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Hats Off!

At Bay Weekly, doing our best is all in a day’s work

by Carrie Madren

There’s no red carpet rolled out at the Maryland, Delaware, D.C. Press Association’s annual awards celebration, but writers, editors, advertising designers, photographers and layout producers revel just the same in a moment of recognition. Then they get back to work to create the next issue.

With the help of our readers, who challenge us to bring them the best of the Bay each week, Bay Weekly writers and designers brought home eight awards for their work in 2007. Judges were the writers and designers of the West Virginia Press Association.

Winning Writers

Bay Weekly’s prizewinning stories and column stood out among nearly 500 entries nominated by 25 newspapers in our non-daily circulation division: 10,000 to 20,000 papers.

Sporting life columnist Dennis Doyle reeled in a first place, for his second prize in the two years he’s written in Bay Weekly. “Abandoned by Lady Luck is a story about bad luck,” Doyle says. “But it turned to be good luck with this award.” He impressed judges with his hard-luck story of getting skunked after washing both his lucky fishing hats. [See]

Senior staff writer Carrie Madren earned two first places this year. In the environmental story category, her ’07 Earth Day feature won the judges’ praise for “documented research” in explaining how person by person we can make “A World of Difference” in slowing global warming. [See [].

Madren also shared a first prize with Bay Alex Knoll for the headline “Waste Watchers,” a summer story about the West/Rhode Riverkeeper’s honey-dipping pump out boat. [See]

We learned the local background, struggles and promotion of D.C. police chief Cathy Lanier in “Cathy Lanier’s Long Climb,” which earned staff writer Margaret Tearman first place prize for Feature Profile. [See]

Of all the stories written by other papers about Lanier, Tearman’s piece alone is framed in the chief’s Harwood home.

“There were so many stories written about her that didn’t win, so it’s very flattering,” Tearman says, that judges picked hers.

Voyages of Discovery columnist Lynn Teo Simarski took second place in the medical/science category for “The Bay’s Blast from the Past,” describing the meteor that helped form Chesapeake Bay more than 35 million years ago. [See].

Contributing writer Michelle Steel won her first award for energy coverage. Second-prize winning “Energy Wise” started with Steel’s outrage at skyrocketing energy bills. It examined the reasons for rising rates and concluded that “If we can’t pay less, we can at least buy green, raising our rank in the army fighting global warming.” [See]

“It took about four months to come together, culminating in a six-hour editing session the day after Thanksgiving,” Steel says. “If I had imagined winning a prize for any of my stories, I’d have wanted it to be this one.”

Doing Advertisers Proud

In the advertising competition, Bay Weekly competed with 21 papers — and some 200 entries — to bring home four awards. Production manager Betsy Kehne won a first for her design “Poem of the Week” for Sisk Auto Body, which pens its own poems.

Kehne won another first for her before-and-after display illustrating how Bay Weekly’s production staff can take a business’s flyer and turn it into a quality advertisement. “The idea was to show how we take information that clients give us and produce a nice, professional looking ad,” she explained.

For Calvert County’s Tourism campaign series “Choose Calvert,” Kehne earned a second prize. She shared another second with marketing and sales director Lisa Edler Knoll for “West Annapolis: Holiday Madness,” an appealing grid of businesses and their holiday offerings.

“While we don’t work for awards, it’s still a feather in our cap to be recognized by our peers,” says Bay Weekly chief executive officer Alex Knoll.

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