SFR earned two first-place awards from the Association of Alternative Newsmedia in its annual journalism contest for 2020.

Art Director Anson Stevens-Bollen earned top accolades in cover design for "Sold for Sex," "Threading the Needle," and for creating a Magic Eye image for the 2019 "Seeing the Way to Weed."   

Stevens-Bollen, a graduate of the Santa Fe Community College Media Arts program, says his strategy for creating covers that tell the story so well is rooted in first considering an obvious image and then working on ways to alter one element.

"My process begins with finding a quiet place alone. In this place, I concentrate on the key theme of the project and freely let images come and go through my mind until I hit a concept that excites me and draws me to me computer," he says. "There, I rough out the concept through a wireframe in Illustrator and either go forward or start the process over again. If I choose to press on, I mold it in Photoshop or freehand until it it sits just right with me. Sometimes the process can take more than half a day or just a few hours. The best covers have been the ones that I thought I would not be able to get away with."

Stevens-Bollen has been art director at SFR for seven years.

Student journalists who wrote about sustainability programs at the Santa Fe Community College as part of the New Mexico Fund for Public Interest Journalism internship/mentorship program also earned the paper a first-place award for best nonprofit collaboration with their story "Roadmap to Resilience."

SFR Senior Correspondent Julia Goldberg, also a writing teacher at SFCC and a former SFR editor, is a veteran journalist who leads four students in each cohort. The six-week training includes two weeks of classroom training consisting of two two-hour classes; two weeks of field work for reporting with the students working independently in the field for at least one week; and two weeks of writing and editing with the students working in consultation with the program's mentor for planning and editing.

This cohort included Olivia Abeyta and Max Looft from Santa Fe High School and Anna Girdner and James Taylor from SFCC.

"First and foremost, I'm thrilled to see the students we worked with last year receive recognition for their work. Our nonprofit's training project is geared at supporting future journalists because we believe in them and in what we do and remain, despite (insert any particular disaster) optimistic about the importance of journalism," Goldberg says. "Second, I'm particularly happy this project received recognition because the work was supported by sustainability expert Luke Spangenburg at Santa Fe Community College's Advanced Technologies Center. Luke recently passed away, but he was really committed to helping our interns with this project as an extension of his overall commitment to Santa Fe's youth. We couldn't have done this project without him and his colleagues."

A second SFR collaboration won an honorable mention in the category, Jeff Proctor's "Case (not) Closed" in partnership with New Mexico In Depth.

Leah Cantor earned third place for health reporting for her story about the region's gaps in mental health care for teens in "No Place To Rest."

Read the entire winners list here.