(Albuquerque) The Rio Grande Foundation is pleased to announce that it has hired former Santa Fe New Mexican report David Collins to head up its investigative projects at New Mexico Watchdog.

David Collins proved his mettle as a professional reporter covering civil unrest in Wisconsin in 1989. Since his first professional assignments as a talk-radio host and news producer at a rural, tribally owned radio station, he has reported for several print publications as both a freelancer and a staff writer. He has held positions as a cops-and-courts reporter, a business writer, an investigative journalist and a general-assignment news hound.

In addition to work as a freelance reporter and a Web developer, he has held desks at WOJB-FM in northern Wisconsin, the Centralia Fireside Guard in Missouri, the Junction City Daily Union in Kansas, Rio Grande Sun in Española and most recently the Santa Fe New Mexican.

Building on early mass-communication experience as a fleet-footed remote-broadcast specialist at a community public radio station, he developed skills for the digital millennium as a Web programmer and a data analyst. An aggressive advocate for open governance at a time when complex technologies threaten to put much government information beyond the reach of the lay public, he often prefers to query official data than to take a quote from a public official.

Ideologically, he’s embraced neither the left, the right nor the center, but supports informed understanding among diverse interests. When pressed to testify about his own ideals, he calls himself a pragmatist with a steady inclination toward personal freedom.

Paul Gessing, President of the Rio Grande Foundation, in announcing the hiring, said “Jim Scarantino blazed the trail for web-based investigative reporting in New Mexico. I am confident that David Collins will continue to break new stories and make the political classes uncomfortable as he asks probing questions and digs deep to uncover the truth.”

Collins’ first story, “Controversy Looms Over Sunshine Portal Hand-Off” is available at: http://newmexico.watchdog.org/.