It's an Honor

This is my favorite column of the year. And not just because it’s easy to write.

Every summer, state and local journalism organizations begin handing out honors for editorial excellence. And I get to recognize the hard work Cleveland Magazine’s staff has put in for the past year.

Each month when we begin planning, writing, editing, taking photos for and designing the magazine, we start with some simple building blocks:

Service: Often our cover story, our service pieces are meant to enhance your Cleveland experience. Whether the subject is “Rating the Suburbs,” child care, beauty or things to do with your kids (check out “The Last Days of Summer,” page 112), our service journalism is meant to be informative, authoritative and entertaining.

Be in the mix: This is our catchphrase for stories that are timely and engaging and get people talking. We strive to create a dialogue, to advance the community’s thinking on issues and gain a better understanding of the people behind the news. This month, for example, in the first of a two-part series (“White Coats,” page 90), Jacqueline Marino follows three Case med students through their first year to see what it takes to become a doctor and how Case is leading a shift in medical education.

View the city in new ways: In every issue we try to provide a new discovery or a fresh take on someone you thought you knew. This month, Colleen Mytnick introduces us to Kim Vargas (“The Harvard Graduate,” page 86), only the second Cleveland public schools student to attend Harvard in 20 years.

Moments of delight: We want to surprise you, make you laugh or deliver an unexpected turn. Sometimes it can be a simple phrase in a story, or it can be the entire concept itself. We think this month’s “Notorious Cleveland” cover story (page 96) is filled with such moments. We look back at our city’s crooks, scalawags, scamps and clowns along with some incidents and places that have kept us talking through the years (and allow you to rate them in our NCAA-basketball-style tournament bracket).

Apparently the judges for this year’s Ohio Excellence in Journalism competition, presented by the Press Club of Cleveland, were delighted as well. They named Cleveland Magazine the Best Magazine in Ohio for the first time since 2000.

Especially impressive was the work of associate editor Jacqueline Marino, who earned two first-place awards, two seconds and an honorable mention. In the personality profile category, Jacquie nabbed the top two spots with “The Mystique of Sharon Reed,” a profile of the Channel 19 newscaster, and “Battle Cry,” a look at lottery loser Elecia Battle’s foray into women’s boxing.

Senior editor Colleen Mytnick completed the magazine’s sweep of the category with an honorable mention for her portrait of former Brook Park Mayor Tom Coyne’s road to recovery and attempted return to politics. (Interestingly, you’ll find all three subjects in “Notorious Cleveland.”)

The magazine also took two of three awards in the consumer features category, with a first for “The Grown-ups’ Guide to Child Care” and an honorable mention for “Best of Cleveland.”

We also earned top honors for Erick Trickey’s “Inside the Nate Gray Case” in public service and investigative journalism, and for Amber Matheson’s “Go Fish” in travel writing. Other writing awards included second place to Jacquie Marino for “It’s Wonderful Living in West Park” for general news column, and Laura Taxel for “Bite Me!” in food writing. Honorable mentions went to Dave “Coondog” O’Karma for “Coondog O’Karma Goes to Japan” in the single essay category, Erick Trickey and the staff for “Mayor’s Race 2005” in news coverage, and Jacquie Marino for “The Education of Santina Protopapa” in arts features.

On the graphics and design side, art director Gary Sluzewski captured a first place for his multiple-page design for last August’s “Classic Cleveland” and a second place for the cover of that issue.

It’s a great honor to work with so many talented people, to see them recognized by our peers from throughout the country, and to continue bringing you Cleveland Magazine every month.

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