The Daily Lobo took home five awards from the New Mexico Press Association’s 2021 Better Newspaper Contest as a Weekly Class 1 news outlet. Entries from July 2020 to June 2021 were judged by the Utah Press Association. In addition, two Lobo staff members were selected among five total New Mexico students to report at NMPA’s pilot College Journalism Workshop at the 112th annual NMPA convention from Oct. 29-30.

Beat reporter Gabriel Biadora and multimedia editor Shelby Kleinhans won first place in News Writing for their coverage of unhoused Indigenous woman Jolene Nez’s arrest and subsequent death in Albuquerque.

“This is a vital story. When people die in police custody, especially when they are disadvantaged, the press has a responsibility to report that as thoroughly as possible,” the judge wrote.

Freelance reporter Hevyn Heckes won first place in the Review category for her analysis and local connection of New Mexico nuclear technology to Lesley M.M. Blume’s “Fallout: The Hiroshima Cover-up and the Reporter Who Revealed It to the World.”

“Great job tying the subject to the readers in New Mexico. There are ties between the two and it was nice to see that acknowledged,” the judge wrote.

Former data editor Joe Rull won first place in Sports Writing for his data dispatch on the University of New Mexico’s losing men’s basketball team last season. The judge said the article integrated analytics into sports reporting well, along with a “strong lead and tone of the piece.”

Beat reporter Madeline Pukite won second place in Environmental and Agricultural Writing for their coverage on UNM’s costly landscaping choices that allow much of campus to be covered in grass.

Former freelance photographer Liberty Stalnaker won second place in the Online Photo Gallery category for her photos of a “White Lives Matter” rally that was met with counter-protesters.

Editor-in-Chief Megan Gleason and Pukite were two of the five total student reporters chosen to work at the conference, and an eight-page tabloid was distributed at the end of the convention.

Megan Gleason is the Editor-in-Chief of the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at or on Twitter @fabflutist2716