Questa del Rio News Editorial Board member and Questa native Ernesto Cisneros graduated from Taos Academy in 2019. He chose to attend New Mexico State University (NMSU) in Las Cruces, destined to pursue his passion for writing. During his tenure in college, Cisneros found a distinct passion for storytelling.
Cisneros pursued a bachelor’s degree in print/ editorial/ online journalism with a dual scope, focusing on public relations and digital media. He also obtained a second bachelor’s degree in government relations with an emphasis in Political Science. His double minor is in Communications and Social Media Management. With a busy four-year stretch under his belt, Cisneros has notably graduated with honors (summa cum laude), and a Crimson Scholar Graduate this May.
During his time at NMSU, Cisneros worked for ‘The Round Up’, a student-run publication for the campus. He can recall countless hours writing, reporting, building sources, and meeting deadlines—his dedication and passion was quickly recognized as he worked his way up from a staff writer, to a political reporter, to ending his senior year as the managing editor. Cisneros earned a finalist designation for a Mark of Excellence Award from the Society of Professional Journalists and was a 2x winner from Best of School Newspapers Online.
Aside from being able to work in the industry he’s passionate about, Cisneros says his college experience also provided lifelong friendships. “My friendships and connections are the most valuable things I gained from college. I feel like I’ve met some talented people who are going to do great things and change the world,” he says endearingly.
With no plans to return home soon, Cisneros acknowledges coming home long term would prove difficult with few opportunities to practice his trade in his hometown. “This community will always be “home” in my heart but, right now, I don’t foresee myself being here in the near future unless I am called to be here.”
As for what’s next, Cisneros is excited to have accepted a fellowship with the New Mexico Local News Fund where he will be working with the Las Cruces Sun-News, a partner of the USA Today Network.
While he’s not able to return home, Cisneros says home is a huge catalyst for his passion and drive to pursue a career in journalism. “From a young age, I grew to understand and appreciate how important journalism is in communities of color, culture, and tradition — such as Questa. Many people rely on our work as a means to stay connected and be a part of history,” he says.
Committed to giving a voice to underrepresented communities often discounted in mainstream media, Cisneros says, “I have realized how important it is that we seek out the truth and give voice to those often left out by our government, media and society. In rural communities like ours, the headlines sometimes aren’t always as reflective of the whole story. Pursuing my degrees inspired me to change the way we portray those narratives in media and in government.”
When asked what advice he would give to younger generations, Cisneros says, “Value your education, it is a passport to opportunity, follow your passions, and do more of what makes you happy and excited. Ignore societal and family expectations, just take the risk.”