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Gene Grant Says Goodbye to New Mexico in Focus

This week on New Mexico in Focus, we say goodbye to a mainstay at NMPBS, Gene Grant. Gene’s thoughtful and balanced approach to issues of the day made NMiF go-to watching for a generation of viewers. This week, we look back at the highlights of Gene’s career here, while making sure to assess the impact of his nearly two decades of work.  

Gene’s first appearance on NMPBS, back when the show was called “In Focus,” came in 2005 as a guest. During that interview, former host Kate Nelson asks Gene about his thoughts on shifts in journalism during the booming blog era and the responsibilities journalists have to their readers. 

In 2014, PBS was airing the hit series “Finding Your Roots,” where host Henry Louis Gates and a team of genealogists gathered information on the family histories of celebrities and public figures. In October of that year, Gene sat down with genealogist Ruth Randall and got a few surprises about his own family history. 

PBS NewsHour has had a major impact on our station and Gene’s coverage over the years. In 2010, then-NewsHour correspondent Gwen Ifill stopped by our Albuquerque studios to speak with Gene about her book, “The Breakthrough, Politics and Race in the Age of Obama.” The two speak candidly about perceptions and trends in Black politics at that point in America. 

Also in 2010, Gene got the opportunity to speak with another NewsHour legend, Jim Lehrer. At the time, Lehrer was the managing editor of PBS NewsHour. During their conversation, the two discuss a slew of changes that were happening at the PBS flagship show, including a shift to multi-media news. Lehrer finishes their conversation with a nod to the importance of local PBS reporting. So, we collected several clips of Gene’s appearances on NewsHour, discussing everything from house foreclosures in New Mexico in August 2010, to his interview this January about a series of allegedly politically motivated shootings, for which defeated Republican candidate Solomon Peña has been charged. 

To make Gene’s final show extra special, we assembled a group of people who’ve been around the show, and Gene, for years. Kathy Wimmer is a retired producer who helped build The Line, making sure we had the right group to dissect the issues of the week. KKOB radio host T.J. Trout appeared on the show early in Gene’s career and quickly became one of the show’s favorite guests. And Cathryn McGill, the founder and director of the New Mexico Black Leadership Council has become a key contributor on the program over the years. The group discusses the way journalism has changed during the last 18 years since Gene first appeared on NMPBS and gives our beloved host a proper sendoff.  

Host: Gene Grant 

The Line Opinion Panel: 
T.J. Trout, radio host, KKOB 
Cathryn McGill, founder, director, NM Black Leadership Council 
Kathy Wimmer, former New Mexico in Focus Producer 


Gene’s Early Years on NMPBS  
Correspondent: Gene Grant 
Guest: David Alire Garcia, former co-host of New Mexico in Focus 

Gene’s First Appearance on NMPBS (May 2005) 
Correspondent: Kate Nelson 
Guest: Gene Grant, former freelance journalist and columnist at The Albuquerque Tribune 

Gene Finds His Roots (October 2014) 
Correspondent: Gene Grant 
Guest: Ruth Randall, certified genealogist 

Gene Speaks with Gwen Ifill (November 2010) 
Correspondent: Gene Grant 
Guest: Gwen Ifill, former PBS NewsHour correspondent 

Gene Interviews NewsHour Legend Jim Lehrer (May 2010) 
Correspondent: Gene Grant 
Guest: Jim Lehrer, former PBS NewsHour managing editor