With appreciation

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Each year, I look forward to fall, knowing that our annual 50+Expos can’t be far behind. I so relish the opportunity to see hundreds, even thousands, of our readers in person, and to speak with many of you, as I did last month at our Maryland and Virginia events.

There is nothing so heartwarming to a journalist as to meet readers and hear accolades and appreciation for our work, as well as constructive criticism and suggestions for future articles.

This year’s events were not disappointing. Both our Virginia Expo at Ballston Mall and our Maryland event at the Silver Spring Civic Center were well-attended and hopping with excitement. Both of our keynote talks were extremely well attended, our exhibit areas, health screening and flu shot providers were crowded all afternoon, and there were people swaying and dancing to the sounds of our band and guest soloists.

I want to thank all of you who attended, and especially those who brought friends and family along. I also want to thank our exhibitors and sponsors who make it possible for us to offer these free events each year.

I also owe a debt of thanks to all our staffers at the Beacon, who have been working tirelessly for months to make this year’s events our best yet.

This is also a good time to note some recent recognition the Beacon has received from two national journalism competitions: the National Mature Media Awards and the North American Mature Publishers Association (NAMPA) awards competition.

The Mature Media Awards is perhaps the most prestigious of the competitions for publications in our niche. This is the competition that is often swept by AARP’s Bulletin and Magazine.

Nearly every year we receive one or more Mature Media Awards, and this year we were thrilled to win seven: A Silver Award for my (somewhat controversial) column of last December, “The Time is Ripe,” urging efforts to address Social Security’s long-term issues, and a Bronze Award for another column of mine (addressing healthcare reform); three additional Bronze Awards — two of them for cover stories written by Barbara Ruben (“Her homes change boys’ lives” and “Providing kids good counsel”), one for a cover story from our Coachella Valley (Calif.) edition by Connie George (“Love after 50 still going strong”); and two Merit Awards — one for another cover story by Connie, and one in general recognition of our Greater Washington edition.

At the NAMPA convention this year, our four editions of the Beacon garnered so many awards that they asked me to stay near the announcer so I wouldn’t hold up the proceedings walking back and forth from my seat!

For example, for best Profile, Anne Ball won first place in the 20,000 copies and under category for a cover story in our Howard County edition, “Dentist is astronomy rock star.” In the same size category, Connie George won third place for a cover in our Coachella edition, “Born to be a lifelong showgirl.”

For best Profile in the 20,001-50,000 circulation category, Carol Sorgen (contributing editor for our Baltimore edition) won first place for her cover story “A refugee’s artistic journey,” and Barbara Ruben (managing editor of all our editions) won first place for “Her homes change boys’ lives,” in the 50,001-100,000+ category, our Greater Washington edition.

Carol also won first place awards for her Arts Review stories, for a Community Service article, and second place for Feature Writing. Barbara also won first place awards for Feature Writing and for a Topical Issue story.

Two cover stories by Robert Friedman, who writes for our Howard County edition, also won first-place awards. The judges (from the University of Missouri School of Journalism) called his cover story, “Muslim community reaches out,” “a fine piece of journalism.”

Our travel writer, Victor Block won first place for his Travel Columns, and our new publishing assistant, Rebekah Sewell, won first place for her story in our Greater Washington Housing Options section about “Communities designed for military vets.”

Our theater reviewer, Michael Toscano, won first place for his “in-depth reviews” in our Washington edition, and in the Personal Essay category, both Bob Levey and I won awards for our regular columns.

The best news came last: both our Baltimore and Washington editions won General Excellence awards for their “inventive topics and entertaining features throughout,” and our Baltimore edition won Best of Show for amassing the most honors in its division.

Of course, whatever awards we do or do not win, what always matters most to us is what you, our readers, think. 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, which works so diligently to produce our four editions every month. I’d like to thank them by name for their efforts and devoted contributions to the Beacon:

Managing Editor Barbara Ruben, Contributing Editor Carol Sorgen, Director of Operations Gordon Hasenei, Director of Sales Alan Spiegel, Graphic Designer Kyle Gregory, Asst. Operations Manager (and webmaster) Roger King, Advertising Representatives Doug Hallock, Steve Levin, Cheryl Watts, Dan Kelly and Jill Joseph, Publishing Assistant Rebekah Sewell, 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, Connie George in Coachella Valley, travel writers Victor Block and Glenda Booth, theater reviewer Michael Toscano, and freelance photographer Frank Klein.

The Beacon would not exist without all of their efforts, nor without you reading our publications. My appreciation goes out to all of you.