ESPANOLA, N.M. (KRQE) – A newspaper’s joke about Española has the town and, more specifically, Northern New Mexico College, fired up.
Northern New Mexico College is quiet right now. The fall semester has yet to start, but the campus is abuzz despite the lack of students.
“We have a lot of pride in our small community. There’s a lot of hardworking students, faculty and staff here and we want to be able to share that with other people,” Patricia Trujillo, the school’s Director of Equity and Diversity, said.
Several weeks ago, the Santa Fe Reporter took a jab at Española in its weekly wrap-up satire column called “7 Days.”
SFR highlighted how the college is looking to attract out-of-state students with in-state tuition with the subhead: “You’ll still have to live in Española, though.”
The college took to Facebook, calling the joke “lazy” and “uninformed” – even inviting the SFR staff to come out to see the “amazing things happening here.”
The post also delivered a jab of its own back at Santa Fe, “No overpriced coffee here!”
Españolans chimed in in the comment section on that Facebook post, proud of their town. Several dissed SFR and Santa Fe, in general.
Well, SFR heard them and doubled down in its latest “7 Days” column with two more jokes. One says, “Españolans hate SFR after throwaway joke offends college, with the subhead: For the record, that joke cost us neither money nor time.”
The other says, “Española coalition aims to open lowrider museum, with the subhead: “______ write your own punchline.”
“What we read between the lines is that they consider us a throwaway community, and we want to respond to that. It’s not appropriate,” Trujillo said.
Trujillo says the whole thing bothered her so much, she felt the need to speak out.
“It went from making one mistake to a pattern of behavior, and to me that really kind of points to some of the values that the Santa Fe Reporter is publicly showing to their audiences.”
KRQE News 13 reached out to the Santa Fe Reporter.
Editor Julie Ann Grimm says “7 Days” is meant to be an irreverent take on the week’s news. She went on to say that there’s a long-time rivalry between Española and Santa Fe with each city dishing out its own jokes about the other over the years.
In this case, Grimm says Españolans have every right to react to the joke as they feel, but she believes they are making a mountain out of a molehill.
The college also alleged racist undertones to the second and third jokes, because an image of a group of Caucasian people holding signs that say “F*** OFF!” appeared adjacent to the jokes in the web version of “7 Days.”
Grimm says that image was not connected to the Española jokes, however, and that the image was clearly for a separate story in the paper’s print version.Update: The Santa Fe Reporter later tweaked its website, moving the “F*** OFF!” image away from the Española jokes as to clarify there is no connection between them.Second Update: The Santa Fe Reporter has issued an apology about the controversial jokes, which can be seen here.