Country Living Steve Oden, editor of Country Living, with NRECA CEO Glenn English and former President Guidry. Photo credit: Mike Lynch
New Orleans, LA, Wednesday, February 20, 2013 —Ohio’s Country Living magazine received today the prestigious George W. Haggard Memorial Journalism Award for 2012 from the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA).
Country Living reaches the homes and businesses of more than 294,000 electric cooperative consumer-members in Ohio and West Virginia every month, covering issues affecting electric co-ops while weaving in articles that highlight local businesses, attractions, and people. The Haggard Award annually recognizes an electric co-op publication demonstrating the most forthright, concise, and balanced presentation of ideas advancing the objectives of electric cooperatives and their members.
NRECA Chief Executive Officer Glenn English and NRECA Board President Michael Guidry presented the award to Steve Oden, director of communications for the Ohio Rural Electric Cooperatives Inc. (OREC), during the 2013 NRECA Annual Meeting here. Oden accepted the award on behalf of the staff of Country Living, which is published by OREC, the Columbus, Ohio-based statewide association representing the interests of electric cooperatives in Ohio and West Virginia.
“Our coverage of electric cooperative issues and news involving our member co-ops’ wholesale power supplier, Buckeye Power, frequently comprises half the page count of the magazine,” Oden said. “Even with feature stories, recipes, and destination articles, we try to find electric cooperative connections. There are lots of good stories to tell about Ohio's electric co-ops.”
The publication was lauded for its easy-to-understand, original articles on complicated energy issues, strong headlines, and varied content for its wide array of readers. “I have to say that one of your articles has educated me more than any other I’ve reviewed so far in the competition,” one judge observed. “I now know what a ‘super-derecho’ is.”
The Haggard Award competition also encourages graphic as well as editorial excellence, as noted by another comment: “The Country Living design invites readers into its pages to read the excellent content.”
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. Haggard championed the creation of electric cooperative statewide consumer publications. Today, 32 electric co-op statewide publications consistently rank among the most widely read in the United States, reaching more than 12 million households served by cooperatives based in 38 states each month. Eighteen publications entered the 2012 competition.
The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association is the national service organization that represents the nation's more than 900 private, not-for-profit, consumer-owned electric cooperatives, which provide service to 42 million people in 47 states.