As we approach the Thanksgiving season, I want to take this opportunity to show thanks for the many blessings we have here at the Beacon.
First, we are thankful for our hundreds of thousands of readers. It is for you that we launched the Beacon more than 30 years ago, and for whom our small but dedicated staff works so hard every month — putting out more than 200,000 copies of four editions distributed free of charge throughout the greater Baltimore, Howard County, greater Washington, D.C. and greater Richmond, Virginia areas.
I also want to thank the thousands of readers who attended our recent 50+Expos in Silver Spring, Maryland and Springfield, Virginia. For these — our 20th annual Expos — we had record turnout in both locations.
Those who came were able to get flu, pneumonia and shingles vaccines, free health screenings, information from more than 125 businesses, nonprofits and government agencies, and pretty much countless giveaways, ranging from pens and pillboxes to LED lightbulbs and, as one attendee complained to me, “too much chocolate!”
Of course, neither our Expos nor our monthly publications would exist without the support of our hundreds of monthly advertisers, ranging from retirement communities, government departments of aging and homecare agencies that have been steady advertisers for 30 years, to medical cannabis dispensaries that came into existence and discovered the Beacon only recently.
Not only do our advertisers make it possible for us to print and distribute free copies of the Beacon each month, they also supply useful information and helpful products and services that our readers depend on.
So, as we say in every issue, please support our advertisers — they keep the Beacon free, and they also provide important, practical content alongside our many articles on health, money, law, technology, housing, travel and the arts.
Speaking of which, I want to give a hearty thank-you to the members of our editorial staff who, together with a number of talented freelance writers, report, research and write our local articles, and who curate, localize and edit the content we obtain from a wide variety of wire services (including AP, Tribune Content Agency, Kiplinger’s, Mayo Clinic and Harvard University, among others).
Each year, we enter a selection of stories our staff and freelancers write in the annual editorial competition of the North American Mature Publishers Association, judged by the prestigious University of Missouri School of Journalism.
I am proud to report that 13 of these writers won 17 awards this year, which in turn qualified us for an 18th award: Best of Show for a publication in our category (over 100,000 circulation).
Of particular interest to Baltimore readers, freelancer Dan Collins won first place for his local theatre reviews, described by the judges as “thoughtfully conceived and memorably detailed.” Writer Carol Sorgen won second place in the same category for her “columns on local exhibitions [that] bristle with history and the human context.”
Sorgen, together with our Howard County freelancer Robert Friedman, also shared second place for our December 2018 cover story, “Is medical cannabis for you?” In “this timely and informative story…they teamed up to answer all the questions seniors might have,” the judges wrote.
In addition, Sorgen and Friedman won other awards for stories appearing in our Howard County and Greater Washington editions.
I also want to thank our staff whose dedicated efforts, month after month, keep our publications and our website fresh and new: Margaret Foster, managing editor (who won first place for a cover story she wrote for our D.C. edition); Susan Ahearn, assistant editor; Gordon Hasenei, VP of operations, Roger King, director of operations, Kyle Gregory, art director; Judy Rosenthal, president and associate publisher (and my wife); our sales staff whose efforts keep the rest of us afloat: Alan Spiegel, VP of sales and marketing, and ad reps Steve Levin, Doug Hallock, Dan Kelly, Hubie Stockhausen and LisaBenton-Hawkins; and Steve Andrzejczyk, web content manager.
A special shout-out to Kyle Gregory, who recently reached his 20th anniversary at the Beacon!
I thanked you, our readers, at the beginning of this column, but it’s only fair that I end with you as well. As much as we appreciate the awards showered on our publications each year, what all of us on the Beacon staff value most is the respect and loyalty of our readers.
Our advertisers and our publications would not be here without your ongoing support — in reading the Beacon, telling your friends about it, sharing articles with your doctors and family, and patronizing our advertisers (and telling them you saw them in the Beacon).
Our entire staff joins me in wishing you and yours a wonderful, healthy and happy Thanksgiving season.