The New Mexico Press Association held its 111th conference Oct. 25 and 26 in Albuquerque, where The Independent newspaper won seven awards, including General Excellence.

Awards brought home by The Independent were first place to Leota Harriman for News Writing and first place for General News Photo. The newspaper also garnered second place for Best Website (competing against all weekly newspapers in the state) and second place for its Classified Ad Section.

Photo by Thomas Campbell.

Reporter Thomas Campbell won second place for General News Photo, meaning The Independent swept the category, and second place for Continuing Coverage or Series, for his series on guns and what people think about them.

General Excellence is awarded to one newspaper in each size division, and among small weekly newspapers in New Mexico, The Independent came out on top. “The Better Newspaper Contest hosted by the Press Association is peer review, and judged by journalists in other press associations,” Harriman said. “That’s what I like about it. It’s other working journalists, editors and photographers who decide what is best.”

The Albuquerque Journal won the award for large dailies in the state, with the Roswell Daily Record receiving the award for small daily newspapers. In the weekly category, the Taos News won General Excellence among large weekly newspapers.

The press association received about 1,200 entries from about 35 newspapers from around the state; the contest was judged this year by the Oklahoma Press Association.

The awards were given out at the convention, held this year at the Marriott Hotel in Albuquerque.

Left to right, Babette Hermann of the Gallup Sun is the incoming 2nd Vice President of the N.M. Press Association; Barbara Beck of the Roswell Daily Record is 1st Vice President; Clara Garcia is the newly elected president; and Leota Harriman is past president. The board is majority female this year. Photo by Thomas Campbell.

Harriman also passed the torch as president of the board of directors to Clara Garcia, editor and publisher of the Valencia County News-Bulletin. Harriman will remain on the board as past president.