Chieftain earns ‘Best News Coverage’ award

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El Defensor Chieftain picked up awards for best news coverage and best sports coverage in its division at the annual New Mexico Press Association convention on Sept. 30.

Overall, the Chieftain took home six awards in the association’s Better Newspaper Contest. The contest was judged by the Wyoming Press Association.

The Chieftain is part of Number Nine Media, Inc. with its sister newspapers the Valencia County News-Bulletin and Mountain View Telegraph. The company’s newspapers took home a total of 26 awards.

“Recognition that comes from our professional journalistic peers — through these awards — is always nice because it helps to confirm our work from that perspective. But our greatest sense of accomplishment comes when the communities we serve say ‘Good Job’,” said Rockford M. Hayes, vice president-community newspapers for Number Nine. “The dedicated staff at all three newspapers are deservedly proud of the many works that were recognized this weekend; but I know they are all the more passionate about engaging and serving the communities where they operate.”

In addition to bringing home the best news and best sports coverage awards, the editorial staff won the second place award for best headline, “Same stink, new day.”

“You took a common saying, flipped it up on its ear and used it to describe your story,” the judge wrote about the headline.

News writer Laura London took home the top award for obituary writing, which included all the weekly division categories, with her story “Remembering Don Klein.”

The judge’s comment for London’s story was, “What a great tribute — what put this above all the rest was the different quotes from others. Although they did not always agree with him, they respected him. Nice job.”

Editor Elva K. Österreich received the first place award for her continuing coverage of “Socorro Electric Co-op shenanigans.”

And reporter Karen Bailey-Bowman received an award in the environmental and agriculture writing category for “Rhodes family creates conservation legacy.”

“Tells an interesting story, well written from start to finish,” was the judge’s comment for Bailey-Bowman’s story.