Sammy M. Lopez, a long-time New Mexican media leader, a native of Jarales and a 1973 Belen High School graduate, has been appointed as the executive director of the New Mexico Press Association.
The announcement was made by NMPA President Leota Brigida Harriman, who commented, “We are pleased to have retained the forward-looking services of this native New Mexican with a lifetime of experience in journalism and newspapers.”
Lopez has served as a publisher for newspapers in Las Cruces, Farmington, Carlsbad, Ruidoso, Deming, Fort Sumner and at the Valencia County News-Bulletin. All these newspapers are currently members of the New Mexico Press Association.
Lopez also served in executive capacities with World West, where he was group manager for eight newspapers in three states, as well as Civitas Media, where, in addition to managing six daily and two weekly newspapers, he was instrumental in launching four real estate websites supported by four magazines.
Newspapers he led have been awarded four times with first place wins as NMPA General Excellence; the Daily Times in Farmington was recognized by Columbia University in 2008 for its diversity coverage and editorials; and in 2017 the Daily Times, again under his leadership, won Gannett Division III Breaking News Award for its coverage of an Aztec, N.M., high school shooting.
Lopez was inducted into the NMPA Hall of Fame in 2010 and served on the Board for the Foundation for Open Government. In 2008, he was given the Dixon First Amendment Freedom Award.
Lopez, a lifetime Rotary member and Paul Harris Fellow said, “I love New Mexico and am excited to be back helping newspapers in the land of enchantment.
Lopez enjoys golf, cooking, the outdoors and traveling.
The Valencia County News-Bulletin is a locally owned and operated community newspaper, dedicated to serving Valencia County since 1910 through the highest journalistic and professional business standards. The VCNB is published weekly on Thursdays, including holidays both in print and online.