Economy

New Mexico Better Newspapers Contest Winners

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) – The New Mexico Press Association recognized the best of New Mexico’s newspaper writing, photography and advertising at the Better Newspaper Contest Banquet on Saturday.

The organization handed out 261 awards to newspapers in four divisions: Weekly II – for weekly newspapers with a circulation below 5,000; Weekly I – for weekly newspapers with a circulation above 5,000; Daily II – for daily newspapers with a circulation below 11,000; and Daily I – for newspapers with a circulation above 11,000.

A newspaper from each division is awarded for General Excellence. This year’s winners are: The Santa Fe New Mexican, Daily I; The Farmington Daily Times, Daily II; The Taos News, Weekly I; and El Defensor Chieftain in Socorro, Weekly II.

The contest drew 1,126 entries from 29 newspapers around the state. It was judged by the Maryland, Delaware and D.C. Press Association. Entries were judged for excellence in 38 categories.

The New Mexico Associated Press Member of the Year, which is given for outstanding cooperation, went to the Las Cruces Sun-News.

The awards were handed out at the NMPA 110th Annual Convention.

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Weekly – Best Rate Card or Marketing Kit

2nd Place – Will Avery, Taos News

1st Place – Karin Eberhardt, Taos News

Judge’s Comment: Graphics with data very engaging. This rate card is like a design on reddit’s “cool guides” subreddit. Very well designed.

Daily – Best Rate Card or Marketing Kit

2nd Place – Byron Hughey, Albuquerque Journal

1st Place – Aric Loomis, Roswell Daily Record

Judge’s Comment: This WOW’d me! So well designed and thought out. Colors are bright and engaging, so well themed with the area

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Weekly Division 2 – Auto Advertisement

1st Place – Trina Thomas, Ruidoso News

Judge’s Comment: Compelling, balanced, and pleasing to the eye.

Weekly Division 1 – Auto Advertisement

2nd Place – Will Avery, Taos News

1st Place – Will Avery, Taos News

Judge’s Comments: Most eye catching and compelling artwork. Something very appealing about it!

Daily 2 – Auto Advertisement

2nd Place – Ethan Lewis, Eastern New Mexico News

1st Place – Sandra Martinez, Roswell Daily Record

Judge’s Comment: Cool artwork. We like what you did with the prices and the UFO logo is cool.

Daily 1 – Auto Advertisement

2nd Place – Bernadette Montano, Gallup Independent

1st Place – Rick Artiaga, Santa Fe New Mexican

Judge’s Comment: Gorgeous artwork. The cars pop out on the page. Love the hot air balloons, nod to the Albuquerque Balloon Festival. Sometimes, less is more!

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Weekly 2 – Real Estate Advertising

2nd Place – Trina Thomas, Ruidoso News

1st Place – Trina Thomas, Ruidoso News

Judge’s Comment: Great showcase of the properties inside and out. Love the black and gold.

Weekly 1 – Real Estate Advertising

2nd Place – Will Avery, Taos News

1st Place – Karin Eberhhardt, Taos News

Judge’s Comment: Compelling, simple.

Daily 2 – Real Estate Advertising

2nd Place – Mary Morgan, Roswell Daily Record

1st Place – Marty Williamson, Eastern New Mexico News

Judge’s Comment: Appealing to the eye. Simple, clean lines, consistent, goes perfectly with the article on the page.

Daily 1 – Real Estate Advertising

2nd Place – Joan Scholl, Santa Fe New Mexican

1st Place – Monica Schwartz, Albuquerque Journal

Judge’s Comment: Oh that sunset! Awesome photography of the property and great use of the space to show off that house.

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Weekly 2 – Retail Advertisement

2nd Place – Maria Sanchez, Las Vegas Optic

1st Place – Trina Thomas, Ruidoso News

Judge’s Comment: This ad is deceptively simple. Very nice.

Weekly 1 – Retail Advertisement

2nd Place – Lori Montoya, Rio Grande SUN

1st Place – Karin Eberhardt, Taos News

Judge’s Comment: Ads from this paper were all good, but this one stood out for it’s simple and clean design.

Daily 2 – Retail Advertisement

2nd Place – Ethan Lewis, Eastern New Mexico News

1st Place – Desiree Delgado, Silver City Daily Press

Judge’s Comment: Nice use of the art. Designer really pulled out the stops on this one.

Daily 1 – Retail Advertisement

2nd Place – Bernadette Montano, Gallup Independent

1st Place – Rick Artiaga, Santa Fe New Mexican

Judge’s Comment: Floating figures in an ad are close to being cliche. Still, this ad is heads above others in the category in its willingness to “think outside the box.”

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Weekly 2 – Classified Ad Section

1st Place – Leota Harriman, The Independent

Judge’s Comment: Headers easy to read. Classified sections easy to navigate.

Weekly 1 – Classified Ad Section

2nd Place – Mayra Aldaz, Rio Grande SUN

1st Place – Mary Chavez, Agnes Hernandez, Shirley Mondragon, Taos News

Judge’s Comment: Great house ad for selling cars, full color display ads for recruitment look amazing. Easy to read and navigate section to section.

Daily 2 – Classified Ad Section

2nd Place – Roswell Daily Record Staff, Roswell Daily Record

1st Place – Debbie Seibel, Desiree Delgado, Mikey Torrez, Silver City Daily Press

Judge’s Comment: Easy to read, well designed headers with color. Easy to navigate the classified section. Well spaced to show separation of ads. Layout of the page is nice with display ads on the sides and liners going from top to bottom of the page.

Daily 1 – Classified Ad Section

2nd Place – Classifieds Team, Santa Fe New Mexican,

1st Place – APC – Classifieds and Creative Services, Albuquerque Journal

Judge’s Comment: Wow, what a thriving classified section! Must have an engaged audience with this volume of ads. Color logos in the recruitment ads are a nice touch. Recruitment display ads are well designed and plentiful.

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Weekly 2 – Community/Newspaper Event Advertisement

2nd Place – Maria Sanchez, Las Vegas Optic

1st Place – Trina Thomas, Ruidoso News

Judge’s Comment: Good use of color and images. Looks like a fun event.

Weekly 1 – Community/Newspaper Event Advertisement

2nd Place – Will Avery, Taos News

1st Place – Karin Eberhardt, Taos News

Judge’s Comment: Great use of negative space, plus a cute dog. How can you go wrong?

Daily 2 – Community/Newspaper Event Advertisement

2nd Place – Manny Gonzalez, Roswell Daily Record

1st Place – Nickolas Seibel, Silver City Daily Press

Judge’s Comment: The ad is well done, but it’s the message that resonates.

Daily 1 – Community/Newspaper Event Advertisement

2nd Place – Byron Hughey, Albuquerque Journal

1st Place – Joan Scholl, Santa Fe New Mexican

Judge’s Comment: Nice campaign, good ads.

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Weekly 2 -Shared/Signature Page

2nd Place – Trina Thomas, Ruidoso News

1st Place – Trina Thomas, Ruidoso News

Judge’s Comment: Good layout, lots of color in the ads.

Weekly 1 – Shared/Signature Page

2nd Place – Will Avery, Taos News

1st Place – Will Avery, Taos News

Judge’s Comment:

Daily 2 – Shared/Signature Page

2nd Place – Franki Baca, Eastern New Mexico News

1st Place – Roswell Daily Record Staff, Roswell Daily Record

Judge’s Comment: Good layout, very colorful. Good mix of editorial and advertising.

Daily 1 – Shared/Signature Page

2nd Place – Classified Advertising Department, Santa Fe New Mexican

1st Place – Bernadette Montano, Gallup Independent

Judge’s Comment: This is a great idea for pages for Homecoming pages. Good art to go along with the advertising, great layout.

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Weekly 2 – Supplements or Special Sections

2nd Place – Leota Harriman, The Independent

1st Place – Staff, Las Vegas Optic

Judge’s Comment: This publication does exactly what it’s supposed to do, gives the reader a clear picture of the area from the past to the present and gives them reasons to come visit. Love the staff picks.

Weekly 1 – Supplements or Special Sections

2nd Place – Taos News Staff, Taos News

1st Place – Tracy Roy, Cary Howard, Las Cruces Bulletin

Judge’s Comment: This publication has anything and everything you would want to know about the area’s legislature. There is lots of information, great layout. The profiles and art help make it a lot more than just a list of names and offices. Well done.

Daily 2 – Supplements or Special Sections

2nd Place – JT Keith, Toby Martinez and Aric Loomis, Roswell Daily Record

1st Place – The Staff of the Farmington Daily Times,

Judge’s Comment: Use of graphics helps complement the well written stories. This publication looks at all aspects of the issues facing the county. Great art as well.

Daily 1 – Supplements or Special Sections

2nd Place – Deborah Villa and Patricia West-Barker, Santa Fe New Mexican

1st Place – Staff, Albuquerque Journal

Judge’s Comment: This publication offers an in depth look at the film and television industry in the state. It is laid out well with in depth stories and good art. A great publication all the way around.

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Weekly – Web Ad

2nd Place – Karin Eberhardt, Taos News

1st Place – Will Avery, Taos News

Judge’s Comment: Small ad, yet it says a lot.

Daily – Web Ad

2nd Place – Ethan Lewis, Eastern New Mexico News

1st Place – Joan Scholl, Santa Fe New Mexican

Judge’s Comment: Nice use of color and good combination with static images and gifs to bring home a point.

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Weekly – Best Breaking News, Digital

2nd Place – Clara Garcia, Valencia County News-Bulletin

1st Place – Taos News editorial team, Taos News

Judge’s Comment: This is an impressive, dogged performance. To get this news out, without Internet service, required amazing determination and resourcefulness. Great job!

Daily – Best Breaking News, Digital

2nd Place – Adrian Hedden, Carlsbad Current-Argus

1st Place – Megan Petersen, Hannah Grover, Farmington Daily Times

Judge’s Comment: This is an impressive performance by a small staff. Excellent use of a first-person source and good use of social media updates from official offices.

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Weekly – Best Web Site

2nd Place – Staff, Valencia County News-Bulletin

1st Place – Yvonne Pesquera, Taos News

Judge’s Comment: This website is easy to navigate and contains a wealth of information and resources. Excellent use of photography.

Daily – Best Web Site

2nd Place – The Staff of the Farmington Daily Times, Farmington Daily Times

1st Place – Jessica Onsurez, Carlsbad Current-Argus

Judge’s Comment: This is an attractive website, easy to navigate and filled with strong content and resources.

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Information Graphic – Open

2nd Place – Brian Barker, Will Webber, James Barron, Santa Fe New Mexican

1st Place – Kristina Dunham, Brian Barker, Henry Lopez, Santa Fe New Mexican

Judge’s Comment: Easy to read and comprehend when it comes to data speed breakdown

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Editorial Cartoon – Open

2nd Place – Ricardo Caté, Santa Fe New Mexican

1st Place – John Trever, Albuquerque Journal

Judge’s Comment: Such a universal way of showing how things have changed for children today.

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Weekly – Best Headline

2nd Place – Scott Turner, El Defensor Chieftain

1st Place – Argen Marie Duncan, Rio Rancho Observer

Judge’s Comment: The headline is concise and clever, and it complements the photo well. It does seem like the headline is what the dog is thinking.

Daily – Best Headline

2nd Place – Barry Heifner, Gallup Independent

1st Place – Brian Barker, Santa Fe New Mexican

Judge’s Comment: This headline effectively communicates the major weight of the election results, while incorporating more than just one race. Plus, it’s punchy and rolls off the tongue.

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Weekly 2 – Review

1st Place – Wally Gordon, The Independent

Judge’s Comment: Definitely piqued my interest. However, this is a win by default (only one entry in category).

Weekly 1 – Review

2nd Place – Mike Cook, Las Cruces Bulletin

1st Place – Elva Osterreich, Las Cruces Bulletin

Judge’s Comment: Interesting look at styles of 2 artists, although a longer piece would be nice.

Daily 1 – Review

2nd Place – Molly Boyle, Santa Fe New Mexican

1st Place – James M. Keller, Santa Fe New Mexican

Judge’s Comment: Writer reviewed many elements of the show. Good writing. Prompted me to start searching for the songs on YouTube!

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Weekly 2 – Obituary News

2nd Place – Dianne L Stallings, Ruidoso News

1st Place – Leota Harriman, The Independent

Judge’s Comment: Harriman can spot a good anecdote with the best of them. The orphanage tale elevates an interesting life story to a remarkable one.

Weekly 1 – Obituary News

2nd Place – Julia Dendinger, Valencia County News-Bulletin

1st Place – Staci Matlock, Taos News

Judge’s Comment: Matlock writes with compassion and authority — without verging into hagiography. Well-chosen details and quotes push the narrative forward adeptly. Great job!

Daily 2 – Obituary News

2nd Place – Benjamin Fisher, Silver City Daily Press

1st Place – Benjamin Fisher, Silver City Daily Press

Judge’s Comment: From the lede to the last sentence, the love of craft permeates this piece. An obit that’s full of heart, particularly about such a public person, is hard to pull off. But you wouldn’t know it from reading this.

Daily 1 – Obituary News

2nd Place – Maddy Hayden, Albuquerque Journal

1st Place – Robert Nott, Santa Fe New Mexican

Judge’s Comment: A daunting task indeed, writing the final word about a man who wrote so many splendid words. But this piece rises to the challenge over and over again — all the way through to its final, lasting image.

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Weekly 1 – Sports Columns

2nd Place – Richard Coltharp, Las Cruces Bulletin

1st Place – Richard Coltharp, Las Cruces Bulletin

Judge’s Comment: Chalk this up to “luck” … fun read about the coach’s return.

Daily 2 – Sports Columns

2nd Place – Rob Langrell, Eastern New Mexico News

1st Place – Kevin Wilson, Eastern New Mexico News

Judge’s Comment: Complicated, yes, but no doubt this led to some scoreboard watching.

Daily 1 – Sports Columns

2nd Place – Geoff Grammer, Albuquerque Journal

1st Place – Jason Groves, Las Cruces Sun-News

Judge’s Comment: Groves is asking the right questions. Good column, likely one that evoked others to weigh in.

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Weekly II – Education Writing

2nd Place – Scott Turner, El Defensor Chieftain

1st Place – Scott Turner, El Defensor Chieftain

Judge’s Comment: Well written piece explaining the potential benefits of a four-day school week.

Weekly I – Education Writing

2nd Place – Deborah Fox, Valencia County News-Bulletin

1st Place – Jesse Moya, Taos News

Judge’s Comment: Well reported with lots of sources. Also serves as an important reminder to students and parents about the issues with airlift guns.

Daily II – Education Writing

2nd Place – Noel Lyn Smith, Farmington Daily Times

1st Place – Lisa Dunlap, Roswell Daily Record

Judge’s Comment: A good look at dual enrollment programs.

Daily I – Education Writing

2nd Place – Jessica Dyer, Albuquerque Journal

1st Place – Robert Nott, Santa Fe New Mexican

Judge’s Comment: A great look at how detrimental it can be when politics shape school curriculum.

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Weekly II – Environmental or Agriculture Writing

2nd Place – Scott Turner, El Defensor Chieftain

1st Place – Scott Turner, El Defensor Chieftain

Judge’s Comment: Interwoven with voices from farmers and agency experts, the story examines the impact of a drying river on local wildlife and the farming business. With a powerful headline and striking photographs to illustrate the situation, the story puts an environmental issue faced by many communities across the country at the forefront of all of our minds.

Weekly I – Environmental or Agriculture Writing

2nd Place – Deborah Fox, Valencia County News-Bulletin

1st Place – Cody Hooks, Taos News

Judge’s Comment: The story explains a complex issue – how to manage the bighorn population – with clear language and solid data. It is well written and solidly reported.

Daily II – Environmental or Agriculture Writing

2nd Place – Adrian Hedden, Carlsbad Current-Argus

1st Place – Adrian Hedden, Lisa Dunlap, Carlsbad Current-Argus

Judge’s Comment: Well paced and masterfully written, the story tells the impact of a tiny pest on a $180 million industry. Interwoven with voices from pecan farmers and agricultural experts, the story explores the nuances and complexities of the issue at large. And it ends with a quote that suggests the problem doesn’t end here. A wonderful read throughout and a worthy winner.

Daily I – Environmental or Agriculture Writing

2nd Place – Daniel J. Chacón, Santa Fe New Mexican

1st Place – Rebecca Moss, Santa Fe New Mexican

Judge’s Comment: Superbly written and well researched, the story details the state’s longterm water contamination and its crumbling infrastructure that have had long, lasting impacts on generations of local residents. Informative, nuanced and poignant at times, this story exemplifies journalism at its best for environmental justice.

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Weekly II – Business Writing

2nd Place – John Larson, El Defensor Chieftain

1st Place – Algernon D’Ammassa, Deming Headlight

Judge’s Comment: This is a textbook local business story – looking at the ground-level impact of the Trump administration’s tariffs. It provides the right mix of local reaction and the bigger picture. Nicely done.

Weekly I – Business Writing

2nd Place – Amanda Martinez and Austin Fisher, Rio Grande SUN

1st Place – John Miller, Taos News

Judge’s Comment: A good overview of the state of one Main Street. The writer got a lot of voices to discuss the good and the bad and provided some context with history. Nicely done.

Daily II – Business Writing

2nd Place – Adrian Hedden, Carlsbad Current-Argus

1st Place – Benjamin Fisher, Silver City Daily Press

Judge’s Comment: This is a nice mix of business profile weaved in with local government news. Very good explanation as to what the company does as well.

Daily I – Business Writing

2nd Place – Ellen Marks, Albuquerque Journal

1st Place – Thom Cole, Santa Fe New Mexican

Judge’s Comment: It’s hard enough for a reporter to look back a month, let alone a decade. But this provides a comprehensive look at the “lost decade” in a way that’s easy to understand as well as with analysis and what it means going forward. Well done.

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Weekly II – Editorials

2nd Place – Jason W. Brooks, Las Vegas Optic

1st Place – Leota Harriman, The Independent

Judge’s Comment: Good job reminding readers of the importance of journalism.

Weekly I – Editorials

2nd Place – Clara Garcia, Valencia County News-Bulletin

1st Place – Robert Trapp, Rio Grande SUN

Judge’s Comment: This editorial is a detailed, step-by-step indictment of the mayor’s parting shot to taxpayers. Kudos to you for doing the research and laying out to readers, in painstaking clarity, where she went wrong. The final paragraph is great.

Daily II – Editorials

2nd Place – Nickolas Seibel, Dean Thompson, Christine Steele, Silver City Daily Press

1st Place – David Stevens, Robert Langrell, Eastern New Mexico News

Judge’s Comment: A textbook example of how to use a strong, forceful editorial to hold accountable those in power.

Daily I – Editorials

2nd Place – D’Val Westphal, Albuquerque Journal

1st Place – Mark Oswald, Albuquerque Journal

Judge’s Comment: A well-reasoned, thoughtful take on an unusual controversy.

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Weekly II – Columns

2nd Place – Algernon D’Ammassa, Deming Headlight

1st Place – Jason W. Brooks, Las Vegas Optic

Judge’s Comment: The author takes a local angle on an important national story and suggests solutions to a problem. New Mexico is affected by international trade and he suggests ways to move into the future instead of clinging to the past — a column bound to get people thinking and maybe acting.

Weekly I – Columns

2nd Place – Richard Coltharp, Las Cruces Bulletin

1st Place – Mercy López-Acosta, KAFB Nucleus

Judge’s Comment: It’s not easy being a journalist. The author tells the public that it’s not all glamour and certainly not something you get rich on. While the Annapolis shooting went to extremes, those of us who toil in this business go through constant harassment. She personalizes it but in a human way.

Daily II – Columns

2nd Place – Kevin Wilson, Eastern New Mexico News

1st Place – David Stevens, Eastern New Mexico News

Judge’s Comment: A very poignant, timely column that captures the grief of a community.

Daily I – Columns

2nd Place – Joline Gutierrez Krueger, Albuquerque Journal

1st Place – Maddy Hayden, Albuquerque Journal

Judge’s Comment: The column does a great job capturing the emotion of watching the eclipse, and the crisp but descriptive writing style keeps the reader engaged.

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Weekly II – General News Photo

2nd Place – Dianne L Stallings, Ruidoso News

1st Place – Dianne L Stallings, Ruidoso News

Judge’s Comment: Great moment with expressive subject!

Weekly I – General News Photo

2nd Place – Jesse Moya, Taos News

1st Place – Anthony Albidrez, Las Cruces Bulletin

Judge’s Comment: Eye-catching moment of natural phenomena.

Daily II – General News Photo

2nd Place – Jamie Cushman, Eastern New Mexico News

1st Place – Tony Bullocks, Eastern New Mexico News

Judge’s Comment: This photo hits me like a punch in the stomach, because of the blank expression on Jessica Thron’s face.

Daily I – General News Photo

2nd Place – Robin Zielinski, Las Cruces Sun-News

1st Place – Luis Sanchez Saturno, Santa Fe New Mexican

Judge’s Comment: Great color contrast and use of slow shutter speed.

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Weekly II – Sports Photo

2nd Place – Jonathan Miller, El Defensor Chieftain

1st Place – Jonathan Miller, El Defensor Chieftain

Judge’s Comment: Captures a nice attempt at a bicycle kick, something you don’t often get to see.

Weekly I – Sports Photo

2nd Place – Dylan Bida, Rio Grande SUN

1st Place – Morgan Timms, Taos News

Judge’s Comment: Interesting angle on the bull, sharply captures the most exciting part of the show, person falling off has a funny face that’s expressive.

Daily II – Sports Photo

2nd Place – Toby Martinez, Roswell Daily Record

1st Place – Jon Austria, Farmington Daily Times

Judge’s Comment: Great celebration, love seeing the action in the dog pile. Clearly a huge win.

Daily I – Sports Photo

2nd Place – Jim Thompson, Albuquerque Journal

1st Place – Jim Thompson, Albuquerque Journal

Judge’s Comment: Not often you see such a bright smile during an event like hurdling, made even better by the caption notifying us that she won.

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Weekly I – Feature Photo

2nd Place – Jonathan Miller, El Defensor Chieftain

1st Place – Cayla Nimmo, Gallup Sun

Judge’s Comment: There is great emotion in this photo.

Weekly II – Feature Photo

2nd Place – Morgan Timms, Taos News

1st Place – Morgan Timms, Taos News

Judge’s Comment: Great moment and expression. Good use of shallow depth of field to isolate subject from background.

Daily II – Feature Photo

2nd Place – C.P. Thompson, Silver City Daily Press

1st Place – Tony Bullocks, Eastern New Mexico News

Judge’s Comment: Great emotion from a wacky school scenario.

Daily I – Feature Photo

2nd Place – Roberto Rosales, Albuquerque Journal

1st Place – Luis Sanchez Saturno, Santa Fe New Mexican

Judge’s Comment: A photo you’d only be able to see thanks to the photographer, great framing, love the lighting and having the silhouetted person makes this a fantastic image.

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Weekly II – Photo Series

2nd Place – Maria Sanchez, Theresa Wesner, Las Vegas Optic

1st Place – Dave Kavanaugh, Las Vegas Optic

Judge’s Comment: These photos tell a great story about the team’s success and the passion of its fans and community.

Weekly I – Photo Series

2nd Place – Gary Herron, Rio Rancho Observer

1st Place – Rick Romancito, Taos News

Judge’s Comment: Nice job capturing the solemn nature of the event, and doing so with a great sense of place.

Daily II – Photo Series

2nd Place – Jon Austria, Farmington Daily Times

1st Place – Tony Bullocks, Eastern New Mexico News

Judge’s Comment: This was well deserving of a first-place win. The photos showed the fear and confusion of the day.

Daily I – Photo Series

2nd Place – Gabriela Campos, Santa Fe New Mexican

1st Place – Roberto Rosales, Albuquerque Journal

Judge’s Comment: No filter is needed for sure for this beautiful essay of Cuba. This photographer not only used Cuba’s beauty as the palette but even in the black and white picture used texture in the scenery.

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Weekly II – Sports Writing

2nd Place – Boderra Joe, Gallup Sun

1st Place – Jonathan Miller, El Defensor Chieftain

Judge’s Comment: Nice story about a father and a son and sports. Good job!

Weekly I – Sports Writing

2nd Place – Marty Racine, Las Cruces Bulletin

1st Place – John Miller, Taos News

Judge’s Comment: The writer showed an incredible level of storytelling here, transporting the reader into the vehicle when the wreck that begins this story goes down. Great writing.

Daily II – Sports Writing

2nd Place – Peter Stein, Eastern New Mexico News

1st Place – Brienne Green, Artesia Daily Press

Judge’s Comment: This a game story but so much more. It gives the reader a sense of the history and tradition of this storied program and its importance to the community. The top of the piece paints that bigger picture artfully and the writer moves on smoothly to pick up game details without burying the reader in statistics. The story is nicely written throughout and ends with a perfect quote.

Daily I – Sports Writing

2nd Place – Alan Arthur, Gallup Independent

1st Place – Will Webber, Santa Fe New Mexican

Judge’s Comment: Incredible story about recovery. Writer does a great job at hooking the reader early.

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Weekly II – News Writing

2nd Place – Leota Harriman, The Independent

1st Place – Dianne L Stallings, Ruidoso News

Judge’s Comment: Well-written and balances various viewpoints about what sounds to be an important fixture in the community. Presents a good feel for the priorities of the residents.

Weekly I – News Writing

2nd Place – Austin Fisher, Rio Grande SUN

1st Place – Wheeler Cowperthwaite, Rio Grande SUN

Judge’s Comment: Solid reporting on a long-term concerns about a police officer’s alleged excessive force. Even just looking at this as a stand-alone story, it’s well done.

Daily II – News Writing

2nd Place – Christine Steele, Silver City Daily Press

1st Place – Benjamin Fisher, Jennifer C. Olson, Silver City Daily Press

Judge’s Comment: Good news writing starts with a good story to tell, and then telling it well. “A Hundred million dollar find” in the Silver City Press is exactly that. A woman dies, two antique dealers find this painting on a door of her house, and after research, they realize it is a multi-million dollar work stolen from a university art museum 33 years ago. The story and the writing keeps a reader going as the mystery unravels. The sidebar about the couple who lived in the house leaves you hanging a bit.

Daily I – News Writing

2nd Place – Jeff Tucker and Kelly Farrell, Hobbs News Sun

1st Place – Dana Martinez, Gallup Independent

Judge’s Comment: I kept thinking that there is no way a story about Route 66 should win the news writing category. There were many, many strong entries but this one stood out as a compelling read about an icon of the West.

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Weekly II – Breaking News

2nd Place – Jason W. Brooks, Las Vegas Optic

1st Place – Dianne L Stallings, Ruidoso News

Judge’s Comment: You cannot make up the headline where a barbecue restaurant named Can’t Stop Smokin’ is engulfed in fire. With colorful quotes and rich details, the concise story is worthy of the first place

Weekly I – Breaking News

2nd Place – Elva Osterreich, Las Cruces Bulletin

1st Place – Clara Garcia, Valencia County News-Bulletin

Judge’s Comment: The story began with a family’s journey through a weekend storm that included rich details and colorful quotes. The story then moved on to include informative information about the fallout of the storm and its impact on the locals, all backed up with detailed descriptions and data. Compassionate, concise and informative, the story is no doubt worthy of the first place.

Daily II – Breaking News

2nd Place – Hannah Grover, Farmington Daily Times

1st Place – Benjamin Fisher, Jennifer C. Olson, Silver City Daily Press

Judge’s Comment: Love it. Fisher and Olson spin two compelling, complementary tales about a missing — and now found — piece of valuable artwork. It could be the start of a screenplay. But don’t change jobs just yet. New Mexico needs you!

Daily I – Breaking News

2nd Place – Sami Edge, Santa Fe New Mexican

1st Place – Katy Barnitz, Elise Kaplan, Albuquerque Journal

Judge’s Comment: Excellent, clear reporting on a complex case with little lead time. Reporter skillfully recounted how new information in the case differed from previous statements, and how investigators uncovered evidence to point in a new direction.

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Weekly II- Feature Writing

2nd Place – Dianne L Stallings, Ruidoso News

1st Place – Pam Bonner, Ruidoso News

Judge’s Comment: Great story. Good to read story on underrepresented community.

Weekly I – Feature Writing

2nd Place – Clara Garcia, Valencia County News-Bulletin

1st Place – Stephen Montoya, Rio Rancho Observer

Judge’s Comment: Awesome and insightful. Well done.

Daily II – Feature Writing

2nd Place – Adrian Hedden, Carlsbad Current-Argus

1st Place – David Grieder, Eastern New Mexico News

Judge’s Comment: Stands out above all others – reporting on those who are often forgotten. Well written and well resourced feature that is compassionate in its reporting by knowing when to let people speak for themselves without any interference from the reporter. Simply brilliant.

Daily I -Feature Writing

2nd Place – Phaedra Haywood, Santa Fe New Mexican

1st Place – Elayne Lowe, Santa Fe New Mexican

Judge’s Comment: Greater use of voice to put the reader in the ring with Mr. Grant. Focused writing keyed into the man, his struggles and dreams. Impressive storytelling all around. The first entry I read, and it proved to be the bar that other entries couldn’t top.

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Weekly II – Series or Continuing Coverage

2nd Place – Leota Harriman, The Independent

1st Place – Dianne L Stallings, Ruidoso News

Judge’s Comment: Very visual story. Most reviews of books do not draw me in. This one did. I enjoyed reading it.

Weekly I – Series or Continuing Coverage

2nd Place – Julia Dendinger, Valencia County News-Bulletin

1st Place – Austin Fisher, Rio Grande SUN

Judge’s Comment: A quote at the end of the story speaks volumes: “He is fearful of two things: the Rio Grande SUN and an audit.” This was just one example (of several by the SUN in this category) of journalists sinking their teeth into news and refusing to let go. Good beat reporting and diligence helped unpeel the layers, exposing the possible embezzlement of thousands of dollars. Keep up the good work.

Daily II – Series or Continuing Coverage

2nd Place – Jacqueline Devine, Alamogordo Daily News

1st Place – Staff, Eastern New Mexico News

Judge’s Comment: The lead story in this series is simply the most compelling read of everything I’ve read in this category. The accompanying photo, the terse and well-written story bring home a tragedy in a unique and extremely touching way. The rest of the stories in this continuing coverage are equally compelling

Daily I – Series or Continuing Coverage

2nd Place – Martin Salazar, Albuquerque Journal

1st Place – Elise Kaplan, Matthew Reisen and staff, Albuquerque Journal

Judge’s Comment: I’m giving this first place because the paper stayed on a story that wasn’t easy and it appears to have led to policy changes. There are a bunch of good continued coverages, but I simply liked this one the best.

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Weekly II – Investigative Reporting

1st Place – Scott Turner, John Larson, El Defensor Chieftain

Judge’s Comment: Nice series on an important issue.

Weekly I – Investigative Reporting

2nd Place – Amanda Martinez, Rio Grande SUN

1st Place – John Miller, Taos News

Judge’s Comment: It’s not every week a weekly newspaper expend the resources to put together such a package. The reporters, photographers and editors used their time well putting together something that serves the community. Good job!

Daily II – Investigative Reporting

2nd Place – Josh Kellogg and Hannah Grover, Farmington Daily Times

1st Place – Christine Steele, Benjamin Fisher, Silver City Daily Press

Judge’s Comment: A local lake run by the state is filled with trash. Not an earth-shaking story, except for the dogged reporting by Christine Steele of Silver City Press. The situation was so bad, including syringes, broken beer bottles, dirty diapers and burnt shipping pallets. Residents united to clean the lake — including state troopers in scuba gear. They were the only state officials who seemed to care. The state had a contract with a private company to clean up the lake. The company was supposed to submit invoices. There were no invoices. Why were there no invoices? Why did the state renew a contract when there was no sign the work was actually being done? At least five state officials refused to talk to Steele about the lake and the contract. Over months, she kept calling, kept submitting records requests, kept pushing. She was doing her job; the state officials weren’t.

Daily I – Investigative Reporting

2nd Place – Thom Cole, Santa Fe New Mexican

1st Place – Ed Williams, Searchlight New Mexico

Judge’s Comment: This piece more than the others really took upon itself the call to “investigate” an issue in your state. And what an important issue. This is really good, solid work.

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Weekly II- Design and Typography

2nd Place – Leota Harriman, The Independent

1st Place – Scott Turner, El Defensor Chieftain

Judge’s Comment: Excellent design, typography and use of color without overdoing it. Good job!

Weekly I – Design and Typography

2nd Place – Taos News staff, The Taos News

1st Place – Staff, Las Cruces Bulletin

Judge’s Comment: Clean, crisp design, up to date typography, excellent reproduction. Nice job!

Daily II – Design and Typography

2nd Place – Staff, Eastern New Mexico News

1st Place – Staff, Alamogordo Daily News

Judge’s Comment: Great color photo reproduction, uneven b&w;, but clean design, attractive typography and strong layout make this newspaper a winner.

Daily I- Design and Typography

2nd Place – Staff, Santa Fe New Mexican

1st Place – Staff, Albuquerque Journal

Judge’s Comment: Wonderful design, excellent typography, superior photo reproduction and use of color! The Journal’s approach even to section heds is clearly “the news comes first.” Wow!

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Weekly II – Best Sports Coverage

2nd Place – Ger Demarest, The Independent

1st Place – Dave Kavanaugh, Las Vegas Optic

Judge’s Comment: Good mix. Nice photos. Clean layout.

Weekly I – Best Sports Coverage

2nd Place – Gary Herron, Rio Rancho Observer

1st Place – Valencia County News-Bulletin

Daily II – Best Sports Coverage

2nd Place – Brienne Green, Artesia Daily Press

1st Place – Staff, Eastern New Mexico News

Judge’s Comment: A nice mix on the type and presentation of stories. Good layout.

Daily I – Best Sports Coverage

2nd Place – Jason Groves, Mark Rudi, Las Cruces Sun-News

1st Place – James Barron, Santa Fe New Mexican

Judge’s Comment: Very good stories, great boxing photo. Presentation is strong and clean. Solid writing.

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Weekly II – Best News Coverage

2nd Place – Jason W. Brooks, Las Vegas Optic

1st Place – Scott Turner, John Larson, El Defensor Chieftain

Judge’s Comment: I’m a sucker for a good front page and both examples provided do a good job of drawing the reader in. The information inside seems to be a wide selection that would of interest to large number of readers.

Weekly I – Best News Coverage

2nd Place – Staff, Valencia County News-Bulletin

1st Place – Jennifer Garcia, Rio Grande SUN

Judge’s Comment: This is a newspaper that clearly understands its role in the community and goes about doing it without blinking. The stories are relevant, reported well and sharply written. Truly a credit to its community.

Daily II – Best News Coverage

2nd Place – Staff, Eastern New Mexico News

1st Place – The Staff of the Farmington Daily Times, Farmington Daily Times

Judge’s Comment: Big pictures, good variety of stories and quality layout catches the eye.

Daily I – Best News Coverage

2nd Place – News Staff, Albuquerque Journal

1st Place – Las Cruces Sun-News staff, Las Cruces Sun-News

Judge’s Comment: The paper did a good job covering multiple angles of a single story. The overall layout was easiest to read.

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Weekly – Public Service

1st Place – The Taos News Editorial Team, The Taos News

Judge’s Comment: Comprehensive. Across multiple media to engage the widest range of voters. Encourages citizens to vote first, then shares paper’s recommendations. Election results were easily accessible on front page via pictures under name plate and then summary of results in a scannable box at the bottom.

Daily – Public Service

1st Place – Elise Kaplan, Matthew Reisen and staff, Albuquerque Journal

Judge’s Comment: The little girl’s story at the center of this story is heartbreaking. Kudos to the reporters for pulling all of the threads and affecting change. It would have been easy to write about the criminal proceedings and leave it at that. But this series gave a voice to the voiceless and hopefully will prevent another child from going through the same ordeal. Bravo.

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Weekly – Sunshine Award

1st Place – Amanda Martinez, Rio Grande SUN

Daily – Sunshine Award

2nd Place – Geoff Grammer, Jessica Dyer, Albuquerque Journal

1st Place – Hannah Grover, Farmington Daily Times

Judge’s Comment: Well done. Good to shine a light on Open Meetings Act violations.

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Weekly II – General Excellence

1st Place – Staff, El Defensor Chieftain

Weekly I – General Excellence

1st Place – Taos News staff, Taos News

Daily II – General Excellence

1st Place – Farmington Daily Times Staff, Farmington Daily Times

Daily I – General Excellence

1st Place – Staff, Santa Fe New Mexican

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Compiled by the New Mexico Press Association.

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