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Changes Abound for MDDC’s 2014 Awards Recognition

Plans include new venue, combination of advertising, editorial luncheons
By T.C. Cameron

After attendance numbers fell in all three facets of the previous awards platform, the MDDC made some drastic changes.

MDDC’s annual awards recognition ceremonies, honoring the best work in advertising, writing and photojournalism, are undergoing a renovation.

The event is moving to the Westin-BWI in Linthicum Heights. This is the same hotel utilized in 2009 for the award luncheons.

This has happened because the Four Points by Sheraton hotel, site of the awards ceremonies for the past three years, is closing Nov. 30. Hotel management told the Annapolis Capital’s Shanteé Woodards that business had declined after the federal government’s spending sequestration took effect. A planned $2 million renovation of the facility – the only hotel on the property of BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport – has been scrapped.

The other major change will address properly promoting the advertising contest winners by combining with the popular editorial luncheon as a one-day event. The idea to combine the two luncheons will allow wider networking opportunities across the newspaper industry, and allow for greater recognition for achievements within the membership.

This is not the first tweak to MDDC's awards platform. The advertising awards luncheon was scrapped two years ago and the editorial awards luncheon was moved back a month. In addition, multiple entries in each editorial category were allowed for the first time. Finally, the Hall of Fame dinner became a reception, was relocated to the Hall’s actual location in College Park, Md. and was hosted almost two months later than the year before.

The response was tremendous. The editorial awards luncheon enjoyed an attendance bump of almost 21 percent, to 165 people, after three years of flat attendance. Entry submissions were up by over 13 percent. The 2012 contest attracted 1,623 entries, while 1,840 entries were received this year. The Hall of Fame reception enjoyed a healthy spike in attendance despite being postponed and pushed back two months due to forecasts of dangerous storms for June 13.

The combined advertising and editorial luncheon will be held Friday, May 16.

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