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Dear NMPA members,

It is with deep sadness and heavy hearts that the New Mexico Press Association Board of Directors announces the cancellation of the 2020 NMPA Convention, which was scheduled for Oct. 23-24 in Albuquerque.

We know this will come as an enormous disappointment, and this is not a decision we have made lightly. There are two overriding concerns that have caused us to make this decision at this time.

First is the uncertainty caused by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s ongoing public health order prohibiting mass gatherings due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While the convention was slated to take place three months from now, it is uncertain when the order will be lifted.

Second, our primary concern is always the responsibility we feel toward our members and those who attend the annual NMPA convention. Right now, the most important thing all of us can do is focus on remaining healthy and safe.

We are very disappointed we are unable to hold this annual, much-anticipated event for our members, but we know it’s the right decision based on the information we have today.

Every year, we look forward to connecting with fellow reporters, advertising reps and industry leaders. The convention is a time to regroup, to reenergize, to inspire, to learn from one another and to celebrate our accomplishments. We are looking forward to being able to organize and prepare for the 2021 NMPA Convention.

On that note, our accomplishments — the winners of the 2020 NMPA Better Newspaper Contest — will not go unnoticed this year. We are currently exploring options to coordinate an online experience to showcase our award winners. The plaques will be sent to the winners, and we are still planning on publishing the tabloid highlighting all the winners, which will also be sent to each member publication.

The NMPA Board of Directors has also decided not to name a Hall of Fame inductee this year. It is the feeling of the majority of the board that if we did accept the Hall of Fame Committee’s recommendation, that person might not be able to fully celebrate their recognition if we couldn’t honor them during an in-person event.

In this uncertain time, it’s no secret that the newspaper industry is facing unprecedented new challenges. While readers are desperate for information, many of us have experienced a loss in revenue because of this public health crisis.

As we continue to maneuver our way through these pressures, let me remind you that local newspapers play a vital and indispensable role in our respective communities, providing invaluable information both in our editorial and advertising formats.

Our industry has been hit hard of late, but we’ve all been through similar situations before, and I know we can — we must — overcome and continue our mission.

Take care,

Clara Garcia

NMPA Board of Directors President

Valencia County News-Bulletin Editor/Publisher