The Independent newspaper won eight awards last weekend in the annual Better Newspaper Contest of the New Mexico Press Association.

Competing in the small weeklies division, the awards ranged from graphic design of display ads to the newspaper’s website, which placed second after the Taos News in a category open to all weekly newspapers in New Mexico.

Editor and publisher Leota Harriman won second place for General News Photo, first place for her column, “I’m Losing It!”, second place for a display ad for the Moriarty Lions Pancake Breakfast and first place on a shared byline with Jim Goodman for obituary news.

Ger Demarest won second place for sports writing and second place for his sports photo of a pole vault jump. Taking first place in sports photography was Joshua Harriman for his photo of the Torrance County 50+ Games.

James Reader and Leota Harriman got second place in the Best Website category. Reader owns Computer Shack in Edgewood and developed the site, which is maintained by Leota Harriman.

The contest garnered close to 1,300 entries from newspapers around the state, broken into four divisions, large and small daily newspapers, and large and small weekly newspapers.

The contest awards banquet was part of the Press Association’s annual convention, held this year at Tamaya Resort in Bernalillo. The convention is an annual gathering of print journalists in New Mexico.

Leota Harriman has served on the board of directors for the New Mexico Press Association for the past six years, this past year as second vice president. At the Association’s annual meeting, she was unanimously elected first vice president.

“Newspapers are an integral part of a thriving community, and I’m glad that a small newspaper like The Independent has a strong voice on this board,” Harriman said. “While there are significant challenges facing this industry, there’s also a ton of excitement and energy about making newspapers better. It’s fun to be a part of it.”

Leota Harriman
Leota Harriman

Leota started working for The Independent in 2006, working her way up through the ranks. An employee buyout in 2010 led to her ownership of the newspaper. Leota has served on the board of the N.M. Press Association, and is currently its First Vice President. She is passionate about health and wellness, especially mental health, and loves making art. She can be reached at news.ind.editor@gmail.com.