Back from Branson

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There are a number of observations I could share with you about my recent trip to the “Live Music Capital of the World” (a.k.a. Branson, Missouri) for a national newspaper convention.

But the main news I’d like to share here is that I came back from Branson loaded down with 20 awards for writing, photography and general excellence that the Beacon won in the 2010 national competition of the North American Mature Publishers Association.

We had made a point of entering original writing and photography not only by our staff, but also by our local columnists and freelancers. And I’m happy to report that every one of the writers whose work we entered won at least one first or second place award, and some garnered several.

We’re in the process of preparing a new page on this site where we will gather all the award-winning profiles, features, travel stories, columns, editorials and photos for you to enjoy.

In the meantime, let me just give special recognition to Barbara Ruben, our managing editor, who not only won awards for her own writing, but deserves some of the credit for the rest of our entries since she hires our staff writers and freelancers and edits their work.

I also want to congratulate Carol Sorgen, our Baltimore feature writer, who won four first-place awards.

I’ll even forgive Bob Levey, our well-known monthly columnist, for besting me in the Personal Essay category. (He took first place; I settled for second.)

All in all, it was a great visit to Branson. I see why they call it the live music capital. I sure came home singing.