  

Felina has been at the paper for a short time, longer than I have been but her work seems as if she had been a veteran journalist in the trenches for decades.  

Mike has been in the journalistic trenches for decades. It has been amazing to learn from a guy who I watched on television as a youngster.  

I am fortunate to be able to apply all the knowledge and experience I have gained while working at the News-Bulletin to my new job.  

Beginning next week, I will be working with CTRL+P, a publishing company that produces several community newspapers. These include The Independent News, which covers the east mountains, the Sandoval Signpost, which covers Placitas and Southern Sandoval County, the Corrales Comment, which covers the village of Corrales, and The Paper in Albuquerque, an independent newspaper. 

I am grateful to all the readers who have sent me kind messages and emails regarding my stories and photos. Each message means a lot to me and motivates me to continue improving, as it shows that people do read my articles. 

Thank you, Valencia County; please continue supporting this valuable publication that deeply cares about the community and remains vigilant on those in positions of power. 

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Jesse Jones lives in Albuquerque with his wife and son. Jesse graduated from of the University of New Mexico twice. This spring, he graduated with a degree in multimedia journalism and, in 2006, he received a bachelor’s degree in university studies with an emphasis in photojournalism. He is a current fellow of the New Mexico Local News Fund.