The Taos News took home dozens of first and second places – including general excellence and public service – from the 2017 New Mexico Press Association and New Mexico Associated Press Managing Editors award banquet Nov. 11 at the Hilton Tamaya Resort.
It was the 16th time in the last 17 years that the newspaper has garnered the general excellence award.
“The General Excellence award from the New Mexico Press Association is a powerful reminder of something our readers already know – the staff of The Taos News is among the best in the business, producing top-notch reporting, photography, writing and ad design every week of the year, both in print and online,” said Publisher Chris Baker. “We are fortunate to employ so many talented individuals.”
Staff also garnered firsts in class-one weeklies for overall news coverage, investigative reporting, website design (Yvonne Pesquera) and environment reporting.
Tempo editor Rick Romancito won firsts for feature photo and review, plus a second place in obituary writing for his piece on artist George Chacón.
Sports editor Arcenio J. Trujillo won first place for sports columns. Education and town reporter Jesse Moya won first places for his story and his headline “One story, two story, three story, four” about a proposed four-story hotel.
Crime and courts reporter John Miller won first place for investigative reporting, feature writing and environmental/ agriculture reporting.
Environment and county reporter Cody Hooks won first place for his ongoing series regarding the DAPL water protectors
Former Taos News production manager and page designer Karin Eberhardt won firsts for best information graphic, rate card, real estate advertisement and retail advertisement. Shane Atkinson took first for auto advertisement among the class-one weeklies.
Long-time Taos News cartoonist Bill Baron, who produces the weekly editorial cartoon and Spanish Umberto cartoon, swept the category, taking first and second among newspapers of all sizes, both weeklies and dailies.
Chris Wood, advertising manager for The Taos News, served as the 2016-17 president of New Mexico Press Association, which has more than 30 member publications, both weeklies and dailies.
“We had a major transition. We had an executive director who had been there for eight years. He left in April, 2016,” Wood said.
New executive director Rory McClannahan took over in October 2016, coming from the East Mountain Telegraph.
Newspapers continue to face major challenges, Wood said, in trying to retain advertising revenue and build a client base. “The economics of the state are difficult. We’re seeing that in different parts of the state,” he said.
But Wood noted some bright spots, too, such as pulling in more than $800,000 in revenue for member newspapers in display advertising and legals from major organizations.