Peter St. Cyr, 53, said he plans to use his post as executive director of NMFOG to improve government transparency for journalists and all New Mexicans.
Open-records laws “have a practical purpose in everybody’s life,” said St. Cyr, who began the job Jan. 1.
“The First Amendment is useless if you don’t have the right to acquire the information,” he said in an interview. “Under my leadership, we’re going to be consistently pushing for as much openness as practical.”
NMFOG recognized St. Cyr last year with its William Dixon Award for Journalism.
As a freelance reporter for the Santa Fe Reporter from 2012 to 2016, St. Cyr used public records laws to cover a public corruption scandal and to improve openness in the state’s medical cannabis program.
In 2015, St. Cyr and NMFOG filed a lawsuit against the New Mexico Department of Health that led to new regulations that revealed the names of people and groups who applied for licenses to produce medical marijuana.
St. Cyr also used public records to break stories about former state Sen. Phil Griego’s role in a controversial land transaction.
Griego, a Democrat from San Miguel County, resigned from the Senate in March 2015 and faces criminal charges this year for his role in the sale of a historic state-owned building near the Capitol in 2014.
An Albuquerque native, St. Cyr worked as a part-time sports reporter for the Albuquerque Journal while a student at Sandia High School. He earned a degree in business administration at St. Mary’s College in Moraga, Calif.
After a 10-year career in public relations for a French-based manufacturer, St. Cyr returned to New Mexico in 2006 to pursue a career in radio, television and print journalism.