Board of Directors


Leota Harriman

The Independent

Leota Harriman has been at the helm of The Independent newspaper in Edgewood since 2010, when she was part of an employee buyout from the previous owner.

Over the years, she has worked as an artist, community organizer, graphic designer, reporter and editor, in addition to less glamorous roles waiting tables, working as a line cook, doing voter registration, conducting bilingual surveys, and other odd jobs.

At The Independent, she worked her way up from office manager to ownership of the newspaper, and currently is its editor and publisher. 


1st Vice President

Babette Hermann

Gallup Sun


2nd Vice President

Nick Seibel

Silver City Daily Press



Tom Cross

Santa Fe New Mexican

Tom Cross has over 30 years of multimedia career experience, and has held a wide array of key management, financial, public relations and non-profit positions during that time in both the private and public sector. Cross has previously held the positions of publisher at Watsonville, Calif. and division manager for a group of weekly newspapers on the west coast and for the past eight years Cross has held the position as Group Controller and Publisher for the last six years for The New Mexican.

While working as a leader in the media industry, Cross also served as a board member for several non-profit community organizations, including Rotary and Kiwanis, United Way, chambers of commerce and a local community foundation. Also volunteers his time for local organizations that feed the homeless.

Cross received his B.S. in accounting from Northern Illinois University. He and his wife, Kelly, have two adult sons, Jason (Abby) and Josh (Maria) and four grandchildren, Sydney, Brody, Aiden and Greyson.


Past President

Clara Garcia

Valencia County News-Bulletin

Clara Garcia is the editor and publisher of the Valencia County News-Bulletin, as well as the executive editor of El Defensor Chieftain, the News-Bulletin's sister paper in Socorro.

Clara is a native of the city of Belen, beginning her journalism career at the News-Bulletin in 1998 as the crime and courts reporter. During her time at the paper, Clara has won numerous awards for her writing, photography and typography and design both from the National Newspaper Association and the New Mexico Press Association.




Mayra Aldaz

Rio Grande Sun


SaraLei Fajardo

Roswell Daily Record


Donn Friedman

Albuquerque Journal

Donn Friedman is assistant managing editor for technology, production and new media innovations at Albuquerque Journal, New Mexico's largest, independent, family-owned newspaper. He also worked as a copy editor, page 1 designer and assistant managing editor at the Journal during the past 32 years. He worked with computer, circulation and business departments to help develop newsroom production systems and web subscription systems.

Prior to his time in New Mexico, he  was a copy editor/designer at the Waco (Texas) Tribune Herald and a sports reporter at the Amarillo Globe-News

He has judged journalism contests for Editor & Publisher magazine and the Associated Press as well as spoken at conferences on paid content including Newspaper Association of America's NEXPO and at the World Association of Newspapers.


Frances Luna

Sierra County Sentinel


Ron Warnick

Quay County Sun

Ron Warnick is the senior writer and photographer at the Quay County Sun, based in Tucumcari. He previously worked at daily newspapers in Illinois, Missouri and Oklahoma and in the internet department of a prominent western-wear retailer in Tulsa, Okla.

He and his wife's longtime interest in Route 66 and western movies eventually brought both to the mesalands of Tucumcari and the Land of Enchantment.