The 19th Annual Stephen Barr Award For Feature Writing Goes to Megan Gates

Megan GatesThe American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE) honored Megan Gates, senior editor at Security Management magazine, as winner of the Stephen Barr Award, the annual prize presented by the ASBPE Educational Foundation. Gates received her trophy—the 19th annual Stephen Barr Award—at the association’s national conference and awards banquet in Cleveland, recognizing her May/June 2021 Security Management article, “Frankenstein Fraudsters: Synthetic identity fraud is the fastest-growing fraud trend in the United States.”

Gates covers emerging cybersecurity threats and trends, along with legal issues related to the security profession. She also is editor-in-chief of the magazine’s tech supplement, Security Technology. She has won numerous awards for her writing, including a 2021 APEX Award of Excellence for Technical and Technology Writing. In addition to Security Management, her work has appeared in Reuters, USA TODAY College, The Springfield Business Journal, Cedar Rapids Gazette and Joplin Globe,​ ​among other publications. ​​​​​​​​She holds a Bachelor of Science in Journalism, with a minor in Film Studies, from Missouri State University.

In 2017, the ASBPE Educational Foundation awarded her with a Young Leader Scholarship. As part of the scholarship, she received a two-night hotel stay and free registration to the ASBPE national conference at the Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, Florida.

“I am thrilled to see a former Young Leader Scholar win the Stephen Barr Award for Feature Writing,” says Amy Fischbach, president of the ASBPE Educational Foundation. “Megan’s winning article was well-written, in-depth and provided valuable information to the publication’s readers in a clear and concise way.”

Security Management Frankenstein FraudTo help Security Management readers understand the threats associated with synthetic identity fraud and the intricate creation of fake identities by criminals aiming to cheat creators of unsecured credit products, Gates studied how this particular type of crime is now being committed almost solely online—and frequently without detection. Her readers learned what measures they could take to prevent such fraud, and how it might one day be stopped globally.

During her tenure at Security Management, Gates has become an authoritative and reliable voice in the cybersecurity field, participating in conferences, panel discussions, and other outlets, as well as regularly contributing thoughtful and thoroughly researched content through her regular Cybersecurity department and other feature articles.

One Stephen Barr Award judge called her work “a perfect example of first-rate reporting and writing (that) couldn’t have been more timely and relevant.” Another noted that it “examined the issue from the perspective of consumers, financial organizations, criminals and regulators,” with the result being “an authoritative article that advances the public’s and the industry’s understanding of a major problem.”

“Inventiveness. Insight. Balance. Depth. Impact.”

The Stephen Barr Award is named for one of ASBPE’s most honored journalists, who died of cancer twenty years ago, at the age of 43. Unlike other ASBPE awards, it honors individual writing across our feature categories, and especially work that shows inventiveness, insight, balance, depth of investigation, and impact on readers. A monetary prize of $500 accompanies the award, endowed by Stephen Barr’s family, and administered by the ASBPE Educational Foundation. If you have any questions, please email Amy Fischbach, president of the Foundation, at foundation1@asbpe.org. To make a tax-deductible donation to the ASBPE Educational Foundation and help to support future Barr Award winners, you can visit asbpe.org/asbpe-foundation.