Newspaper industry association recognizes the Hobbs News-Sun, News-Sun staff among the best in New Mexico
Awards can be a good measure of an individual or organization, if those awards are based on talent, dedication, merit, and hard work.
At the New Mexico Press Association 2021 Better Newspaper Contest awards banquet in Santa Fe Saturday night, the News-Sun brought home 14 awards spanning everything from column writing, investigative reporting, special sections, news series, photography, and sports coverage. The competition was stiff among the many daily newspapers across the state serving communities similar to Hobbs.
“I am exceptionally proud of the work the staff did this last year,” said News-Sun publisher Daniel Russell. “In a year where they had to deal with the COVID-19 restrictions as well as our editor’s ongoing battle with cancer, staff showed up to work hard every day. The variety of news events and topics by staff shows we continue to strive to bring the readers a full picture of what is happening in our area. I want to thank staff for all their hard work.”
Out of those 14 awards, six were first place and eight were second place.
News-Sun sports editor Jason Farmer won not only first place for sports columns with his column, “Do we still need the National Anthem before sporting events?” from the Feb. 14 edition of the News-Sun, but another of his columns, “Why won’t opponents play Hobbs?” from the March 19 edition also took the second place spot. The judges note on Jason’s first place column read,”Timely idea to maintain sanctity of the National Anthem by reducing the number of times it’s played at sports events. Novel idea.”
Managing editor Blake Ovard won first place for columns with his column, “Being a caregiver is a second full-time job” from the Jan. 29-30 edition of the News-Sun. Of Blake’s column, the judges note read,”Heart wrenching story of love and devotion fueling one man’s perseverance.” In the columns category, the News-Sun also captured second place with editor Todd Bailey’s column, “Holiday brings a year’s worth of memories,” June 2 edition.
Blake also brought home a first place award for educational writing with the story, “Where are the children?” from the Dec. 20, 2020 edition of the News-Sun. Of the story about students leaving New Mexico schools to attend classes in person in Texas, judges wrote, “Such an important and interesting question. This story had lots of stats and great detail.”
News-Sun photographer and reporter Andy Brosig picked up three first place awards, and like the columns and sports columns categories, Andy took both first and second in the sports photo category. Of the first place photo, the Hobbs Eagles baseball team celebratory players mob on the field when winning to advance to the state finals in the June 25-26 edition, the judges notes read, “Some great details here from a great moment. The players stand out from the clean, dark background. Really nice moment.” Andy’s second place photo was of the Hobbs Eagles soccer team on the front sports page of the April 7 edition of the News-Sun.
Another photography category the News-Sun took both first and second place was the feature photo category with Andy winning first place for his photo of the Hobbs Christmas tree installation in the Dec. 3 edition of the News-Sun. Judges said, “A very interesting, almost surreal image of the masked employees in a bucket, framed nicely, through the tree.” Blake won the second place for feature photo with “Heat relief” on the front page of the July 29, 2020 edition.
Andy’s final first place award of his photographic trifecta was in the category of news photo for his photo, “Fire outbreak” fromof the March 24 edition. Of the fire photo, judges stated, “Not a typical fire photo. A good perspective.”
Second-place awards earned by the News-Sun, aside from those already mentioned with the first-place awards included:
Christina Rankin and Gabrielle Arsiaga’s coverage of the four children who disappeared from Hobbs while in CYFD custody, only to reappear in North Carolina about five months later when the youngest was dropped off at a hospital with skull fractures and brain bleeding, earned a second place award in the “investigative reporting” category.
Jason and sports writer Peter Stein earned a second place award for overall sports coverage in the best sports coverage category.
And, the entire News-Sun staff won second place awards in the series category for the year-long series, “Touched by COVID,” and in the category for special sections for the many special sections the News-Sun produces throughout the year.