Ashburn Magazine named Virginia’s best specialty publication

Ashburn Magazine cover
The cover of Ashburn Magazine's November/December issue was among the magazine's award-winning entries.

Ashburn Magazine won the top award for specialty publications in the Virginia Press Association’s 2023 competition for editorial and advertising excellence.

The magazine, in just its third year entering the contest and fifth year overall, also received the top two advertising awards in the specialty division along with 21 individual awards, including nine first-places.

The number of awards and the number of first-places were both records for Ashburn Magazine, which started publication in 2019 and began entering the VPA contest in 2021. The specialty publications category consists of VPA members that are not newspapers or online news sites and includes Richmond Magazine, the Washington Business Journal and Virginia Business Magazine.

The magazine’s awards earned it the grand sweepstakes prize for accumulating the most points in its category (based on three points for first-place awards, two points for second-places and one point for third-places).  It also won the advertising sweepstakes award for the most points in advertising categories, and advertising manager Connie Fields and the creative team won the Best in Show advertising award for an ad for Pond Roofing.

The awards were presented during the VPA’s annual conference in Charlottesville on May 4.

Photographer Astri Wee received three awards for her work, as did the team of advertising account executive Judy Harbin and production director Nicky Marshok. Overall, the magazine received 12 editorial awards and nine for advertising.

“When we launched Ashburn Magazine, we wanted to produce a high-quality publication that both reflects and connects the Ashburn community,” said Bruce Potter, publisher of the magazine. “The VPA awards indicate that we’re well on the way to achieving that goal. We appreciate of the hard work of our small staff that has helped us get there, as well as the incredible support from readers and advertisers.”

Astri Wee’s photo of Ashburn resident Neil Arena, a member of the doo-wop band the Mello-Kings in the 1950s, won Best Personality or Portrait Photo.

The magazine’s first-place winners were as follows:

  • Wee, in the Personality or Portrait Photo category, for a picture of Neil Arena, a member of the Mello-Kings in the 1950s
  • Wee, Sports News Photo, for a picture from a local cricket practice
  • Wee, Sports Feature Photo, for another picture from the cricket practice
  • Kara Thorpe, Front Page or Front Cover, for the front covers of the March, September and November editions.
  • Bruce Potter, Headline Writing, for a selection of three headlines
  • Harbin and Marshok, Entertainment advertising, for an ad for Animal Medical Centers of Loudoun
  • Harbin and Marshok, Professional Services advertising, for an ad for Belmont Chiropractic
  • Harbin and Marshok, Fashion and Personal Care advertising, for an ad for Beauty Bar and Spa
  • Fields and the Creative Staff, Home and Garden advertising, for an ad for Pond Roofing

The magazine received eight second-place awards:

And the magazine’s four third-place awards were:

Ashburn Magazine’s sister publications also fared well in the 2023 competition:

  • InsideNoVa/Prince William, a weekly newspaper in Prince William County, received 43 awards, including 13 first-places and the grand sweepstakes and editorial sweepstakes awards among large weekly papers.
  • The Rappahannock News, a weekly paper in Rappahannock County, received 28 awards, including 14 first-places and the editorial sweepstakes award in one of the smaller weekly paper categories.
  • The Culpeper Times, a bi-weekly newspaper, received five awards, including three first-places and a Best in Show for digital content.
  • FauquierNow, a website covering Fauquier County, received two awards in the online division, both first-places.

The publications are all owned by Rappahannock Media LLC, based in Washington, Va.

Ashburn Magazine publisher Bruce Potter, photographer Astri Wee and editor Chris Wadsworth celebrate the magazine’s awards at the Virginia Press Association conference.