SANTA FE – 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 Carlsbad Current-Argus won two first-place and three second-place awards.
Current-Argus Reporter Adrian Hedden and USA Today Network‘s Energy, Economics and Transportation Reporter Thomas Zambito were awarded first place in the Daily Class II Environmental or Agricultural Writing category, for co-reporting on the story of Paul Pino, whose entire family was affected by nuclear weapons testing at the Trinity Site.
Read the winning article:‘Dumping ground?’: Human impacts of New Mexico nuclear industry haunt proposed waste project
The judges said: “This story was very well done. Profiling Mr. Pino was effective in conveying the impacts a nuclear storage site could have. Ending on a solutions-oriented note really wrapped up the story nicely. Great photos, also!”
Photography for the reporting was done by Las Cruces Sun-News Photographer Nathan Fish
First place in the Daily Class II Category X: COVID-19 in Your Community was awarded to Hedden for his coverage of efforts to use a grand jury petition to challenge Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s authority to issue health mandates during the coronavirus pandemic.
Judges wrote: “Tackled this still growing issue with a firm focus on local and a firm grasp on presenting a well thought out, unbiased look into COVID and how polarizing it has become.”
Current-Argus Reporter Mike Smith won second place in the Daily Class II Best Ongoing/Continuing Coverage. Smith’s faithful reporting on the work to remediate the Carlsbad Brine Well included articles on the New Mexico Legislature’s continued funding of the project, challenges that caused the remediation to pause and the project’s ultimate completion announced by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham.
Read the winning article:Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announces remediation work of Carlsbad Brine Well complete
Smith and Hedden received second place in the Daily Class II Environmental or Agricultural Writing Category for their reporting on the impacts and causes of earthquakes in the Texas/New Mexico region. Submission to the category included articles on the link between hydraulic fracturing and seismic activity, in addition to the growing number of recorded large earthquakes in the region.
Read the winning article:‘The time is now’: New Mexico taking action on oil and gas-induced earthquakes
Smith, Hedden and Current-Argus News Director Jessica Onsurez were awarded second place in the Daily Class II Breaking News category for their coverage of the death of 12-year-old Brent Sullivan as a result of a fentanyl overdose.
Hedden also shared first place in the Best Ongoing/Continuing Coverage category with Las Cruces Sun-News Reporter Justin Garcia and Alamogordo Daily News Reporter Nicole Maxwell, for their coverage of the McBride Fire that devastated Lincoln County. The award was given to Ruidoso News, a weekly newspaper in Ruidoso, New Mexico.
A judge wrote: “You were there when the community needed you! Great ongoing updates in the coverage and strong images and video support.”
In addition, Onsurez was awarded first place the Breaking News category for her coverage of deadly flooding in Lincoln County for the Ruidoso News.
A newspaper from each division is awarded for General Excellence, the top award. This year’s winners are: Santa Fe New Mexican, Daily I; Farmington Daily Times, Daily 2; Taos News, Weekly I; and El Defensor Chieftain in Socorro, Weekly 2.
The contest was judged by the Wyoming Press Association.
The awards were handed out at the NMPA 113th Annual Convention.
Jessica Onsurez can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at @JussGREAT.