SANTA FE – The New Mexico Press Association recognized the Carlsbad Current-Argus with awards for business, environmental and agricultural and breaking news reporting at its annual Better Newspaper awards banquet Saturday.
Current-Argus reporter Adrian Hedden shared a first place award with Ed Williams, staff writer for Searchlight New Mexico in the Daily Class 2 Business Writing category. Searchlight New Mexico is a non-partisan, nonprofit news organization dedicated to investigative reporting in New Mexico.
Through their reporting, Williams and Hedden explored the impact of COVID-19 on the economy of the City of Carlsbad, an oil and gas community in southeast New Mexico.
“Beautifully articulates the complex web of costs of the pandemic to Carlsbad painting a vivid portrait from visceral individual experiences,” a judge commented about the entry.
The reporters details how nuclear fuel generated in New York, New Jersey and across the nation could find a home in New Mexico as Holtec International explored the construction of a repository in Carlsbad. The article outlined how the project might spark a new economic pillar for the state steeped in fossil fuel extraction.
The same reporting earned Hedden and Zambito a first place award in the Daily Class 2 Environmental and Agricultural Writing category.
The judge said: “This is a comprehensive overview of the issue, with details that give the readers a vivid sense of the community in the middle of it.”
Hedden also won first place in the Daily Newspapers Class 2 Investigative Reporting category for exposing how the lack of mental health resources in Otero County leads to higher number of criminal cases landing in court. The article was published in the Alamogordo Daily News.
Current-Argus reporter Mike Smith was awarded first place in the Daily Newspaper Class 2 Obituary News category.
Smith told the story of Artesia Police Officer Thomas Frazier who was killed in May 2021 in a vehicle crash while on duty.
The judge wrote: “Very informative about the life of Frazier and very interesting to read.”
Smith also shared a second place win with Carlsbad Current-Argus News Director Jessica Onsurez in the Daily Newspapers Class 2 Breaking News category.
The two reported on the flooding that killed one person in Eddy County in June 2021.
Read the article:One dead as result of flooding in Carlsbad
Onsurez won a second place award in the Daily Newspapers Class 2 Editorials category for her column on equity and responsible COVID-19 vaccine distribution. Onsurez explored the phenomenon of New Mexicans traveling to Texas to receive vaccinations early on in the pandemic.
The Current-Argus competes in the Daily Class 2 category the NMPA Better Newspaper Contest, which is reserved for publications with less than 10,000 circulation.
This year’s contest entries — for the time period from July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021 — were judged by Utah Press Association members.
Jessica Onsurez can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, @JussGREAT on Twitter at by phone at 575-628-5531.