Consider The Source When Selecting Prize Winners
Consider the source. That’s what we do with most stories in the magazine. And we know from experience that when Charles Kropke comes to us with an idea, it is something worth a look. You may recall we did a major feature on the troubled Everglades in the summer of 2016. Kropke was a major part of that story. He had produced a film on the Glades that we suggested should be seen by everyone before they are allowed to move to South Florida. When it comes to the “River of Grass,” he’s a man who knows his stuff. He is a true Gladesman who has been hanging out in the great marsh since he was a kid. He’s not intimidated by gators or pythons, but it’s a different story with water moccasins.
Therefore, there was little hesitation in giving the go-ahead to Eric Barton to accompany Kropke on an unusual mission—a night expedition to discover long lost man-made objects in the Everglades. Again, the source. Barton, who was editor of the New Times Broward/Palm Beach edition before it closed down, can make a good read out of subjects that don’t seem like naturals for our readership. Such as the intimate look he took at a truck stop a few years back. And his well-researched, cleverly written pieces have won our magazine a number of awards.
We gratefully acknowledge he did just that again with a triplicate. The finalists for the prestigious Sunshine State Awards listed three of Barton’s stories. We won’t know the first-place winners until the awards dinner this summer, but his entries in three different categories will be among the top selected from dozens submitted by magazines all over Florida. His pieces cover topics of police racial profiling, the wild monkeys of Dania Beach and the wonders of the Galapagos Islands. Gulfstream Media Group has two other winners. Craig Cottrell, the art director for all six of our books, won for his design of three stories and Kristen Desmond LeFevre will be honored for her piece on human trafficking.
Winning Sunshine State Awards is always satisfying because the competition includes magazines produced by major newspapers. Even in troubled times for the papers, they print some good magazines, such as the Sun-Sentinel’s City & Shore, which usually does well in the contest.
Just as we were going to press came word of other awards, this time one with an even broader competition. The Society of Professional Journalists gives Green Eyeshade Awards to newspapers and magazines in the Southeast United States. Eric Barton again won second and third place in one category. His story on racial profiling got a prize, as did a piece projecting the future of Fort Lauderdale. And, again, Kristen Desmond LeFevre received an award for “Heavy Traffic”—first place in the investigative writing category.
The curious thing about these latest prizes is that we did not even enter the contest. They must have been submitted by other sources. Go figure.
We do know that the combined circulation of our six Gulfstream Media Group publications will exceed 80,000 copies this fall. That means the sections that run in all magazines, and usually carry our award-winning stories, will have a total readership in the hundreds of thousands. Some newspapers exceed that, but none of them reach our complete market area, which includes four counties on the east coast of Florida. Indeed, no broadcast outlet even comes close. Their signals collide between Miami, Palm Beach and Orlando, limiting the reach of stations emanating from those locations.
You might call it an unfair advantage. But what could be fairer than that?