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The Los Alamos Monitor earned a record-setting 15 awards in this year’s New Mexico Press Association/Associated Press Media Editors Better Newspaper Contest. The 2013 competition was judged by the Wyoming Press Association.
NMPA officials said this year’s contest was the most competitive in history with nearly 1,800 entries from member news organizations from across New Mexico.
“The sheer number and the categories where we racked up first or second place awards is indicative of the talented individuals and their collective level of commitment that drives our service to the Los Alamos community day in and day out,” Publisher Keven Todd said.
“This recognition extends well beyond just the newsroom. We have a small team here and these awards are shared by everyone from the front office to the post-press packaging department.”
The Los Alamos Monitor took First Place awards for Breaking News Story, Series or Continuing Coverage, Investigative Reporting, Environmental and Agriculture Writing, Education Writing, Photo Series, Breaking News-Digital, Supplements and Special Sections, and Best Rate Card.
Additionally, the news organization was recognized with Second Place awards for Series or Continuing Coverage, Feature Writing, Sports Writing, Sports Photo, General News Photo, and Photo Series.
Aside from efforts that involved the entire staff, individuals responsible for some of these awards include John Severance, Mike Maez-Cote, Arin McKenna, Tris DeRoma, and John McHale.
“I’m particularly pleased that our 50th Anniversary retrospective magazine took top honors among Supplements and Special Sections,” Todd said.
“Pulling all the pieces together to produce that publication was literally a huge team effort that involved just about our entire crew. It was a monumental undertaking trying to recap highlights from the first 50 years of the Los Alamos Monitor, and the staff really earned this award.”
The news operation has been engaged in an ongoing content improvement process for more than three years. That process involves internal critique sessions, soliciting and utilizing reader feedback, and a more reader-focused approach in terms of how reporters and editors develop and handle stories.
“Our readers give us a grade every day, and in terms of this contest our peers also have the chance to grade our work as well,” Todd said.
“The fact that we continue to bring home more awards each year is an indication that our grade is improving and our efforts are bearing fruit.”
Todd has also been elected to serve on the NMPA Board of Directors for the coming year.