Huge loss for the people of New Mexico

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Bob Johnson, the director of the New Mexico Foundation for Open Government, has passed away:

Robert H. “Bob” Johnson, a champion for open government and a former Associated Press executive who, during a 42-year career, wrote AP’s first bulletin on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, has died. He was 84.

After retiring from the news cooperative in 1988, Johnson helped start the New Mexico Foundation for Open Government and made a new career out of fighting for public access to government meetings and records.

I first worked with Bob when I was editor of the Mustang. I was a complete rookie in the journalism business, but Bob didn’t care — he was incredibly helpful and insightful. During the past four years, that’s how I always encountered Bob: I had some question about access to public records, and he’d tell me about the applicable statutes or give me a comment for print.

In a time when our lives are under increased scrutiny, and when our privacy is at risk, it’s a sad blow to New Mexicans that their greatest champion in checking government power has gone so soon.

Thank you, Bob, for everything.