Honors for me, CNN & GA. aquarium
It's great being here in Atlanta with other travel writer members of the Society of American Travel Writers. We're seeing the town and exchanging stories about how we are all coping in these tumultuous times.
Writing honors came my way yesterday from the organization, which is gathered for its spring conference.
Most prestigious, perhaps, was a third place for Best Newspaper Travel Section Under 350,000 Circulation for The News-Herald's Sunday Travel section. Competing newspapers came from 14 central states from Ohio to Texas , Illinois to Arkansas. Given the fact that the other winners in that category each have close to six times The News-Herald's circulation — that's quite an honor!
Last summer's story about a multi-day rafting trip I took with my grandson on West Virginia's New River won a first place for Best Marine Travel, while my series about villages in France's Loire region also won a third place.
I'll soon have another batch of stories from this trip which has so far included behind the scenes tours of both the CNN studios and the Georgia Aquarium.
In its 22 years, CNN has revolutionized the news industry with 24- hour news now reported from 22 news bureaus in 200 countries throughout the world.
Just as revolutionary is the five-year-old Georgia Aquarium, which has transformed the country's fourth largest convention city into a place with lots of fun things to do.
Not only is it the country's largest aquarium, it's the only one with four 15-to-18-foot long whale sharks in residence. Even more amazing in this day and age is that the $300 million project is without debt, since Home Depot founder Bernie Marcus put up $250 million and the rest came from corporate sponsors in the community. Although it's a non-profit it operates as a business — a fact that has made it able to plan an expansion with a dolphin area set to open in 2010.