Tooting our horn

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Every year, we enter a selection of our original stories in the editorial contests run by the two largest 50+ media associations: the National Mature Media Awards, and the North American Mature Publishers Association (NAMPA) awards.

I am pleased to report that the Beacon once again came away from both competitions with some top honors. In fact, this year, all three of our Beacon editions — including our new Howard County Beacon — won awards.

The Mature Media awards draw entries from national publications, such as AARP The Magazine, as well as local papers like ours. They are judged by recognized writing and aging experts.

This year we won two silver awards. Our managing editor, Barbara Ruben, won one for her Greater Washington cover story, “Two generations kiss and tell,” about a mother and daughter bookwriting team. We also won a silver award in the overall “newspaper” category for last year’s July issue.

Our Baltimore contributing editor, Carol Sorgen, won bronze awards for two other cover stories —  “Fitness leads to ageless body,” and “Finding freedom on two wheels.”  A Greater Washington cover story by Ruben about the growing popularity of tattooing among older adults, “Making their mark with body art,” won a merit award.

The Mature Media competition was for items published in 2010, so our Howard County edition was not yet eligible. But we were able to enter stories from our earliest Howard County editions in the NAMPA competition because it covered publications from July 2010 through June 2011.

So we were pleased that the cover of our debut Howard County issue, “When grown kids move back in,” written by Sorgen, won first place in NAMPA’s feature writing category for papers with circulations under 50,000.

By the way, the NAMPA competition is judged by the prestigious University of Missouri School of Journalism, and its judges provide comments with all awards. The judges called Sorgen’s cover a “well-researched, deftly written piece that provides context and solutions as well as lively anecdotes.”

We are particularly proud of our Baltimore edition, which not only won two first-place writing awards in its division (50,000-100,000 circulation), but also first place for general excellence and overall “Best of Show” in its division.

Here’s what the judges had to say about our Baltimore edition:

“Sophisticated in content and presentation, the Baltimore Beacon reflects an audience that obviously seeks both an authoritative and more broad-minded approach to topics. While it remains committed to subjects of value for its audience — health, travel, investments, the arts — it doesn’t shy away from tough issues, such as medical marijuana, divorce and retirement resentment. This is a refreshing publication that gives readers tools to manage life’s challenges.”

Our Greater Washington edition won two first place awards, as well as second place for general excellence in its division (papers with more than 100,000 circulation).

Ruben won first place in the senior issues category with her cover story, “Sex, drugs and HIV after 50,” which the judges called “really important work on a subject of national importance.”

And my January 2011 From the Publisher column, “Time to advocate” — in which I encouraged readers to support the independent existence of the Maryland Department of Aging through a letter-writing and email campaign — was awarded first place in the community service editorial category.

Of course, the real reward of that column was in the success of the advocacy effort, made possible by the tremendous support of Beacon readers like you.

Which leads me to note that, whatever awards we do or do not win, what always matters the most to us is what our readers think of us. We value your opinion, always welcome your input, and ask that you share your comments and suggestions with us via mail, e-mail, phone or fax. We love to hear from you.

I want to conclude by expressing my thanks to, and admiration for, the entire Beacon staff. They are truly committed (and often overworked), and I’d like to thank them by name for their excellent efforts and devoted contributions to the Beacon:

Managing Editor Barbara Ruben, Contributing Editor Carol Sorgen, Vice President for Operations Gordon Hasenei, Director of Sales Alan Spiegel, Graphic Designer Kyle Gregory, Asst. Operations Manager (and webmaster) Roger King, Advertising Representatives Doug Hallock, Ron Manno, Steve Levin, Cheryl Watts and Dan Kelly, and last but certainly not least, my wife and Associate Publisher Judy Rosenthal.

We also are grateful for the many contributions of our talented freelancers, including Robert Friedman and Anne Ball in Howard County, travel writers Victor Block and Glenda Booth, theatre reviewer Michael Toscano, and freelance photographer, Frank Klein.

The Beacon would not exist without all of their efforts, nor without your reading of our publications. My thanks to you all.