Las Cruces Press Women is sponsoring a continuing Zoom conversation on how did governmental communications professionals provide critical public health information during the COVID-19 crisis? The event, COVID-19 and the Media Response II, takes place Monday, Aug 31, from 6:00 – 7:00 p.m.
The discussion will be moderated by Damien Willis, lead reporter for the Las Cruces Sun-News and New Mexico Press Women 2020 Communicator of Achievement award winner. Confirmed panelists include:
Justin Bannister, associate vice president of marketing and communications for New Mexico State University
Kelly Jameson, public information officer for Las Cruces Public Schools
Dan Trujillo, public information officer for the Las Cruces Police Department
Mark Rudi, media relations manager, for University of New Mexico Health Sciences
This event is open to the public and there is no charge to attend, but advance registration before 5:30 p.m. the day of the panel is required to receive the Zoom link. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. Please remember to use the same email account with which you registered to join the meeting.
Damien Willis of Las Cruces was recognized as a nominee for the 2020 Communicator of Achievement Award from the National Federation of Press Women (NFPW). This prestigious award has been given for 63 years. Willis was one of 10 nominees recognized during a virtual celebration held in lieu of events at the organization’s annual conference, which was canceled this year due to the pandemic.
Now in its 83rd year, NFPW is a nationwide organization of professional women and men pursuing careers across the spectrum of journalism and communications. The Communicator of Achievement award is the highest honor bestowed by NFPW upon those members who have distinguished themselves within and beyond their field. The recipient, chosen from nominees selected by state affiliates from around the country, is recognized for exceptional achievement in the communications field, as well as service to NFPW, the affiliate organization and the community.
Willis, vice president of New Mexico Press Women, has built a career in journalism and communications now exceeding 20 years. His work has included 13 years as a popular local radio-station DJ, public relations officer for the local attorney general’s office and Las Cruces Public Schools, and traditional newspaper journalism. He has written 800 consecutive columns on entertainment for the Las Cruces Sun-News and is now lead reporter and coach for the paper.
Sandy Michel Nance of Wheat Ridge, Colo., a retired journalist and public relations professional, was chosen from among the nominees as NFPW’s 2020 Communicator of Achievement. Nance was one of a handful of early female news bureau staffers with United Press International (UPI), was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for reporting at the Casper, Wyo., Star-Tribune, worked in public relations for Mountain Bell and US West, and was a publications editor for the American Water Works Association.
How did journalists that usually report on other issues quickly pivot to report on the COVID-19 crisis competently and confidently? What are the stories they would have liked to tell?
Join us on Monday, June 15, from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. for a NMPW and Las Cruces online video event, “COVID-19 and the NM Media Response,” with a panel discussion moderated by Damien Willis, a lead reporter for the Las Cruces Sun News and the NMPW 2020 Communicator of Achievement.
Panelists include: Sharon Chischilly, photo editor for the Daily Lobo; Algernon D’Ammassa from the Las Cruces Sun-News; Patrick Hayes, general assignment reporter for KOB-TV; Trip Jennings, executive director for New Mexico In Depth; Ryan Lowery from the Las Vegas Optic; and Joy Wang, also from KOB-TV.
Topics include how reporters across the state had to become competent public health reporters during the COVID-19 crisis—and also the stories that panelists believe should have been told but were lost because of the pressing need to keep up with quickly changing updates and important information from health and government officials.
There is no charge for the event, but registration is required to receive the Zoom link. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with “COVID panel” in the subject line and include your full name and affiliation (if any).
Willis drove to Corona, New Mexico to interview folks in a village of 163 residents in Lincoln County, and wrote a delightful article about how its citizens are adapting to now having a notorious name.