Zia Awards Update
contributed by Sari Krosinsky, Zia Awards Chairperson
An outstanding New Mexican writer will be honored for her work in fiction next spring when her book receives the prestigious Zia Award.
Women writers living in the state are invited to submit their books for consideration for the award, given each year by the New Mexico Press Women at the annual spring conference. The 2010 conference will be held in
Albuquerque, April 16-17.
For full submission guidelines, visit us here.
New Mexico Communication Contest Update
contributed by Connie Gotsch
Here’s a reminder to everyone to enter the Communication Contest. The Deadline is Jan. 12. Anyone interested can download the contest brochure at our website, and fill out the entry form in MS Word. If hard copies are desired, please call me at 505. 566. 3377 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Each complete entry must be submitted in a 9×12 manila envelop with the entrant’s name and class on it. If the entry won’t fit in that size envelope, a larger one may be used. I’ll answer any questions and help with entry confusion.
contributed by Laurie Mellas
The NMPW Scholarship Information is updated and available for download from the NMPW site. If you have higher education contacts in the world of higher education, please forward the information along to faculty and others electronically.
Thank you to Sari for making it look snazzy and thank you to everyone for spreading the word about this great opportunity for college students. Here’s the link:
More on the September 2009 National Conference
As we reported in the Autumn 2009 Broadsheet, Carol Clark was elected to the National Board to serve a two-year term as Secretary. What we didn’t report is that she was also quite the shutterbug at the conference, but now we’ve got the pictures to prove it! (More photos will be uploaded soon.)
What’s in a Name? 60 Years of History
By Denise Tessier
One could conclude that I’m in favor of keeping the name New Mexico Press Women, based on that headline.
But as a member of this organization for half its existence – 30 years, nearly 20 of those as NMPW’s historian – I submit this article rather as an as-close-as-I-can-get-to-factual observation about previous attempts to take the “women” and the “press” out of our organization’s name, so that when it comes to a vote at our 60th anniversary conference in April, members will have the benefit of a bit of institutional memory.
I became a dues-paying member of New Mexico Press Women in the fall of 1979 after attending a regional meeting of the National Federation of Press Women held in Las Cruces. I was not a “joiner” at the time – I had turned down offers from various groups in both high school and college – and wasn’t sure this group had anything to offer.
I was surprised to discover in NMPW something I hadn’t realized I needed. That is, an antidote to the all-male world I worked in then. This was a time when newspapers were still running stories about the “first female fire chief,” “first woman” this and “first woman” that. The world was still pretty much run by men.
At that point in my short career I had covered the Second Judicial District Court and its 12 judges, all male. I could probably list the women attorneys by name, there were so few, most of whom worked in the public defender’s or DA’s offices. The same was true when later I covered federal court, with its three male judges and male federal attorneys. Most PR people I dealt with at the federal agencies and farm and ranch groups I covered were also male.
Then there were the press organizations – SDX and the New Mexico Press Association – whose boards pretty much consisted of all men. Albuquerque Press Club ran the Gridiron and gave out “Ape” awards, but it was essentially a social club.
NMPW, on the other hand, was run by women and was an advocate for women in terms of pay and promotions. It offered professional workshops at its conferences and monthly luncheons, offered a “mini-grant” for members to take professional courses. I liked that it supported youth – both male and female – with a scholarship for college students and a high school contest that allowed first-place winners to compete nationally. NMPW gave its Zia book award annually to a New Mexico woman author. And probably most important, it ran a communications contest that offered the opportunity for national competition.
It still does all those things.
Formed in 1950, New Mexico Press Women grew out of the Albuquerque Press Women’s Club of the 1940s, and became an affiliate of the National Federation of Press Women soon after its start. At that time, there were no chapters, but two divisions: Division 1 for Albuquerque and Division 2 for the rest of the state.
NMPW has since seen the creation of several geographic chapters, the history of which is included here because they also grappled with the question of whether to change their names.
NMPW’s first chapters – Eastern New Mexico and Santa Fe Press Women – formed around 1976. Albuquerque Press Women started in 1978, and in 1980, Las Cruces Press Women grouped after hosting the 1979 regional national conference. Also, a Western chapter was organized in Grants. In 1985, Lea County Press Women formed in Hobbs.
NMPW membership in 1980 was about100. In 1991, membership reached an all-time high of 204 (and did not top 200 again).
That peak year, an NMPW conference was held in Roswell, a new chapter was formed, and to attract more members in this small community, its founders chose a gender-neutral, press-free name: Roswell Media Association.
Las Vegas Press Club almost went that far when it formed, and three chapters modernized around this time by dropping “women” and/or press from their names, creating Eastern New Mexico Media Association, Santa Fe Media Association and Taos Press Club. A Western Media Association was re-formed to include Cibola, McKinley and San Juan counties.
On the national level, in 1991, NFPW changed its highest award – the Woman of Achievement – to Communicator of Achievement to include men (and affiliate states followed that lead). A heated debate ensued soon after on whether national also should change its name.
At a national conference, members voted to keep the name National Federation of Press Women. But the vote came after hours of sometimes emotional and pointed comments, including a plea for change from the male president of the North Carolina Press Club, and the final tally was close.
By February 1995, 36 percent of the state affiliates had changed their names to titles like Ohio Professional Writers and Wyoming Media Professionals.
New Mexico talked about it, but did not change. In 1994, NMPW had surveyed its members in order to set goals. The more than 40 responses to a 24-page questionnaire revealed most members remained in NMPW for networking, professional enrichment and friendship. And when asked how members felt about changing NMPW’s name, four respondents said to change it, 16 said don’t and 10 said change it only if national does.
By this time, only the Albuquerque and Las Cruces chapters still had “Press Women” as part of names.But by 1999, only those two chapters remained. The rest had closed.
To be fair, Las Vegas Press Club and Roswell Media Association were still fairly young when they petered out and Western Media Association closed because key members moved elsewhere in the state.But Santa Fe, Taos and Eastern had been active stalwarts of NMPW.A key year to review is 1993. Both Roswell and Western already had disbanded.The Santa Fe Media Association, having elected Biddle Duke as president the previous year, was headed by T.J. Sullivan, president, and Steve Terrell, first vice president, and
switched to an informal meeting format mid-year with sessions at The Green Onion, a local tavern. Eastern New Mexico Media Association found itself regrouping under the leadership of Mike Pierson, Public Information Officer at Cannon AFB, after the departure of Marsha Vohs. Women still led Albuquerque Press Women, Las Cruces Press Women, Las Vegas Press Club, and Taos Press Club.
The leadership pattern among chapters was similar in 1994, but by mid-year, Santa Fe was unraveling. At that time, Hollis Walker stepped in to serve as “ad hoc president” and reported that four chapter meetings were held during the year, with only four or five attending at each. A winter holiday party was cancelled, then moved to the Eldorado Hotel bar, where about 20 showed up. In 1996, the Santa Fe chapter disbanded after nearly 20 years. The treasury balance of $1,000 was turned over to NMPW’s Doris Gregory Memorial Scholarship Fund.By 1999, Taos and Eastern had also folded.
At this point, I would like to offer personal observation.
The facts as presented here should not, in my opinion, lead to the conclusion these groups folded because more men were involved. In fact, Albuquerque Press Women and Northern New Mexico Press Women (which formed in 2004 to encompass northern communities like Taos, Santa Fe and Los Alamos) are both being led at this moment by men – Dan Mayfield in Albuquerque and R. Thomas Berner in Santa Fe – and seem quite healthy in terms of regular chapter programs and membership involvement.
But I would submit that taking out “Press Women” from NMPW’s name changes the organization and the expectations of those who join it.
Those currently advocating the change say it’s needed to attract new members. They say communications professionals and students resist joining, either because they think the name is sexist or because they’re not a member of bonafide press. Keep in mind that all of us who are members joined NMPW under the current name – including the men.
I say, the name does not have to accommodate men and those who aren’t members of the “press.” Because of past support, I still get invitations to join the NAACP – one does not have to be black to support its civil rights initiatives. (Note: The NAACP has not changed its name since its inception in 1909, despite the fact the term “colored people” is dated.)
Those who support NMPW obviously are comfortable with its support of advancement for women and First Amendment rights of a free press – with the added membership benefits of networking, work tips and contest recognition in all aspects of communications, including the Web.
Keep in mind that people generally are resistant to joining organizations, and might be using the name as an excuse not to get involved in a commitment or expense. Changing the name does not guarantee more people will join NMPW.By changing our name to something like New Mexico Media Network (the acronym of which, as our board member Nora Heineman-Fleck pointed out, is a palindrome, NMMN being reversible), NMPW is bound to change, perhaps fundamentally. After 60 years as an organization, perhaps it is time.
But I still like that the organization is primarily women, with the inclusion of some terrific men who are obviously confident enough to support and be active in a women’s organization.
If you think we no longer need an organization that advocates for women, read The Mismeasure of Woman column that ran recently in The New York Times. Perhaps you feel, as columnist Joanne Lipman once did, that we are beyond issues of gender, or race. She says now:
Right now, NMPW’s numbers are growing. Our contest is open to anyone and attracts new members each year because those who win at the first place level have to join NFPW to compete on the national level. Hundreds of young people have benefited from New Mexico Press Women’s college scholarships and high school contest and no doubt reflect positively on the name of that benefactor. And our Zia Book Award is a prestigious honor, hawked by
publishers of the books that win it. It is only given to a New Mexico woman author. This is part of NMPW’s reputation and legacy.
I say: Offer the programs, the contests, the scholarships, the awards and the advocacy – and get the word out about these benefits and accomplishments – and members will come.The name neither draws nor repels people. It is simply who we are.
A final note: The latest issue of NFPW’s “Agenda” shows that as of October 1, NFPW had 1,480 members in 37 affiliates. The top three affiliates in terms of membership, as far as I can tell from the map with this article, are Virginia Press Women (141), Illinois Woman’s Press Association (86) and New Mexico Press Women (85). (We actually have more members on the state level, but this reflects only those who also pay national dues.) All of these states kept “women” in their names. And, according to the state directory section of the NFPW Web site, 22 of the state affiliates still have “women” in their names; 15 do not.
North Chapter president R Thomas Berner is reporting brisk sales for his book Tamaqua: Then and Now, in which he shows old photographs of the Pennsylvania coal town where he grew up, side by side with the current scene. He took the photographs on a return visit last summer.
“Facebook has been a wonderful way to reach people,” Berner says, although he notes he doesn’t find many of his high school classmates online—just their children and great-grandchildren. He is donating his royalties to his hometown public library.
(Though he doesn’t mention it, looks like Tom has been nominated for Communicator of Achievement for the Northern chapter! See Anne Hillerman’s member news, below.*)
The Las Cruces Press Women Chapter has been busy with a wide range of events. In the last few months, they’ve offered a well-received half-day writing workshop with noted nature writer Susan Tweit, which wrapped up with a private reception at St. Clair Bistro; a meeting focused on graphic design with a presentation by college instructor Abby Osborne; a holiday potluck and two networking socials. The chapter continues to attract new members through these activities. They plan to kick off 2010 with a presentation on social networking media and another on research for non-fiction writing.
As the hosts for the 2011 NMPW conference, Las Cruces Press Women looks forward to preparing an exciting program for their fellow members statewide and showing off what has put Las Cruces on “best of” lists nationwide.
contributed by Cheryl Fallstead
Anne Hillerman writes:
My restaurant guide/cook book, Santa Fe Flavors: Best Restaurants and Recipes won the New Mexico Book Award for best cookbook of 2009. The book is a result of my years of hard, calorie-laden research as restaurant reviewer for the Albuquerque Journal in Santa Fe.
My newest book, Tony Hillerman’s Landscape: On the Road with Chee and Leaphorn, was released in late October. It got a glowing review in both the November issue of New Mexico Magazine and in Publisher’s Weekly. Photographer Don Strel and I have set up a number of promotional appearances as benefits for libraries, literacy organizations and the Hillerman-McGarrity Scholarship fund at UNM. On Dec. 15th, we’ll be in Taos as a benefit for the Taos Public Library. Don, also an NMPW member, has created a fabulous slide show of photos from the book, other shots of places we visited in our three years of research, and family pictures of my Dad. The text includes some memoir by me, quotes from Dad’s books describing the scenery, and some description of the sites themselves.
*I’m also the point person for Tom Berner’s much deserved nomination as Communicator of Achievement for our northern Chapter of Press Women.
Find Anne at www.annehillerman.com
Artemesia Publishing of Tijeras, NM recently published Belle’s Star, a book for 8-12 year olds, by NMPW member Connie Gotsch of Farmington. A free download of an activity book with discussion questions about Belle’s Star is available from the publisher’s website. The activity book was written by NMPW member Margaret Cheasebro of Aztec. Belle’s Star tells the story of an abused dog, Belle, who finds a good home and discovers that, even though she may not be able to change circumstances in her life, she can react appropriately to them. When used with the activity book, Belle’s Star becomes a dynamic tool for use in classrooms, homeschool situations, and a variety of organizations involving young people. It’s a great gift idea for any time of the year for a child or for an adult who works with kids.
Gail Rubin writes:
I’ve started a blog called The Family Plot: Funeral Planning for Those Who Don’t Plan to Die. The blog is designed to provide information, inspiration and tools to plan and implement creative, meaningful and memorable end-of-life rituals for people and pets.
When I wrote “Matchings, Hatchings and Dispatchings,” an Albuquerque Tribune column on life cycle events, I found that the columns on death elicited the greatest reader response, indicating a need for the kind of detailed information that people don’t usually deal with until there is a death in the family. It’s presented with gentle humor and offers a unique opportunity to help Baby Boomers face the death of their parents – as well as members of their own generation – with the care and creativity they have embraced all their lives.
Note from the editor:
Due to other obligations, Karen Lehmann will regretfully be stepping down as NMPW’s Broadsheet newsletter editor at the end of 2009. It’s been a great year, and I highly recommend that another of our members give this role a try! Thanks to Sari’s technical wizardry and the genius of WordPress you can put the newsletter together and edit it straight into the NMPW Web site/blog. Reach me at email@example.com if you need a helping hand.
Call For Volunteers
The NMPW Board is still looking for a Secretary, a PR Chairperson and now – a Newsletter Editor as well. We encourage our members to step up to fill these positions. Bring your ideas, your vitality and creativity to these roles and help make the NMPW an even stronger and more diverse organization than it already is. You’ll see, it will be fun!
Call For Auction Items
Susan Walton writes:
What would you like to buy at our April 2010 Silent Auction? We’ll have a variety of items, gift certificates and books for you to bid on at our Friday, April 16, 2010 fundraising auction at the Sheraton Albuquerque Uptown.
New Mexico Press Women hosts this silent auction during our annual awards banquet at the state conference to raise money for our two college scholarships, awarded annually to New Mexico students pursuing careers in journalism, public relations, writing, photography and other areas in our field.
Please help us to find “treasures” from all over New Mexico by donating one yourself, or by asking stores and places you do business with to contribute. I can send letters to ask, if you’ll give me names, addresses and a description of what donation I should request.
If you have any questions, or need a receipt contact me at (505) 338-3004 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you in advance for your generosity! This Silent Auction is when and where I love to do my annual Christmas and birthday present shopping. So as you shop this month, keep April in mind for future purchases!