New Mexico communicators win national awards

Communicators in New Mexico have won a slew of awards — nine first-place awards, six second-place, six third-place and seven honorable mentions — from the 2016 National Federation of Press Women annual communications contest. The official awards will be given at NFPW’s national conference in Wichita, Kansas Sept. 8-10, 2016.

1st place winners

  • Ross Van Dusen, Children’s books
  • Heath Haussamen, Investigative reporting
  • Megan Kamerick, Talk show (radio or television)
  • Mandi Kane, Personality profile 500 words or fewer
  • Richard Melzer, History nonfiction for adult readers
  • Sharon Niederman, Cookbooks nonfiction for adult readers
  • Peter St. Cyr, News story – print-based newspaper
  • Kelly Urig, General nonfiction for adult readers
  • Catherine Wanek, Book editing

2nd place winners

  • Mary-Charlotte Domandi, Interview for radio or television
  • Kathleen McCleery, Prepared report for television and special programming for television
  • Sherry Robinson, Specialty articles – green/environmental
  • Diane Thomas, Novel for adult readers
  • Ross Van Dusen, Children’s books

3rd place winners

  • Margaret Cheasebro, Specialty articles – business
  • Merilee Dannemann, Personal blog
  • Bob Diven, Graphics
  • Ruth Friesen, Book design
  • Mary Alice Murphy, Photo essay
  • Diana Sandoval-Tapia, Reports

Honorable mentions

  • Nicolás Cabrera, Feature story – online publication
  • Margaret Cheasebro, Specialty articles – history
  • Ariana Kramer, Specialty article – arts and entertainment
  • Tara Lumpkin, Website editing/management
  • Sherry Robinson, Continuing coverage or unfolding news
  • Marsha Scarbrough, Biography or autobiography
  • Peter St. Cyr, Enterprise reporting

New Mexico Press Women would like to congratulate all of the winners listed above for your remarkable achievements, and thank you for representing our state and our organization so well!


Download the news release in case members would like to include it in your publications.


National Federation of Press Women is a dynamic nationwide organization of professional women and men pursuing careers across the communications spectrum. NFPW is comprised of affiliate organizations across the United States. Learn more at

18 First-Place National Awards for New Mexico Press Women in National Federation of Press Women Contest, 43 awards total

by Diane J. Schmidt, 2015 Excellence in Communications Contest Chair

     The National Federation of Press Women Excellence in Communications Contest results have just been announced and the New Mexico Press Women state affiliate has won 43 Awards: 18 First-Place Awards, 11 Second-Place, 7 Third-Place and 7 Honorable Mentions. Twenty-five states submitted 405 first-place entries. New Mexico submitted 64 entries of their state’s 65 first-place winners. Award announcements are going out by email to each individual from NFPW this week, and the results are listed below. Certificates will be mailed out in September following the national conference in Alaska.

     Highlights of the New Mexico wins include first place author awards: to Norma Libman for her adult novel, “Lonely River Village”; to Janie Chodosh for her young-adult novel “Death Spiral, A Faith Flores Mystery”; and to Daniel Gibson and Kitty Leaken for their biography of Native American artist “Kevin Red Star.” Hats off to Winter Ross, for her short story, “Orienting Heaven” and to Nicolas Cabrera for his single poem, “La Yerbabuena.”

     Salutes to print reporters for their hard-won first place awards, notably to Peter St. Cyr for two first place wins, for his news story “Ticket to Nowhere” on immigrants being scammed, and for his investigative reporting piece “Rx Test” on the potency of medical marijuana products being sold. Congratulations to reporter Lindsey Anderson for her coverage of the most difficult subject, child abuse. Hats off to Mary Alice Murphy for winning first-place in the 500 word personality profile category for “A determined and dedicated 4-Her does not let injury deter her.” Acclaim to Albuquerque Journal’s long-time “Sage” editor Carolyn Flynn, and to Donna Olmstead on another difficult topic, addiction, with “Recovery Road.” Marissa Bond walks away with top awards for her writing, Claudette Sutton garners two first place awards, one for columns and another for the book trailer for her award-winning book “Farewell, Aleppo.” Ellen Berkovitch snags another first-place for her website Adobe Airstream, with a mysterious-sounding pod piece – I just love that title “Blue Curry on Tourism and sitelines,” and a really big win for Tara Lumpkin’s website, “Voices for BioDiversity” won first for websites, and TV awards to Kathleen McCleery and Megan Kamerick for their quality productions. You all make New Mexico look good for all of us!

     2015 New Mexico Press Women Communications Chair Diane Schmidt says “Congratulations to everyone! this is a real honor to be recognized among your colleagues.” Award announcements are going out by email to each individual from NFPW this week. Certificates will be mailed out in September following the national conference being held this year in Alaska, where Anne Hillerman will be representing New Mexico as this year’s New Mexico Communicator of Achievement.

     For your convenience download press release or formatted excel listings by category, name, placement, entry titles. Here is the complete list of NFPW contest winners.

     Here are the awards won by New Mexico authors in the 2015 National Federation of Press Women Contest as follows:

Place Name Entry Title Category
First Peter St. Cyr “Ticket to Nowhere” News story – Print-base newspaper 01A – Santa Fe Reporter
First Peter St. Cyr “Rx Test” Investigative reporting 03x – Santa Fe Reporter
First Lindsey Anderson “Child Abuse Series” Enterprise reporting 04x – New Mexico InDepth/Las Cruces News-Sun
First Mary Murphy “A determined 4-Her does not let injury deter her” Personality profile – 500 words 09A – Grant County Beat
First Marissa Bond “A Tuna Christmas” “Holiday Cheer” Specialty articlesReviews (personal opinion must be expressed) 10O
First Claudette Sutton “Tokens of Love” “Writing Dad” Columns – General 11B
First Carolyn Flynn “Sage Magazine” Publications regularly edited by entrant – Newspaper 15A – Albuquerque Journal
First Kathleen McCleery “Jet Fuel Leak” Prepared report (news, features, sports,opinion) Television 22B – PBS News Hour
First Kathleen McCleery “A New Mexico Town Confronts Immigration Crisis” Special programming – Television 23B – PBS News Hour
First Megan Kamerick “Interview with Valerie Plame” Interview (radio or television) 24x for KNME-TV – New Mexico in Focus
First Tara Lumpkin “Voices for Biodiversity” Web site edited or managed by entrant – Nonprofit, 28A
First Ellen Berkovitch “Blue Curry on Tourism – and Sitelines” Podcasts 29x- Adobe Airstream
First Claudette Sutton “Farewell, Aleppo” (Book Trailer) Videos for website – Special-interest 32C
First Norma Libman “Lonely River Village” Novels for adult readers 56x Rio Granata Press
First Kitty Leaken and Daniel Gibson “Kevin Red Star” Nonfiction books for adult readers – Biography 57A – Gibbs Smith Publisher
First Janie Chodosh “Death Spiral, A Faith Flores Science Mystery” Young-adult books – Fiction 59A – The Poisoned Pencil Publisher
First Winter Ross “Orienting Heaven” Short stories – Single story 60A
First Nicolas Cabrera “La Yerbabuena” Creative verse – Single poem 61A
Second New Mexico News Port staff of 13 UNM undergraduates* UNM New Mexico NewsPort State Election Campaign Coverage Continuing coverage (adult category) 02x
Second Donna Olmstead “Recovery Road” on addiction – Special series 05x Albuquerque Journal
Second Margaret Cheasebro “Meditating Among Trees” Editorial/Opinion – Magazine, newsletter, non-newspaper print publications 07B
Second Ariana Kramer “Presidential Hopeful?” “Act of Kindness” Specialty articles – Arts and entertainment 10C Taos News
Second Sherri Burr Arts Talk: Max Evans and a Few Friends Talk Show (radio or television) 25x
Second Marguerite Kearns “Book on Suffrage Martyr” “New film” Blogs – Nonprofit 30A
Second Marguerite Kearns “‘Spirit of 1776’: A suffragette anthem” Videos for website – Nonprofit 32A
Second Angela Plusquellic Advertising Campaign “NMHC” Advertising campaigns 34x
Second Kyle Lord, Michael Warren, Kate Nash “Treasurer candidates hit the long road” Writing – News – College 52A
Second Donald Levering “The Water Leveling With Us” Creative verse – Book of poetry 61B Red Mountain Press
Second Kathleen Dexter “Commit” Screenplay 62x
Third Colleen Keane “After the Guns Have Been Laid Down” News story – Online publication – New Media Street News 01C
Third Karen Wentworth “Reading the history of the Chiricahua Apaches in what they left behind; Lifelong activist donates collection to UNM Center for Southwest Research” Specialty articles – History 10J
Third Karen Wentworth “Researchers discover catalytic converter breakthrough” “UNM startup to prove it can protect crops from the desert locust” Specialty articles – Science or technology 10P
Third Claudette Sutton “Tumbleweeds Magazine for Santa Fe Families” Publications regularly edited by entrant – Magazine 15B
Third Isabel Gonzalez, Kate Nash “Land commissioner living the wild life” Writing – Features – College 52B
Third Dede Feldman “Inside the New Mexico Senate: Boots, Suits and Citizens” Nonfiction books for adults – General nonfiction 57F
Third Diane Schmidt “What Chanting A Prayer Might Just Do for You” in “Music: Carrier of Intention” Essay in a book 63x
HM Dianne Layden “Alleged Hate Crimes at Nosh Deli in Albuquerque” News story – Magazine, newsletter, non-newspaper 01B
HM Marissa Bond “A century and counting” “Mesilla home offers many stories to owner” Specialty articles – Home (interior décor, furniture, arch) 10L
HM Lyn Bleiler-Strong “Highest Peak Retreat” “Lift – From one pioneer to another” Specialty articles – Sports 10R
HM Mary Murphy “About Grant County Beat” Writing for the web 27x
HM Ellen Berkovitch Web site edited or managed by entrant – Corporate or for-profit 28B – “Adobe Airstream”
HM Merilee Dannemann “Triple-Spaced Again” Blogs – Personal 30C
HM Natalie Reid “Those Good Gertrudes” Book edited by entrant 64x – John Hopkins University Press

*Congratulations to the 13 UNM undergraduates and their instructor:

Liam Cary-Eaves

Micaela Eldridge-Lane

Kyle Lord

Jessi Mace

Michael Warren

Kendra Williams

Aaron Anglin

Priscilla Banuelos

Moriah Carty

Marcus Jaramillo

J.R. Oppenheim

Jillian Roach

Kate Nash, Instructor


Renew your membership – or join today!

Have you renewed your membership in NMPW/NFPW yet? If not, it’s time! Why? For one, the amazing conference at Ghost Ranch is rapidly approaching and you get the best rate as a member who registers before the early bird opportunity slips away.
Speaking of conferences, the NFPW conference will be in Anchorage, Alaska, this September and who wants to miss an opportunity to go north to Alaska? Also, it is time to enter the communications contest so you can add to your resume and get more bragging rights.
Think of all the educational and networking opportunities membership affords you, plus discounted libel insurance, national job bank, and much, much more. Membership in our organization is an investment in yourself professionally.
Please renew or join today at!

The 2015 Contest is now open!

Go to to review rules and categories, and start submitting your entries!

Work published in 2014 is eligible.

Deadline for online entries Feb. 9, books Feb. 2.

CLICK HERE further details and membership

Do we have a category for you! Choose from 64 categories from general reporting to specialty communications, it’s your chance to be recognized. Competition is open. You don’t have to be a member. Men are encouraged to enter and join. Nationally recognized professional judges and feedback. AWARDS BANQUET AT GHOST RANCH CONFERENCE April 25th, 2015. And, 1st place winners are eligible to enter the National Federation of Press Women contest.

The New Mexico Press Women Communication Contest is open to member and non-member journalists, columnists, photographers, fiction and non-fiction book authors and poets, public relations campaigns, advertising, broadcast, speeches, bloggers, designers, websites, students work, and many other types of communicators.

  • Reduced entry fees: NMPW Member Discount: $10 for the first submission, $5 for each additional entry ($15/$10 for non-members) Group membership entry fees available for pressrooms and publishers.
  • Critical Peer Review: Entries receive written feedback from a professional judge working in his or her respective field
  • Ease: Online contest portal allows for a simple, paperless entry
  • Public Relations: Winner’s names are promoted via traditional and electronic press release, Association newsletter and a full suite of social media platforms

Benefits of Membership:

  • New Mexico Press Women/National Federation of Press Women
  • Retired Memberships / Student Memberships
  • Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Las Cruces chapter meetings and events
  • Job listings, network and mentoring opportunities, reduced contest entry fees, and venues for promoting/selling your work
  • Board positions and leadership opportunities
    If you have questions you can contact Contest Chair Diane Schmidt,