A pat on the back
Each year, we enter a selection of our writers’ original stories in the annual journalism competition held by the North American Mature Publishers Association (NAMPA), the association for newspapers and magazines designed for readers 50 and over.
That competition attracts hundreds of submissions every year and is judged by internationally respected faculty at the University of Missouri School of Journalism.
This year, our four publications, each of which competes in a different category based on circulation, received a total of 21 NAMPA awards.
Among those we won were perhaps the most-valued prizes: Best of Show and General Excellence. The other awards were for specific stories, sections or columns.
In some cases, the winning stories appeared in all of our editions. For example, two of our regular travel writers, Victor Block and Don Mankin, won first and second-place awards, respectively, for their travel features.
Block was praised for his “delightful observations” and for “showing a nifty touch for detail.” The judges liked how Mankin compiles “a bucket list of adventures suited to” our readers.
Our quarterly Housing & Homecare Options pull-out section won first place in the Special Section category. These sections appear in the Baltimore and Greater Washington Beacons every January, April, July and October.
Our special “Celebration of the Arts” insert, which appeared in all editions, won second place for Special Section. It contained images of winning artwork and short articles about the artists from our 2020 amateur art competition for older adults.
Our Managing Editor Margaret Foster and Assistant Editor Catherine Brown wrote the seven articles in that section, which involved interviewing 21 artists in seven categories.
Foster also won a first-place award for her Topical Issue story, “A caring home for those with disabilities,” which ran on the cover of our Housing Section this past April.
Robert Friedman, a long-time freelance writer for the Beacon, penned a story, “A spy reveals her life in disguise,” that ran on the cover of our Howard County, Baltimore and Greater Washington editions. It won a first prize award in the Profile category for Friedman’s “captivating inside story” about a CIA spy and master of disguise.
Friedman won another Profile award for his cover story about the new director of the Reginald F. Lewis Museum, Terri Lee Freeman. Titled “Conversations on race and culture,” the story “brings perspective to the heated subject of race,” according to the judges.
Glenda C. Booth, who also writes for many of our editions, won first place in Feature Writing for her story, “Moonshine and more for 2nd act.” That ran on the covers of our Baltimore and Greater Washington editions, and was called “an enlightening look at a bright new enterprise.”
Booth also won a second place Topical Issue award for “Speak out to make a difference,” about older adults who became lobbyists and advocates for Alzheimer’s research and other causes after retiring from their careers.
Former Beacon Assistant Editor, Ivey Noojin, was honored for her cover story, “Help from healthcare students,” which appeared in the Baltimore Beacon. Judges were impressed by “this heartwarming story told with grace and touching details.”
Three of our regular columnists were also honored. First place in Column Review went to Dinah Rokach, who writes as “The Bibliophile,” our book review column that appears primarily in the Greater Washington Beacon, but occasionally in other issues as well. She was noted for “taking care to read thoroughly and summarize succinctly.”
Second place in Senior Issues went to Bob Levey, whose column mostly appears in our Greater Washington edition. Judges liked his “sly sense of humor” and that “he always offers something to think about.”
A How-to Feature award went to Lela Martin, with the Virginia Cooperative Extension, whose gardening column runs in Fifty Plus, our Greater Richmond publication.
Speaking of Fifty Plus, two other authors won awards for their stories in that publication. Diane York was honored for “Doulas support end-of-life transitions.” The judges noted that “the sensitive way the writer handles the difficult nature of the story is impressive.”
Eileen Abbott’s cover story, “When caregivers face abuse, there’s hope,” was praised for “leading victims to solutions” and including “a much-appreciated list of resources.”
As regular readers know, I have been gradually returning to my childhood hobby of classical piano. One way I dipped my toe in was to assign myself an arts feature about a local doctor who composed his first symphony in his spare time.
That story, which appeared in both our Howard County and Greater Washington Beacons, won a feature writing award. It also inspired me to return to composing myself.
And several of my “From the Publisher” columns — on Alzheimer’s research, the COVID vaccine and seizing an opportunity to help others — were honored in the Editorial, Senior Issues and Personal Essay categories.
In short, nearly every Beacon staff writer and freelancer was honored in this national competition, and we couldn’t be prouder of them.
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. Your opinions, suggestions and letters to the editor are always welcome, whether you contact us by mail, phone, 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: Executive Vice President Gordon Hasenei; Art Director Kyle Gregory; Director of Operations Roger King; Advertising Representatives Lisa Benton-Hawkins, Dan Kelly, Steve Levin, M.K. Phillips and Alan Spiegel; Content Manager Ashley Griffin and last, but certainly not least, my wife, the Beacon’s President 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.
P.S. For those who have been following the saga of my bad back, I’m extremely happy to say that I am much better! Many thanks to all of you who sent me good wishes and advice.