On Our Honors

Sometimes all it takes is a little reminder. A nudge at the stem of your brain.

It could be a picture, a few notes of a song or the way that first warm day of spring always smells like baseball.

It’s enough to shake you from the blur of the everyday. Things become sharp again. Interesting. Fresh.

Brian Storm specializes in those moments. He is president of MediaStorm, a multimedia production studio in New York City. If you’ve seen his work — cinematic stories about family farms in Iowa or the Marlboro Marine, you understand how a five-minute piece can change your outlook. If you haven’t, visit mediastorm.org and watch anything he’s done. (Seriously, I’ll wait. It’s worth it.)

Storm spoke at the City and Regional Magazine Association’s annual conference, where I sat in on his session and watched some of his work, including a story for National Geographic.

“Everyone says the audience is apathetic these days,” he told the group. “The audience is on fire. We’re the apathetic ones.”

Big media. Newspapers. It’s our fault. He urged us to take journalism back, to tell great stories, important stories. Tell people how they can make a difference.

That’s the kind of excellence we strive for each month. The City and Regional Magazine Association and the Press Club of Cleveland recently honored our efforts.

It had been a decade sinceCleveland Magazine earned an award from the national CRMA contest, so our three nominations this year were an outstanding achievement. Among those was contributor Heide Aungst’s feature, “Georgianna’s Choice,” which followed a mother’s decision to carry to term a baby with a fatal disease. It was one of five finalists in the highly competitive features category.

Two online efforts were also among five finalists in their respective categories: our On the Town newsletter, edited by associate editor Kim Schneider, and our multimedia offerings, which included several slideshows and our monthly podcast.

In the statewide Excellence in Journalism Awards presented by the Press Club of Cleveland, Aungst’s story earned double honors with a first place finish in medical/health writing and a second place in general magazine feature. The judges were impressed, commenting, “Beautiful writing. Well organized. The story was well told and brought tears to my eyes.”

Likewise, senior editor Erick Trickey’s “Porn, Fisticuffs and the Fall of Pat O’Malley” grabbed first place in the magazine news category and second in politics/government writing. “Well reported and wonderfully written,” the judges said.

In the magazine category, Trickey also took top honors in public service/investigative writing with “Tower Play,” an examination of the county’s Ameritrust Tower deal.

Associate editors Andy Netzel and Amber Matheson took first place in food writing for their dining faceoff, “Vegging Out vs. Starch, Meat, Repeat.” Netzel, who also produces our podcast and contributes to 90.3 WCPN, picked up another first in the human interest radio category for “Bocce Ball: It’s Not Just for Italians Anymore.”

Crooked River Burning author Mark Winegardner, who makes an appearance this month on page 61, earned first place in single essays with “The Final Out,” a look at the Cleveland Indians last spring training game in Winter Haven, Fla.

Second place honors went to: theCleveland Magazine staff in consumer features for our February cover story, “Think Outside the Box;” Jason Miller and Katie Kuehn in online features for “Screaming Good Time;” Barney Taxel and art director Jennifer Kessen in single image for “Tastemakers;” Michael Cavotta in multiple images for “Vegging Out vs. Starch, Meat, Repeat;” and Billy Delfs in portraits for his photograph of mystery writer Les Roberts.

These awards are good reminders of the effort it takes to do good work, to take journalism back, as Brian Storm says. You’ll find more examples in this issue and those that follow.eric mull
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