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.
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.
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.
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 [email protected]