ack to August 2008 home page

Up Front: August 2008

And once again

When the longtime emcee of the Alliance of Area Business Publications Editorial Excellence Awards announced the winner of this year’s gold prize for best body of work by a magazine writer, he prefaced it by saying, “Here’s a name we’re familiar with.” It was the fourth time Ed Martin has won the top prize. In fact, he received the award three consecutive years, followed by a bronze prize the next year.

In all, Ed has won 17 awards — 13 of them gold — from the AABP, including another three-year run in which he took top honors for best magazine feature. But the amazing thing about this year’s prize is that he won it for work he did last year when he was seriously ill.

As anybody who read last month’s cover story knows, Ed was suffering from a leaking mitral valve and atrial fibrillation that, sooner rather than later, surely would lead to heart failure. But each day, no matter how bad he felt, he’d drag himself into work. Sometimes he could hardly keep his head off his desk. Go home, we’d urge. No, he would reply with a wan smile, might as well suffer here as at home. Besides, he might get some work done.

That he accomplished it is evident in the comments of the judges, members of the University of Missouri School of Journalism faculty: “The writer shows not only can he write well but can dig for the impossible-to-get story, such as an inside look at the controversial Blackwater USA. His writing takes you to the action, whether it would be listening to gunfire in Camden County to charting the future of the marine industry from the point of view of a fisherman setting out to Portsmouth Island.”

We also won three bronze awards: • Best magazine feature layout for Art Director Manny Marquez’ treatment of Contributing Photographer Scott Stiles’ shots for the photo feature on a comics convention that ran in our September issue. “This layout does a good job of adapting the comic-book form of the subject matter and goes the extra mile to appeal to readers who would be interested in this subject by putting it into their design lingo. The captioning was especially clever in speaking both to comic-book fans and to the uninitiated.” • Best use of photography/illustration in a magazine: “The variety of photography and illustration styles contribute to an ever-changing sense of surprise, an avoidance of same old, same old. The technical quality, lighting and composition of the photographs succeed at attracting readers. Rob Edwards’ superb illustration for ‘A Slippery Slope’ [June 2007] is worth the price of admission, as is [Contributing Photographer Steve Exum’s] photo illustration for ‘Getting a Toon Up’ [August 2007].” • Best magazine/newspaper bylined commentary for G.D. Gearino’s Fine Print column in the December issue: “A writer’s creativity on display here, as a rumination on the housing crisis takes a different path. Wonderful use of the everyday to tell bigger stories of great societal import, on a local level.”