It's time to honor the first monthly award winners of the new year! Last month, we celebrated our year-end Yahoo! Contributor Award winners. Today, we're excited to announce the first YCA of the new year, and to recognize five new Rising Stars. This month's award category was Finance, an always-competitive niche that requires on-point writing and sharp, consistent topic selection, as well as extraordinary personal and/or professional experience.
And the winner is...
Bringing more than two decades of journalism experience with her, Laura Cone joined our community in 2010 and established herself as a Featured Contributor in Business & Finance, Food & Wine, and Health. The former Tampa Tribune editor has covered these and other topics for a variety of publications during her career, and has now become a prolific contributor to numerous Yahoo! websites as well.
On Yahoo! Finance (where she has published more than 400 times!), Laura delivers consistently top-notch content, delighting our readers and editors alike. In stories like “I'm Living on 70% of My Income” and “Setting Aside 10% of My Paycheck Changed My Life” she shows readers how modest changes in their financial habits can improve their economic footing in the long term. In “We Knocked 17 Years Off Our Mortgage in Just 7 Years”, she weaves a personal financial success story into a thoughtful reflection of President Obama’s State of the Union speech and the current housing market. As someone who juggles several roles in her household (financial advisor, wife, and mother), her first-person perspective is especially valuable and relatable for parents; learn how she helps her children allocate their assets and teaches them to be more financially responsible.
Beyond the finance realm, Laura is a prolific Health and Lifestyle contributor. She has documented her trials with numerous healthy diets, and uses Yahoo! to share her experiences with readers trying to adhere to their new year’s resolutions. Whether you’re looking to trim your debt or your waist, check out Laura Cone’s content library for some inspiration.
Now, it's time to recognize our Rising Stars. These new contributors excelled rapidly after becoming contributors. In just four months or fewer, they've enjoyed publishing success, made their editors rave with their writing skills, and amplified their voices across the Yahoo! family of sites.
Lee Warren: A sportswriter and published author, Lee is a Featured Contributor in Sports. He covers baseball, tennis, NASCAR, and more. He’s been on Yahoo! Sports and Yahoo News, as well as Voices. Lee uses our platform to publish his take on his favorite teams, and not just in the major leagues, either. His beloved Omaha Storm Chasers are a frequent subject, and any reader could be forgiven for getting a little sentimental about this piece of original reporting.
Liz Ryan: Liz takes niche expertise seriously, as a business expert and former Human Resources executive. She runs her own, 25,000 member online community and writes for numerous outlets. This topic expert has been on Yahoo! Voices, Yahoo! News, and is a Shine blogger. Her voice is powerful without sacrificing readability, and she’s mastered the educational first-person narrative. Consider taking her advice, and go write pithy LinkedIn recommendations for your contacts!
Alex Wibholm: One of a wealth of thoughtful political commentators in the Yahoo! Contributor Network community, Alex also loves travel and works in international business. Alex has published on Yahoo! Sports and Yahoo! News, in addition to Voices. It's not easy to make a partisan perspective accessible to readers across the ideological spectrum, but Alex manages it. His commentary is well-reasoned and shows a strong voice; take, for example, this personal take as an Iowa resident on the state’s caucuses.
Tom Heston is a Medical Doctor and a Featured Contributor for Health. He’s written prolifically since he became a contributor in November, and has been published on Yahoo! News as well as helped with a pilot program providing expert content for Yahoo! Health. His content is useful, informed, and handles niche medical topics without becoming dull. If you need to know right away about a topic like Celexa Withdrawal or Policosanol, you might find yourself relieved to know that Dr. Heston publishes with us!
Laura Sauer is a writer who simply can't be stopped! In addition to publishing on Yahoo! Voices, Yahoo! News, and Yahoo! Shine, Laura has multiple blogs of her own and writes for several other publications. She's a busy mom raising a pediatric stroke survivor and turning those experiences into fuel for vocal, compelling commentary. She's also an educator, student, and a loving wife. When does she have time to sleep? She doesn't--and says so in her user bio. Her opinions are sometimes controversial, as on students' weight, but always well-voiced and supported.
Congratulations, Rising Stars! Shine on!
Next month we'll be offering a YCA in the Movies category. Don't forget to nominate your favorites for YCA and Rising Star awards in the Contributor Forum!