SANTA FE–The staff at the Valencia County News-Bulletin received numerous awards in the New Mexico Press Association’s 2021 Better Newspaper Context.

Clara Garcia | News-Bulletin photo
Valencia County News-Bulletin Editor and Publisher Clara Garcia won first place in the General News Photo category for this photos she took on New Year’s Eve 2020.

The awards were presented at the NMPA’s 112th annual convention held at the Eldorado Hotel in Santa Fe this past weekend. More than 1,100 entries were submitted by 23 newspapers from across New Mexico for consideration in this year’s contest.

The News-Bulletin competes in the Weekly Class 1 Division. NMPA members entered their best editorial content and ads published between July 1, 2020, and June 30, 2021.

The News-Bulletin took home second place in the Obituary Page category, which is judged on readability, use of art and advertising as well as design.

VCNB reporter Makayla Grijalva won three second-place awards at this weekend’s convention, including in the Best Ongoing/Continuing Coverage category for her work regarding the Los Lunas Board of Education.

Grijalva also won second place in the Obituary News category for work she did while in a fellowship program with the Silver City Daily Press.

The News-Bulletin staff swept the News Coverage category, with Grijalva taking second place for a story published about when Joe’s Pharmacy in Peralta was forced to close amid an opioid investigation.

Valencia County News-Bulletin Assistant Editor Julia M. Dendinger took home the first place plaque in that same category for her coverage of the sentencing of Brandon Villalobos, who killed his friend Alex Madrid in 2014.

“I was taught to never use a quote for a lede,” the judge wrote about the story. “I’ve been tempted to break that rule, but never have. Thank you! Great lede, lots of energy here, great story; great writing.”

Dendinger also won second place in the Columns category for one of her People & Places columns.

News-Bulletin Editor and Publisher Clara Garcia won first place in the General News Photo category. The photo, titled “A Not-So-Fond Farewell,” was taken on New Year’s Eve, depicted what looked like a phoenix rising from the ashes from the symbolic burning of troubles from 2020.

“I absolutely love this,” the judge wrote of the photo. “It reaches out to the viewer and pulls out the memories of 2020. The color is perfect.”

Garcia also won first place in the Breaking News-Digital category for her online coverage of the fire at the old Sugar Bowl Lanes in July 2020.

“EXCELLENT photos! The photos draw you in, but the quotes and history keep you reading,” the judge wrote of the entry.”

Cameron Goeldner, the VCNB’s former sports reporter, also was honored at this year’s convention. He won second place in the Sports Coverage category.

Entries were judged by the Utah Press Association.

“I am very proud of our staff and their accomplishments,” said Garcia. “Our staff works really hard to make sure they get the facts correct and report the information for our readers.”

Julia M. Dendinger

Clara Garcia

Makayla Grijalva

Cameron Goeldner

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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.