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, including AARP and the Arthritis Foundation.

We are especially proud that nine of our 10 entries, including all three from the Baltimore Beacon, won honors in this year’s competition.

In the category for original articles, three of our Baltimore cover stories were honored: “Relationships in retirement” (Gold), “With siblings, it’s complicated” (Silver) and “Brightening ill children’s days” (Merit). All were written by our Baltimore Contributing Editor Carol Sorgen.

Carol has been writing for us since we began the Baltimore Beacon more than a 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 also won awards — a Gold and a Merit. Both were by Columbia freelancer Robert Friedman, a regular contributor to our Howard County edition.

Four cover stories from our flagship Greater Washington Beacon were honored — three with Silver Awards, plus one Merit — all by our Managing Editor, Barbara Ruben.

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 27 NAMPA awards, seven of them for stories from our Baltimore edition.

Carol Sorgen won two first place awards and two second place awards for her feature stories. Freelancer Jennifer Waldera also won a second place award for her profile of a cop who writes crime novels.

Barbara Ruben won a first place award, and the Baltimore Beacon generally won first place in the “General Excellence” category for papers of its size.

And our Greater 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: Feature Writing (Barbara Ruben), Review Column (arts reviewer Michael Toscano and Assistant Editor Rebekah Alcalde), Senior Issues (columnists Bob Levey and Alexis Bentz), Profiles (Barbara Ruben and Rebekah Alcalde), How-to Feature (Barbara Ruben), Travel Column (freelancers Victor Block and Glenda Booth), and Topical Issues (Barbara Ruben). In addition, our quarterly “Housing & Homecare Options” magazine won first place in Special Sections.

The judges took the time to write specific comments about each winning article. Among their thoughts about the Baltimore Beacon and our writers: “Every bit of this publication is well-written and interesting to read,” “many items of interest for a wide variety of readers,” “good advice and solid statistics.” All in all, our writers did us proud.

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 multiple editions of 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, Assistant Operations Manager (and webmaster) Roger King, Advertising Representatives Doug Hallock, Rodney Harris, Dan Kelly, Steve Levin and Hubie Stockhausen, 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 who read our publications each month. I offer my sincere appreciation to each of you.