Staff members of the Santa Fe New Mexican won 14 first-place awards in the New Mexico Press Association’s Better Newspapers Contest.

The winners, announced at an online event Monday, included awards in news and sports coverage, columns, photography, advertising and special sections. The Oklahoma Press Association judged news platforms from throughout the state.

The New Mexican competes in Daily Class 1, the category for the largest daily newspapers with circulations of 11,000 or more.

New Mexican staffers winning first-place awards included Elspeth Hilbert for retail advertisement color and house advertisements; Rick Artiaga for a shared/signature page; and the newspaper’s design and marketing staff for a digital advertising campaign.

Editorial winners included staff writer Scott Wyland, who won two first-place awards — one for environmental and agricultural writing for his piece on how COVID-19 would affect New Mexico’s ranchers, and the other for business writing on a story about how a ruling on the spotted owl was affecting lumber operators. Daniel J. Chacón was awarded second in business writing.

Milan Simonich won for columns on how an 11th-hour “call of the Senate” slowed the political process during the legislative session, and political reporter Jens Gould won for best series on “Behind the Wall,” a look at U.S. immigration policy and how it was affecting people on both sides of the border.

In photography, Matt Dahlseid won for feature photography with a photograph of a young girl reveling in a flock of pigeons on the Santa Fe Plaza. The New Mexican’s Olivia Harlow captured second place in the category.

Deborah Villa won for special sections for the newspaper’s annual Santa Fe Indian Market guide.

Longtime staffer Robert Nott garnered two first-place awards, in news writing and feature writing. His winning entry in news writing was a story about how some leaders in Grants planned to defy state health orders during the COVID-19 pandemic. His feature was on the city of Blackdom, an early 20th-century town in southeastern New Mexico where some Black people felt safe at a time when few were openly welcomed in New Mexico. Jennifer Levin of The New Mexican’s Pasatiempo magazine took second in the feature writing category.

The newspaper’s design and copy editing team won first place for design and typography.

James Barron and Will Webber were winners in best sports coverage, with Barron taking second place in sports writing and Webber second in sports columns.

In all, New Mexican staffers won 11 second-place awards.

The New Mexican’s sister newspaper, The Taos News, won the general excellence award for weekly Class 1 newspapers.

List of awards

‘The New Mexican’

Retail Advertising, color: First place: Elspeth Hilbert

Advertising Campaign, digital: First place: New Mexican Staff

House Advertising: First Place: Elspeth Hilbert

Shared/Signature Page: First Place: Rick Artiaga

Supplements or Special Sections: First Place: Deborah Villa

Web Advertisement: Second Place: Henry M. Lopez and staff

Headline Writing: Second Place: Kristina Dunham

Review: Second Place: Jennifer Levin

Sports Columns: Second Place: Will Webber

Education Writing: Second Place: Will Webber, Dillon Mullan

Environmental and Agriculture Writing: First Place: Scott Wyland. Second Place: Daniel J. Chacón.

Business Writing: First Place: Scott Wyland

Columns: First Place: Milan Simonich

General News Photo: Second place: Luis Sánchez Saturno

Feature Photo: First Place: Matt Dahlseid. Second Place: Olivia Harlow

Sports Writing: Second Place: James Barron

News Writing: First Place: Robert Nott

Breaking News: Second Place: Ari Burack, Dillon Mullan

Feature Writing: First Place: Robert Nott. Second Place: Jennifer Levin

Best Series: First Place: Jens Gould

Design and Typography: Santa Fe New Mexican staff

Best Sports Coverage: First Place: James Barron, Will Webber

News Coverage: Second Place: Santa Fe New Mexican staff

‘The Taos News’

Retail Advertising, black and white: First place: Sean Ratliff. Second place: Shane Atkinson

Retail Advertising, color: First place: Paul Gutches. Second place: Chris Wood

Obituary page: First place: Mary Chavez

Classified Advertising section: First place: Mary Chavez and Gabrielle Sanchez

Advertising campaign, print: First place: Chris Wood. Second place: Sean Ratliff

House advertisement: First place: Paul Gutches. Second place: Karin Eberhardt

Advertising campaign, digital: First place: Paul Gutches

Shared signature page: 1. Paul Gutches. 2. Sean Ratliff

Supplements or special sections: First place: Karen Eberhardt. Second place: Karen Eberhardt

Breaking news, digital: First Place: Taos News staff

Web advertisement: First place: Sean Ratliff

Best website: First place: Paul Gutches and Taos News staff

Education writing: First place: Doug Cantwell

General news photo: First place: Morgan Timms. Second place: Elva Osterreich

Sports photo: Second place: Morgan Timms

Photo series: First place: Morgan Timms

Online photo gallery: First place: Morgan Timms. Second place: Morgan Timms

News writing: First place: John Miller

Feature writing: First place: Staci Matlock. Second place: John Miller

Best ongoing/continuing coverage: Second place: Doug Cantwell

Design and typography: First place: Karin Eberhardt

Public service: First place: Taos News

General excellence: Taos News

(3) comments

Barbara Harrelson

Congratulations to all the great and talented people who create and deliver our excellent daily newspaper. We are blessed in Santa Fe to have such a publication and such dedicated news professionals. Thank You!

Mary Coffman

Congratulations to our local newspaper and staff. Well done! It is so important these days to have local news covered by independent journalists. I am proud to live in a community with a family owned newspaper.

Jay Bunker

Kudos to the hard working staff of our excellent newspaper for these well deserved awards!

Welcome to the discussion.

Thank you for joining the conversation on Please familiarize yourself with the community guidelines. Avoid personal attacks: Lively, vigorous conversation is welcomed and encouraged, insults, name-calling and other personal attacks are not. No commercial peddling: Promotions of commercial goods and services are inappropriate to the purposes of this forum and can be removed. Respect copyrights: Post citations to sources appropriate to support your arguments, but refrain from posting entire copyrighted pieces. Be yourself: Accounts suspected of using fake identities can be removed from the forum.