First, I want to congratulate again the winners of our Celebration of the Arts amateur art competition. You may recall we announced their names in our June issue.
This month, we are pleased to provide a special pull-out section with images of their winning artworks and brief profiles of all the winners. I hope you enjoy reading about the sources of their creative sparks and find their stories inspiring.
I also want to congratulate our own writing staff and our wonderful freelancers who have recently been recognized for their top-notch work.
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 specifically for the 50+ market.
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 18 NAMPA awards.
Our managing editor, Margaret Foster, won first place awards for two cover stories: “Coming around to cannabis,” about the rapid rise in availability of medical marijuana throughout Maryland and D.C., and a profile of Lonnie Bunch III, the head of the Smithsonian Institution and founding director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture. The judge called the latter piece “a thoroughly engaging profile” a “spirited interview” and a “must-read.”
Regular contributor Glenda Booth won first place for a feature story about women pilots who participate in an annual airplane race. The judge said, “this is where good reporting and deft storytelling meet to engage the reader from beginning to end.”
And first-time contributor Alice Shapiro won first place in the How-To category for her article, “Should you move or be the perfect guest?” about the quandary you might face if your adult children moved away and asked you to follow, as hers had.
Our travel writer, Victor Block, won first place for two “most inviting” stories with a maritime theme: one about a riverboat cruise on the Danube, and one about Panama and its famous canal. He was praised for capturing the beauty, history and culture of his destinations.
Our quarterly Housing & Homecare Options pull-out section, which appears in both the Greater Washington and Baltimore Beacons, won first place for best special section.
And several of my columns — on diversity, COVID-19, artificial intelligence and music — were honored in the Editorial, Senior Issues and Personal Essay categories.
Our Greater Washington edition overall won first place in the General Excellence category, which of course is one of the most meaningful.
Our other editions weren’t too shabby, either! Our Howard County Beacon February cover story, “Facing a painful part of the past,” won Ivey Noojin first place in the Topical Issue category.
Robert Friedman won first place for his profile of Alice McDermott, which was our March cover story for both the Howard County and Baltimore Beacons.
Writer Simone Ellin won first place in the Feature category for her cover story about Baltimore’s Rock Steady Boxing program for Parkinson’s patients.
And theatre reviewer Dan Collins won first place for two of his reviews of Baltimore productions.
Our Richmond publication, Fifty Plus, brought home a first- and a second-place award in the Profile and How-To categories.
And as a result of all the above awards, the Beacon was honored with Best of Show — the top prize of the whole competition.
In short, nearly every Beacon staff writer and freelancer was honored in this national competition, and we couldn’t be prouder of each 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.
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; Vice President of Sales & Marketing Alan Spiegel; Art Director Kyle Gregory; Assistant Operations Manager (and webmaster) Roger King; Advertising Representatives Dan Kelly, Steve Levin, M.K. Phillips and Lisa Benton-Hawkins; Assistant Editor Catherine Brown; Content Manager Ashley Griffin and last, but certainly not least, my wife, the Beacon’s president, 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.
Don’t miss our Expo!
Just a reminder that our first virtual 50+Expo brings together nearly 100 informative exhibits and dozens of expert speakers, engaging classes and varied entertainment, all available 24/7 at beacon50expo.com.
This totally free event, which runs through the end of January, is made possible by a partnership between the Beacon and the Baltimore County Department of Aging and the Howard County Office on Aging & Independence, and by our many sponsors and exhibitors.
We owe a particular debt of gratitude to our Gold Sponsors: the Maryland Department of Aging and Maplewood Park Place.
Please take a minute to visit beacon50expo.com and see all that we offer there. We hope you choose to stay and explore the site, and that you will return often and encourage your friends and family to visit, too.
And while there, be sure to register for our $100 door prize drawings. A new winner is selected every week.