Kudos to our writers

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Each year, we enter a selection of our writers’ original stories in the journalism competitions of the National Mature Media Awards and the North American Mature Publishers Association (NAMPA).

We do this for two reasons: One, as a way to be sure we are keeping up the quality of our writing compared with other publications throughout the country.

Two, because we’re pretty confident about the first reason,  (that is, we believe our writers are among the best anywhere), and want to give them the opportunity to earn recognition they will treasure from well-respected, objective judges.

I’m happy and proud to report that every one of our regular writers and freelancers came away with one or more honors in this year’s competitions.

The declared goal of the Mature Media Awards is “to recognize the nation’s ‘best and brightest’ materials and programs produced every year for older adults.” The prestigious competition attracts entries from national organizations and publications, such as those from AARP, the Arthritis Foundation and the Mayo Clinic.

We are especially proud that this year, all 12 of our entries won honors in this competition!

In the category for original articles, four cover stories from the Baltimore Beacon were honored: “Elder abuse often not reported” and “Our world-renowned glassblower” won Silver Awards, while “Growing older without children” and “Being gay and gray in Baltimore” won Bronze Awards.

All four cover stories were written by our Baltimore contributing editor, Carol Sorgen. Carol has been writing for us since we began the Baltimore Beacona dozen years ago and wins accolades every year for her excellent work. We are proud to have her on our staff.

Two cover stories from the Howard County Beacon won Bronze Awards — “Program takes a bite out of hunger,” and  “Remembering WWII 70 years later.” And another cover won a Merit Award. All three articles were by Robert Friedman, a regular contributor to our Howard County edition.

As in Baltimore, four cover stories from our flagship Greater Washington Beacon were honored — two with Silver Awards, plus one Bronze and one Merit Award — all by our managing editor, Barbara Ruben. In addition, that edition also won a Bronze Award in the broader Newsletter/Newspaper category.

Another annual journalism competition is held by the North American Mature Publishers Association (NAMPA), the association for newspapers and magazines specifically for the 50+ market.

NAMPA’s annual journalism competition attracts hundreds of submissions every year and is judged by internationally respected faculty at the University of Missouri School of Journalism. This year, we received 20 NAMPA awards.

Carol Sorgenwon a first place for Feature Writing, a first for Topical Issues, and a second for Profile, all in our Baltimore edition.

Robert Friedman was honored with a first place for Feature Writing and a third place for Topical Issues in our Howard County edition.

And our Washington edition not only won “Best of Show” and first place for General Excellence in its category (publications over 100,000 circulation), but also multiple honors in the following categories: Review Column (arts reviewer Michael Toscano), Senior Issues (columnist Bob Levey), Personal Essay (former advertising representative Jill Joseph), Profiles (Barbara Ruben), How-to Feature (Rebekah Sewell Alcalde), Travel Column (Glenda Booth), and Topical Issues (yours truly).

The judges took the time to write a specific paragraph about each winning article. I won’t take the space to repeat any in full, but among their statements are the following descriptions: “a fascinating read,” “informative and clearly written,” “smoothly and engagingly told,” “excellent reporting,” and “a compelling piece.” The judges said our cover stories “make this publication stand out.”

Of course, whatever awards we do or do not win, what matters most to us is that you, our readers, are pleased with the practical information, news and entertainment you find each month in the Beacon.

Please let us know what you think — even (actually, especially) if you think we are missing the boat in any particular area. Also feel free to share ideas for future stories and to recommend your fellow citizens for profiles. Your opinions, suggestions and letters to the editor are always welcome, whether you contact us by mail, phone, fax, email or online.

I want to conclude by expressing my thanks to, and admiration for, all our writers (and editors) mentioned above as well as the other members of our staff, who work so diligently to produce the Beacon every month. I’d like to thank them by name for their efforts and devoted contributions:

Vice President of Operations Gordon Hasenei, Director of Sales Alan Spiegel, Art Director Kyle Gregory, Asst. Operations Manager (and webmaster) Roger King, Advertising Representatives Doug Hallock, Steve Levin, Dan Kelly, Rena Pinsky and Paul Whipple, Social Media Assistant Steve Andrzejczyk, and last but certainly not least, my wife and Associate Publisher Judy Rosenthal.

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