Oregon-based Ruralite Wins National Co-op Award

NRECA Board President Mel Coleman, Curtis Condon and NRECA Interim CEO Jeffrey Connor (left to right). Photo credit: Luis Gomez

(NEW ORLEANS, La.) — Managing Editor Curtis Condon and his staff at Ruralite magazine, based in Hillsboro, Ore., 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 the Haggard award on behalf of the Ruralite staff and Oregon statewide Executive Director Ted Case. This wouldn’t be possible without them,” said Condon. 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.

“Ted Case deserves a share of the credit for this year’s Haggard Award. Our entry included copies of his ORECA (Oregon Rural Electric Cooperative Association) edition as examples of Ruralite magazine. In fact, we used his edition exclusively. His eight monthly pages of commentaries, legislative updates and other statewide content and Ruralite’s popular features combined to produce the award-winning outcome,” explained Condon.

Ruralite is a publication of Ruralite Services, which reaches more than 320,000 homes monthly through 47 zoned editions covering Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Nevada, California and Montana. Statewide and regional publications across the nation competed for the award. Judges praised the magazine’s readability and the caliber of the writing.

Said one judge, 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.” More than one judge praised the mix of articles, which balanced statewide co-op topics and more general topics of interest to readers in Oregon and in the western region of the country.

The 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. He 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, each month reaching more than 12 million households served by cooperatives based in 38 states.

Ruralite 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.

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. The magazine is published by Ruralite Services, a communications cooperative founded in 1954 by utility leaders who pooled resources for effective communication tools.

More than 6,000 representatives from electric co-ops across the nation are attending NRECA’s Annual Meeting, Feb. 14-17 to set NRECA’s legislative and organizational agenda for 2016. Delegates will also hear from NRECA officials, key public figures and business experts about issues affecting electric cooperatives and their consumer members.

The NRECA 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.