Curtis Condon receives the 2015 Haggard Award. He is flanked by NRECA President Mel Coleman (L) and NRECA interim CEO Jeffrey Connor. Photo courtesy of NRECA

Valentine’s Day was sweeter this year for northwest utilities. Over the weekend Ruralite magazine was recognized nationally for journalistic excellence.

Ruralite Managing Editor Curtis Condon and his staff won the 2015 George W. Haggard Memorial Journalism award from the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA). The award was presented at NRECA’s annual meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana on February 14.

“I’m honored and proud to accept this award,” says Curtis. “Content mix was the key to this year’s win. The Haggard judges have always put an emphasis on balance. They want to see just the right blend of industry-related content and general-interest features.”

Curtis credits one member’s strong voice in particular for helping Ruralite shine on the national stage. The award entry relied on copies of Oregon Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s (ORECA’s) edition as an example of Ruralite magazine’s winning partnership with utility leaders. Ted Case, executive director of ORECA in Salem, Oregon, manages the pages.

ORECA Executive Director Ted Case

“Ted deserves a share of the credit for this year’s award. His 8 monthly pages of commentaries, legislative updates and other statewide content combined with Ruralite’s popular features produced the award-winning outcome,” explained Curtis.

Ruralite is a publication of Ruralite Services, reaching more than 320,000 homes monthly through 47 zoned editions covering Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Nevada, California, and Montana. The magazine focuses on activities and issues affecting readers in the West. Monthly features highlight regional places and personalities, food and outdoor activities and articles focus on electrical safety, energy efficiency, and the power industry.

Statewide and regional publications across the nation competed for the award. Ruralite is unique in the competition; most publications only report on one state, while Ruralite covers seven. Judges praised the magazine’s readability, presentation, and writing.

“The quality of articles and effective distribution of articles on electric cooperatives establishes the publication as an advocate for their interests as well as the interests of consumers and members,” said a judge.

Ruralite was praised for a healthy mix of articles balancing co-op topics and more general topics of interest to readers.

“The subjects selected for coverage and the caliber of writing are both excellent,” said a judge.

The success of the magazine hinges on cooperation between Ruralite editors and utility communicators. Member utilities tailor eight pages of local content throughout each monthly issue, providing the distinctive flavor for each edition of Ruralite magazine.

About the Haggard Award

Haggard awardThe Haggard Award annually recognizes the electric co-op publication demonstrating the most forthright, concise, and balanced presentation of ideas advancing the objectives of electric cooperatives and their members. The award honors George W. Haggard, a former statewide editor, statewide manager, and federal Rural Electrification Administration official who was killed in a plane crash in 1951.

NRECA is the national service organization that represents the nation’s more than 900 private, not-for-profit, consumer-owned electric cooperatives, providing service to 42 million people in 47 states.