New Mexico Winners in National Federation of Press Women Communication Contest

Megan Kamerick, photo courtesy NMPBS

Megan Kamerick
photo courtesy NMPBS

Results of the National Federation of Press Women Communications Contest have been announced and New Mexicans received 13 first place wins out of a total of 37 awards overall.

Megan Kamerick of KNME and KUNM, the public radio and television stations of the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, received three first place awards, as well as an additional third place award in the Radio and Television Division. Her first place wins were in the categories of Prepared Report, Interview and Talk Show. Kamerick is the Morning Edition Host on KUNM radio and is also a television producer on KNME public television.

New Mexicans also won three first place awards in the Book Division. Iris Keltz won first place in the Nonfiction books for adult readers – Biography or Autobiography category for her memoir Unexpected Bride in the Promised Land: Journeys in Palestine and Israel. In 1967, Keltz was a young American Jew hitchhiking her way across Europe. She met and married a Palestinian poet, musician and fellow world traveler just as the Six Day War was breaking out. Keltz’s story is intertwined with that of the history of the Palestinians and Jews and comes full circle when she returns to the Promised Land 50 years later. Unexpected Bride was published by Nighthawk Press LLC.

Ross Van Dusen won first place in the Children’s Books – Nonfiction category for What makes the lightening? Serving as both writer and illustrator, this is Van Dusen’s third book in his science series for elementary-aged children. The book was published by Rio Grande Press.

Sylvia Ramos Cruz, an Albuquerque poet, won first place in the Essay, chapter, or section of a book category for Trilogy: Thoughts on price, value, worth.

Reporters and journalists in New Mexico picked up five first place awards in the Writing category.

A collaborative series published on and edited by Las Crucen Heath Haussamen won the Investigative Reporting category for “Distressed: A look at behavioral health in Southern New Mexico.” The series was funded by a grant from the Foundation for Investigative Journalism and included four news stories and two documentary videos. Las Cruces Sun News reporters Carlos Andres López and Diana Alba Soular and photojournalist Robin Zielinski collaborated with Haussamen on the series, and KRWG’s FM public radio station host Anthony Moreno also contributed reporting.

Two stories published on the NM Political Report website received first place awards: “It runs in the family: Decades apart, father and son lead sanctuary efforts” by Andy Lyman in the Feature Story – Online Publication category and Laura Paskus won in the Speciality articles – Green/Environmental category for “Running Dry: Groundwater levels are dropping across the West, including in the East Mountains” and “Rapidly warming Southwest faces water challenges, choices.”

Another first place win in the Specialty articles category for History was awarded to Diane Layden for “Albuquerque holocaust survivors honored” Parts I and II that were published in the New Mexico Jewish Society newsletter “Legacy.”

Western author Melody Groves took first place in the Personality profile – 500 words or less category for her story “Milton J. Yarberry: Albuquerque’s first town marshal, Jerked to Jesus,” which was published in “True West Magazine.”

Submitted in the Collegiate/Education category under the Writing – News division, Robert Salas, University of New Mexico student, won first place for his article “UNM grads are leaving the state,” published on the New Mexico in Depth website.

In the Advertising category, Videos for Website – Corporate or for-profit division, Marsela Angulo Tucker with Artotems Co, won first place for “Banged-Up Heart” book trailer.








2018 Officers for New Mexico Press Women

The 2018 -2019 Board of New Mexico Press Women has begun planning for the state conference in Albuquerque in April 2019. The new board members met at the Canyon Club to begin mapping out plans for the conference and an interesting variety of other activities for the coming year.

2018-2019 officers for NM Press Women (l or r) Carolyn Carlson, Marcos Torrez, Carol Kreis, Karen Wentworth, Jessica Savage, Ludella Awad, Sherry Robinson, Bud Russo, Damien Willis, Sherri Burr, Loretta Hall, Kathleen Hessler

2018-2019 Officers for NMPW (l to r) Carolyn Carlson, Marcos Torrez, Carol Kreis, Karen Wentworth, Jessica Savage, Ludella Awad, Sherry Robinson, Bud Russo, Damien Willis, Sherri Burr, Loretta Hall, Kathleen Hessler

New Mexico Press Women 2018 Contest Winners

NMPW President Sherri Burr (l) presents outgoing NMPW president Loretta Hall with award

Incoming NMPW President (l) Sherri Burr with Outgoing NMPW President Loretta Hall
courtesy Bill Diven

New Mexico Press Women elected new officers at the annual banquet, which also featured the 2018 NMPW Communications Contest winners.

Megan Kamerick won first place in overall excellence for her awards in the 2018 New Mexico Press Women Communications Contest. Heath Haussamen was second in individual overall excellence, and Ruth Friesen was third. Colleen Keane and Sherry Robinson tied for an honorable mention.

The overall excellence award is tallied on points earned in individual categories.

In organizational awards, New Mexico Political Report won first place for overall excellence, Rio Grande Books was second, and New Mexico In Depth was third.

NMPW received 173 entries from 58 entrants in 126 categories in the annual communications contest.

“From what I could see, New Mexico has abundant talent with many excellent people doing great work on all kinds of media platforms,” said Contest Chair Carolyn Carlson.

Here are the awards listings by category:

News story, Print Newspaper:

1. Xchelzen Peña, New Mexico In Depth, “Hopes and Fears: One DACA Recipient’s Story”;

2. Trip Jennings, New Mexico In Depth, “Closed Loopholes, Medicaid Cuts and Potential Higher Health Insurance Costs Buried in Gov. Supported Bill”;

3. Colleen Keane, Navajo Times, “Jaa’abani’ Needs Help, Now!”; HM Colleen Keane, “No DAPL protesters: Divest!” and “Facebook and Twitter are not enough.”

Online Newspaper:

1. Andy Lyman and Joey Peters, New Mexico Political Report, “Two Iraqi Refugees In NM Helped US Military, Now They’re Facing Deportations”;

2. Heath Haussamen, NM Political Report, “A Day After Charlottesville for News Story,”

3. Heath Haussamen, “Layoffs Hit Las Cruces Sun-News.”

Continuing Coverage or unfolding news:

1. Marjorie Childress, New Mexico In Depth, “Money in Politics in the Albuquerque Mayoral Race”;

2. Andy Lyman, NM Political Report, “UNM Whistleblower Trial Coverage”;

3. Sherry Robinson, Gallup Independent, “Federal Grand Jury indicts,” “Same Names Come Up in Fake Indian Jewelry,” “For Special Agent, rooting out fake Native Jewelry.”

Investigative Reporting:

1. Heath Haussamen, NM Political Report,Distressed: A look At Behavioral Health In Southern NM”;

2. Tie, Heath Haussamen, “Is Spaceport America Taking Flight?” and Jeff Proctor, Trip Jennings, Marjorie Childress, New Mexico In Depth, “Stung in Albuquerque”;

3. Tie, Sherry Robinson, Gallup Independent, “Utah Navajo Health System Directors Profit,” “UNHS Bonuses the smell of success?” and Laura Paskus, NM Political Report, “State Remains Silent on Lead Poisoning Data.”

Enterprise Reporting:

1.Laura Paskus, NM Political Report, “Up In Smoke: Opportunities on Climate, Renewables Shunned during Martinez Administration”;

2. Jeff Proctor, New Mexico In Depth, “Throwing Away the Key: New Mexico’s 30-year Lifers Denied a Fair Shot at Parole”;

3. Trip Jennings and Sylvia Ulloa, New Mexico In Depth, “The Slow Motion Unraveling of New Mexico’s Medicaid Crackdown.”

Editorial/Opinion, Print Newspaper:

1. Rudolfo Carrillo, Weekly Alibi, “Mijo, I’m Sick”;

2. Sharon Hendrix, Albuquerque Journal, “Archdiocese’ Disclosure a Step Toward Global Healing”;

3. Sylvia M. Ramos, Albuquerque Journal, “Nondisclosure Agreements Must Go”; HM Dan Vukelich, ABQ Free Press, “Social Media as Weaponry.”

Editorial/Opinion, Online Publication:

1. Janet K. Brennan, JB Stillwater Literary Magazine, Chicken Soup for the Soul, Taj Mahal Review, The Poetry Magazine, Insights Magazine, “A Myopic View of Existentialism.”

Feature Story, Print Newspaper:

1. Coleen Keane, Navajo Times, “Jaa’abani’ needs help, now!”

Feature Story, Magazine, Newsletter, or Other Print Publication:

1. Loretta Hall, Air and Space Smithsonian, “Space Tourists Like Us”

Feature Story, Online Publication:

1. Andy Lyman, NM Political Report, “It Runs In The Family; Decades Apart, Father and Son Lead Sanctuary Efforts”;

2. Laura Paskus, NM Political Report, “The Heart of Darkness: A Walk Through The Scorched Landscapes”;

3. Heath Haussamen, NM Political Report, “Brewery Helps Breathe New Life Into Downtown.”

Personality Profile, fewer than 500 words:

1. Melody Groves, Enchantment Magazine, “Milton J. Yarberry, Jerked to Jesus” and HM, “She grew up to be a knight.”

Personality Profile, more than 500 words:

1. Wendel Sloan, “Professor’s Life Filled With Music,”

2. Colleen Keane, “Dine Students Honor Family”;

3. Diane Schmidt, “A Visit with Rabbi Evelyn Baz”: HM Matthew Reichbach, NM Political Report, “A Moral Choice.”

Specialty Articles, Business:

1. Marie C. Baca, Albuquerque Journal, “Amazon Bursts Into Groceries” and “For Many, Medicare Costs offset Social Security Raise”;

2. Sherry Robinson, Gallup Independent, “Feds: Fake Jewelry Has Big Names.”

Specialty Articles, Education:

1. Joey Peters, NM Political Report, “APS Facing Federal Scrutiny For Handling of Disabled Student” and “State College Exchange Program Sees Cuts Amid Budget Troubles”;

3. Sylvia Ulloa, New Mexico In Depth, “Education in New Mexico.”

Specialty Articles, Government or Politics:

1.  Andy Lyman, NM Political Report, “Source of Lewis’ Attack Line: Santolina Exec, Not Newspaper” and “Youth Aren’t Just Watching, They’re Running for Office”;

2. Matthew Reichbach, “A Big Cost to NM If Congress Doesn’t Act On Children’s Health Program” and “New Mexico Reserves Among Lowest in the Nation.”

Specialty Articles, Environmental:

1. Laura Paskus, NM Political Report, “Running Dry: Groundwater Levels Are Dropping Across the West.”

Specialty Articles, History:

1. Dianne Layden, LEGACY, Newsletter of the New Mexico Jewish Historical Society, “Albuquerque Holocaust Survivors Honored,” parts 1 and 2;

2. Sherry Robinson, Wild West, “Horsehead Crossing on the Pecos” and La Cronica, “Little Known Bankhead Highway Linked Two Coasts.”

Specialty Articles, Religion:

2. Diane Schmidt, NM Jewish Link, “A Jewish and Navajo Marriage.”

Specialty Articles, Reviews:

1. Loretta Hall, National Space Society, “Picture This” and “Amazing Stories of the Space Age.”

Specialty Articles, Social Issues:

1. Colleen Keane, Navajao Times, “Justice Undone” and “Three Years After, Urban Indian Population Remains Vulnerable”;

2. Diane Schmidt, NM Jewish Link, “Muslims and Jews Unite.”

Specialty Articles, Travel:

1. Thomas Reavey Jr., N Magazine, “Las Cruces, New Mexico” and “A Visit to Trinity Site;

2. Evan Belknap, Sandoval Signpost, “Time off, Snow Caves” and “Time off, Wondering, Looking.”

Columns, General:

1.  Patricia Dobson, Eastern NM News, “Keep your near, dear ones close” and ” Love shines when you let past go;

2. Colleen Keane, Navajo Times, “Donaldson shares lessons learned” and “Book provides a view of Navajo from Belfast”;

3. Wendel Sloan, Portales News Tribune, “Other side of tragedy is profound beauty” and “Seems my father had life figured out”; HM Claudette Sutton, Tumbleweeds, “A Very Special Ant” and “Going Big.”

Columns, Personal Opinion:

1. Sherry Robinson, New Mexico News Services, “Talking About Accountability Is Easier Than Being Accountable” and “How Poor Do We Want To Be?”;

2. Heath Haussamen, NM Political Report; 3. Merilee Dannemann, New Mexico News Services, “Governor doesn’t seem interested” and “Recent shooting”; HM Anna Redsand, Gallup Independent, “The Flow of Ministry” and “Be the Light” and Sherry Robinson, New Mexico News Services, “After 43 years of sexual harassment.”

Publications Regularly Edited by Entrant, Newspaper:

1. Barb Belknap, Sandoval Signpost.

Publications Regularly Edited by Entrant, Magazine, Newsletter, or Other Publication:

1. Claudette Sutton, Katy Yanda and Steve Harrington, Tumbleweeds Newspaper for Santa Fe Families.

Single Photograph, News or Feature:

1. Ruth Friesen, Wagon Tracks, “Wagon Wheel,”

2. Ruth Friesen, “Praying for a View”;

3. Ruth Friesen, “Total Eclipse.”

General Photo:

1. Ruth Friesen, Wagon Tracks, “Rainy Roman Afternoon”

Photo Essay:

1. Helena de la Paz, “Spirit Collage”;

2. Ruth Friesen, Wagon Tracks, “Total Eclipse along the National Historic Trails.”


1. Merimee Moffitt and Georgia Santa Maria, Berlin Poems and Photographs”

2. Heath Haussamen, “Protesters Confront Border Patrol”;

3. Ruth Friesen, Wagon Tracks, “Hot Tire for a Wagon Wheel”: HM Ruth Friesen, “Symposium 2017 at Olathe, Kansas.”

Book Designed by Entrant:

1. Jesse Ehrenberg, Surprise.

Prepared Report, Radio:

1. Megan Kamerick and Acacia Squires, KUNM, “Schools Will Soon Have to Put in Writing If They Lunch Shame”;

2. Megan Kamerick and Nina Gregory, KUNM, “With This Publisher Native American Superheros Fly High.”

Prepared Report, Television:

1. Kathleen McCleery, PBS News Hour, “A Firehouse Answers The Call for Health Care”;

2. Megan Kamerick and Nina Gregory, KNME, “Passions Flare Over Memory of Manhattan Project”;

3. Megan Kamerick and Nina Gregory, Native Americans Tell Their Own Superhero Stories At Indigenous Comic Con.

Special Programming, Television:

1. Megan Kamerick and Sarah Gustavus, KNME, “Preparing for The End of Life.”

Interview, Radio or Television:

1. Megan Kamerick, “Book Details Tragic Story of Shining Girls Poisoned by Radium”;

2. Megan Kamerick and Tara Walch, “Maria ‘Masha’ Alyokhina of Pussy”;

3. Leora Zeitlin, KRWG-FM, “Irish Fiddle Master Brian Conway”; HM Leora Zeitlin, “Legendary pianist Misha Dichter” and HM Megan Kamerick, “Women in Technology.”

Talk Show, Radio or Television:

1. Megan Kamerick and Elaine Baumgartel, Bidding for Corporate Development;

2. Megan Kamerick, “Genizaros and New Mexico’s Legacy of Slavery”;

3. Megan Kamerick, “Where Research Meets Community to Create Change.”

Website Edited or Managed by Entrant, Nonprofit, Government, or Educational:

1. Kira Sadler, “Voices for Biodiversity”;

2. Diana M. Sandoval-Tapia, Aileen O’Catherine and Elizabeth Peralta, New Mexico Workers’ Compensation Administration Official Website;

3. Rose Marie Kern, Southwest Writers Website.

Blogs, Nonprofit, Government, or Educational:

1. Michelle Worley, “East Mountains Area Goes Vegan” and “Nostalgia for Christmas in Madrid, NM.”

Blogs, Personal:

1. Norine Dresser, “Norine’s New Life @ 80”;

2. Shirley Melis, “Tips on Writing a Memoir” and “On Working with an Editor”;

3. Merilee Dannamen, “Local Employment Rules” and “Love Horses.”

Social Media Campaign, Nonprofit, Government, or Educational:

1. Julie Abbiss, Facebook and Instagram, “Five Days of Gender Violence.”

Videos for Website, Nonprofit, Government, or Educational:

1. Circe Olsen Woessner, Military Family Museum website, “Military Family Stories.”

Videos for Website, Corporate or For-Profit:

1. Marisela Angulo Tucker, Art Tucker and Shirley Melis,, “Banged-Up Heart Book Trailer.”

Videos for Website, Special-Interest:

1. Marisela Angulo Tucker, Art Tucker and Rebecca Fitton,, “Wave Rider” book trailer.

PR Materials, Newsletters: Nonprofit, Government, or Educational:

1. Marisela Angulo Tucker and Andrea Cassutt, Santa Fe Youth Symphony Monthly Newsletter;

2. Marisela Angulo Tucker and Leanne DeVane , Santa Fe Public Schools Music Department Newsletter;

3. Rose Marie Kern, Southwest Sage Newsletter.

Catalogs, Manuals, and Handbooks:

1. Diana M. Sandoval-Tapia and Aileen O’Catherine, Workers Compensation Administration, Worker Guidebook.


1. Claudette Sutton and Javier Baros, “From Duck Dynasty to Diploma”;

2. Melody Groves, “Five Things I Wish I’d Known Before I Started A Writing Career.”

Collegiate Writing, News:

1. Robert Salas, New Mexico In Depth, “UNM Grads are Leaving the State”;

2. Melorie Begay, “Fracking Boom Leads to Tension in Navajo Communites.”

Novels for Adult Readers:

1. Anne Hillerman, Harper Collins, Song of the Lion;

2. Joanne S. Bodin, Mercury Heartlink, Orchid of the Night;

3. Janet Greger, Askenbaaken and Kent, Riddled With Clues; HM Janet Greger, She Didn’t Know Her Place.

Books, Biography or Autobiography:

1. Iris Keltz, Nighthawk Press, Unexpected Bride in the Promised Land;

2. Shirley Melis, Terra Nova Books, Banged Up Heart, Dancing with Love.

Books, History:

1. Richard Melzer, Rio Grande Books, Capt. Maximiliano Luna: A New Mexico Rough Rider;

2. Joseph Sanchez and Anglelica Sanchez-Clark, Rio Grande Books, Historical Route 66: A New Mexican Crossroads;

3. Robert Torrez, Rio Grande Books, Voices From the Past: The Comanche Raid of 1776 and other Tales of New Mexico History; HM Richard Melzer and John Taylor, Rio Grande Books, Tragic Trails and Enchanted Journeys.

Books, Travel:

1. Riley Mitchell, Rio Grande Books, The Essential Paranormal Bucket List;

2. Slim Randles, Rio Grande Books, The Fly Fisherman’s Bucket List.

General Nonfiction:

1. Dede Feldman, Dede Feldman Co., “Another Way Forward: Grassroots Solutions From New Mexico;

2. Rose Marie Kern, Solar Ranch Publishing,  Air to Ground.

Children’s Books, Fiction:

2. Kathy Schuit, Kathy Schuit Publishing, Where Does This Line Go: Penndittle E. Turtle Wants To Know;

3. Barbe Awalt, Rio Grande Books, T’adoo naaldbos wolt’a’i bidilnihi – Don’t Touch This Book and Barbe Awalt, Rio Grande Books, No Toques Este Libro! Don’t Touch This Book; HM  Loretta Hall, Rio Grande Books, Miguel & Michele Visit Spaceport America and Rachel Bate, Desert Bliss.

Children’s Books, Nonfiction:

1. Ross Van Dusen, Rio Grande Books, What Makes the Lightning?

Short Story:

2. Rita A. Popp, Wildside Press, “Ping Pong Girl”;

3. Terry Rose, Oasis Journal, My Driver’s License Photograph; HM Patricia Walkow, The View from the Office.

Short Story Collection:

HM Janet Gregor, Other People’s Mother.

Single Poem:

3. Sylvia Ramos Cruz, Encore: Prize Poems, Memorial Day 2016: Montefiore Jewish Cemetery, Las Vegas, NM

Book of Poetry:

2. Jesse Ehrenberg, Foothills Publishing, Surprise.

Essay, Chapter, or Section in a Book:

1. Sylvia Ramos Cruz, Beatlick Press, Trilogy: Thoughts on Price, Value, Worth;

2. Chris Allen, Maureen Cooke and James Tritten, RhetAskew Publishing, To Begin Again;

3. James Tritten and Sandi Hoover, RhetAskew Publishing,  Enough To Kill; HM James Tritten, “Round Engines.”

Book Edited by Entrant:

3. Chris Allen and Sandi Hoover, Corrales Writing Group and Create Space, Passages: A Corrales Writing Group Anthology.

Jessica Savage is New Mexico Press Women 2018 Communicator of Achievement

NMPW President Loretta Hall (l) and 2018 Communicator of Achievment Jessica Savage

NMPW President Loretta Hall (l) and 2018 Communicator of Achievement Jessica Savage

New Mexico Press Women have named Jessica Savage as their 2018 Communicator of Achievement. The award was announced at the recent annual NMPW conference in Santa Fe.

Savage is currently a scholarship advisor in the College of Arts and Sciences at New Mexico State University, where she oversees scholarships for more than 300 students in 24 departments. She is also the media and communications director for the National Public Observatory where she publicizes astronomy outreach programs and works through press releases, feature stories and newsletter articles.

As an award-winning journalist with 17 years of experience in media relations she has been a regular contributor of feature stories and profiles in the Desert Exposure, a monthly newspaper, and Las Cruces Magazine. Many articles Savage wrote as a reporter for the Deming Headlight were published throughout the state and regionally through the Associated Press.

Jessica also has extensive experience in data management and retrieval systems, including a position with the Chihuahuan Desert Network, an inventory and monitoring arm of the National Park Service.

For the last several years, she managed the Zia Awards for New Mexico Press Women, a prestigious book award for authors in the Southwest. She has been a board member of NMPW for nearly a decade and is public relations director for the state chapter.

The chapter Communicator of Achievement award goes each year to a member who has a record of journalistic achievement and of public service. COA’s are also honored for their work with press women.

2018 NM Press Women Annual Conference a celebration of intelligent thinking and writing

(l to r) Dede Feldman, Anita Rodriquez, Lesley Poling-Kempes, Patricia J. Conoway

(l to r) Dede Feldman, Anita Rodriguez, Lesley Poling-Kempes, Patricia J. Conoway

One of the highlights of the 2018 New Mexico Press Women Annual Conference in Santa Fe this year was listening to the Zia Award finalists speak about their books. This year the category was non-fiction and Contest Organizer Bill Diven said the judges were very impressed with the quality and variety of the books submitted.

A Ranchos de Taos author whose culturally divergent family melded around recipes is the winner of the New Mexico Press Women Zia Book Award.

Anita Rodriguez accepted the award for her Coyota in the Kitchen: A Memoir of New and Old Mexico during the annual conference at the The Lodge in Santa Fe. The book is published by the University of New Mexico Press.

“I wanted to write about my family,” said said. “I wanted to write about New Mexico. I wanted to write about cultural conflict and confluence.”

Rodriguez also produced the art used on the cover and throughout the book. She took up painting after 25 years with her own company applying applying traditional adobe and masonry techniques to construction and building restorations.

Her tale of cultural collision springs from the unlikely marriage of her father, a dirt-poor northern New Mexican, and her mother, a Southern aristocrat.

“The family was so disparate, we covered such a wide range of classes and cultures, that there seemed no way to tie together all these stories except with something that all of us had in common,” Rodriguez continued. “That was food. Every family’s recipes are kind of like a map of the immigration route of your ancestors.”

The culinary merging led to such creations as creme de menthe with yerbabuena, she added.

Three other finalists were also honored at the conference for the 2018 Zia Book Award.

Patricia J. Conoway of Cerrillos, for Listening with My Eyes: An Abused Horse. A Mother with Alzheimer’s. The Journey to Help Them Both, a self-published book.

Dede Feldman of Albuquerque for Another Way Forward: Grassroots Solutions from New Mexico, published by Dede Feldman Co.

Lesley Poling-Kempes of Abiquiu for Ladies of the Canyons: A League of Extraordinary Women and their Adventures in the American Southwest published by University of Arizona Press.

The Zia Book Award is given annually to women authors living in or with a strong connection to New Mexico. The competition rotates among nonfiction, fiction and children’s books published during the previous three years.

A highlight of the conference was a Friday evening event billed as a conversation between NMPW incoming president and author Sherri Burr and Hampton Sides, author of Blood and Thunder, Ghost Soldiers, Hellhound on his Trail, In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Voyage of the USS Jeannette, Americana: Dispatches from the New Frontier and On Desperate Ground: The Marines at the Reservoir, the Korean War’s Greatest Battle.

NMPW President and Author Sherri Burr and Author Hampton Sides

NMPW President and Author Sherri Burr and Author Hampton Sides

Their discussion revolved around techniques for approaching a complex non-fiction story and how to break it into easy-to-handle pieces, as well as finding stories that need to be told. Sides and Burr also discussed how and where to write, and how to research when information is scattered.

A morning keynote with Sara Solovich, the editor of Searchlight New Mexico explored a new path for journalists who want to work on longer investigative pieces. Searchlight New Mexico chooses a major subject each year and working in cooperation with newspapers and KOAT, the ABC affiliated television station in Albuquerque produces pieces about that subject throughout the year. Searchlight this year is focused on stories about early childhood in New Mexico.

A Saturday morning panel discussion on creating narratives featured Cindy Nava, a DACA recipient and national motivational speaker who writes for the Huffington Post; Karen Jones Meadows, a nationally known playwright whose play Harriet’s Return: Based Upon the Legendary Life of Harriet Tubman has been performed throughout the world; and Lorene Mills, the host of New Mexico PBS Tv’s longest running public affairs program Report from Santa Fe, showed the enriching perspective of cultural narrative.

A talk by Simon Romero, Southwest Bureau Chief for the New York Times brought a disturbing perspective to current effects. Romero has recently returned to New Mexico, where he grew up, from postings as a foreign correspondent covering Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay. His intelligent dissection of the rise of autocrats in South America and the mechanisms they used to control and direct public discussion had eerie parallels to current events in the United States.

The conference was thought provoking and interesting. Please consider joining New Mexico Press Women in 2019 for the annual conference, which will be in Albuquerque in late April.