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IMB magazine honor is second only to National Geographic

RICHMOND, Va. (BP)–The Southern Baptist International Mission Board’s monthly magazine has won a major photography award in an international competition of top-rank publications.

“The Commission” won second place for Best Use of Photography by a Magazine in the annual Pictures of the Year International (POYi) contest sponsored by the University of Missouri School of Journalism and the National Press Photographers Association.

Perennial favorite National Geographic received the first place award in the category. Other entrants in the category included Time, Newsweek, Sports Illustrated and The New York Times Magazine.

The worldwide competition drew nearly 33,000 photographs and 1,800 page layouts submitted by 1,914 newspaper and magazine photographers and editors in 54 categories, said Bill Bangham, editor in chief of the magazine.

The judging was based on three issues of the magazine in 2000: May, which included a feature on China; November, which included features on Turkey, India and China; and December, which focused on the persecution of Christians in Ambon, Indonesia.

The Commission has been honored by POYi in the past, but never with this high an award.

The recognition reflects on the strength of the entire magazine, Bangham noted. “The contest judges magazines as a package, with an eye toward the use of strong visual photography,” he said. “It looks not just at the photography, but also at the editing and design and how it all comes together.

“The significance of the award for us is realizing that our competition is on the coffee tables of Southern Baptist homes. When our magazine hits our readers’ homes, we are competing with secular magazines like Newsweek and Sports Illustrated. This award shows we are competitive.”

The quality of the magazine reflects the quality of its people, Bangham added, singling out the efforts of Dan Beatty, design editor on the magazine for 23 years, for his leadership in photo editing and design.

“Our people are very talented, and there are a lot of other places they could be working. But they choose to work here and every one of them would tell you they have a sense of calling in what they do.”

Staff commitment to the magazine’s mission can be seen in the number of years staff members have served with the board, Bangham said. Just seven of the primary contributors represent 133 years of service, with many more years added by other staff members.

The awards ceremony was held April 19 at the Newseum in Arlington, Va. Canon and Fuji were corporate sponsors of the contest.

The Commission is published 10 times a year by the International Mission Board, a Southern Baptist Convention agency supported by the Cooperative Program and the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering.

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  • IMB magazine honor is second only to National Geog