El Paso Times wins Texas 'Newsroom of the Year' 2023

Editor's note: This story has been updated with new information.

The El Paso Times has been named Texas’ “Newsroom of the Year” for 2023, an honor marking it as best in the state by the Texas Managing Editors.

The Texas Managing Editors organization, which works to promote excellence in Texas journalism, oversees the annual contest. It announced its top awards Sunday morning during the close of its three-day convention this weekend in Temple, Texas.

The El Paso Times also won first place in Community Service and Team Effort for "'La pérdida - The loss’: Deadly disaster at El Paso, Juárez border."

Judges stated, "The examination of migrant deaths was best-in-class: detailed, well-written and deeply reported. The other papers were strong with continued border coverage, which appears to be the topic No. 1 for El Paso."

More: Why we spent a year telling human story of deadly disaster at El Paso, Juárez border

The El Paso Times competes in 2A, a division made up of 18 news organizations across Texas.

The Times staff won more than 20 awards across a variety of categories.

"Our journalists worked hard to tell the stories of El Paso and grow the number of local readers they serve," Tim Archuleta, El Paso Times executive editor, said. "Our entire team had to contribute to receive this kind of recognition for excellence in local journalism.

"Thank you to all the sources who shared their stories – sometimes under extremely traumatic situations. Our work on the record number of migrant deaths was done because no other major new organizations were doing this important national story. The reporting reflected our community’s history of treating migrants with care, dignity and compassion."

A migrant father and his son cross the Rio Grande to see if the Texas National Guard would allow them to turn themselves to U.S. Border Patrol on Sept. 12, 2023.
A migrant father and his son cross the Rio Grande to see if the Texas National Guard would allow them to turn themselves to U.S. Border Patrol on Sept. 12, 2023.

The Valley Morning Star won second place and the Corpus Christi Caller-Times and El Paso Matters tied for third place for Newsroom of the Year in the same 2A division as the El Paso Times.

El Paso media, including El Paso Matters and El Paso Inc. received considerable recognition for their top work during the contest. El Paso Matters journalists received 15 awards. El Paso Inc. received eight awards.

Photojournalism: Through the lens: El Paso Times best visual moments that captured 2023

At the awards banquet, a former El Paso Times intern shared how her time in El Paso helped launch her career as a breaking news reporter at the Dallas Morning News.

She shared her experience to illustrate the impact of the Texas Managing Editors’ Buster Haas Minority Internship. At the banquet dinner, thousands of dollars were raised again to fund the annual internship scholarships.

It was announced that this year’s Buster Haas intern is Alberto Silva Fernandez of El Paso, who worked as a photo intern last year at the Times. He will work in Fort Worth this summer.

The Times staff also took home first place for "Star Breaking News Report of the Year" for its coverage by Lauren Villagran and Daniel Borunda of the Juárez detention center fire, where 40 migrants were killed.

Times visual journalist Omar Ornelas won the Headliners Foundation's 2023 Charles E. Green award for "Star Photojournalist of the Year" selected among the divisional "Star Photojournalist" winners for his extensive coverage of mass migration in El Paso and across the U.S.-Mexico border.

Villagran took first place as "Star Reporter of the Year" for her border and immigration coverage.

Immigration center fire: 'They couldn't find the keys': How 40 migrants died in Juárez fire

The El Paso Times' other wins included:

News photography  First place: Omar Ornelas

Second place: Omar Ornelas

Photojournalism  First place: Omar Ornelas

Specialty reporting  First place: Lauren Villagran

Feature writing

First place: Corrie Boudreaux and Omar Ornelas

Star Online Package of the Year

Second place: Lauren Villagran, Omar Ornelas, Aline Simerman

Deadline writing

Second place: Lauren Villagran, Daniel Borunda

Third place: Aaron Martinez

Business reporting

Second place: Vic Kolenc

Star Investigative Report of the Year

Third place: Lauren Villagran

Sports photography

Third place: Omar Ornelas

Honorable mention: Omar Ornelas

Feature photography

Third place: Gaby Velasquez


Third place: Gaby Velasquez

Sports column writing

Honorable mention: Bret Bloomquist

This article originally appeared on El Paso Times: El Paso Times wins 'Newsroom of the Year' 2023 in Texas