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freelance writer & editor

                                     Click any image to open a PDF of that article.

Versatile Journalist 

I am a seasoned writer/editor and a former baker, street musician, ship painter, cannery worker, delivery driver, lifeguard and newspaper reporter. These diverse experiences help me connect with all kinds of people and develop compelling, informative, memorable materials.

After reporting for daily and weekly newspapers, I spent 21 years on staff at Time-Warner's Southern Living magazine,  writing extensively for the Travel and Features departments and coordinating multiple special sections that focused on destinations, personalities and communities. 

I have written for a variety of magazines, websites, and newsletters, helped small businesses develop web content, co-authored a book about preparing for and responding to tornadoes, edited and honed other writers' work, and written extensively about regulatory compliance for the financial industry.  

Articles Archive

Below are some examples of my work published in various magazines, including many that appeared in Southern Living, my writing home for 21 years. Click any image to open a PDF of that article.  Let me know if I can help develop interesting, informative and memorable written content for you.

The Georgia River Network Knows How to Go With the Flow

Lessons in Liberty at

American Village in Alabama

Lemonade Shaking Guy at

Camden Yards in Baltimore

Music City Summer in Nashville

(Loews Hotels Magazine)

Having a Blast with the Annie Oakley Shooters Club

Surfing at Folly Beach in Charleston South Carolina

Two Georgia Innkeepers Showcase Their Roots in Cambodia & France

Standup Paddleboarding Adventures (Montage Magazine)

Gingerbread Giants from a Family of Baker Near Atlanta

Gone Fishing on the Georgia Coast

(Sea Island Life Magazine)

Falconry Experiences Take Flight at Sea Island Georgia

Paddling Gentle Waters

to See Florida Wildlife

24 Hours in Charleston South Carolina (Salamander Magazine)

My Chat with FDR Atop Pine Mountain in Southwest Georgia

Pickin' & Spinnin' — A Fun Family's Banjos & Unicycles Business

Angler's Paradise for Fly-Fishing

(Montage Magazine)

Dig In to Harvest-Fresh Produce at Farm 255 in Athens Georgia

Fishing on the Outer Banks in North Carolina

Deborah Coleman Sings the Blues in Norfolk Virginia

Exploring the Vast Salt Marshes around Sea Island Georgia

Footprints in the Snow at  Cranberry Wilderness  West Virginia

Hot Air Ballooning oven Statesville North Carolina

Bagpiping at Sundown is a Sea Island Tradition

Photographers Venture into the Marshes at Sea Island Georgia

Jane Finds Her Bliss at Cottage Garden Antiques in Gainesville GA

The Kingsport Greenbelt is this Tennessee Town's Front Yard

Pitching Horseshoes

Delivering Jittery Joe's Coffee Beans by Bike in Athens Georgia

Saving  Distressed Sea Turtles on Jekyll Island Georgia

Second-Generation Stable Master Holds the Reins at Sea Island

New Urbanism Takes Root at the Serene Community in  Georgia

These Baseball Years — a Father and Son Share a Love of Baseball

Above the Trees at Perry Lakes Park near Marion Alabama

Thoughtful Walks in a Labyrinth at Gainesville Georgia 

From Dock to Deep Sea Fishing (Sea Island Life Magazine)

Kayaking with Kin

(Sea Island Life Magazine)

Naturally Wonderful

 North Carolina Travel Guide 2013

Outdoor Playground

North Carolina Travel Guide 2013

Unusual Outdoor Activities

North Carolina Travel Guide 2016

Motorsports Attractions

North Carolina Travel Guide 2016

Knobbed Whelk Shells

(Sea Island Life Magazine 2022)

Dunes, Maritime Forests and Salt Marshes of Georgia's Coast 

(Sea Island Life Magazine 2022)

Let's Play Cornhole

(Sea Island Life Magazine 2022)

More to come...

A Few Choice Words

The first time I saw Myrtle Beach, I tried to eat it. Parked at the high tide line in my two-tone convertible, a '58 stroller, I licked at plastic shovelfuls of sand.

from my story about revisiting a childhood beach

Islands, those natural metaphors for isolation, tickle the imagination like a sea breeze on the back of your neck.

from my story about the South's best secret islands

In the beginning, mankind could fly no better than bricks.

from my story about a hang gliding pioneer

Skiers pile up in tangles of gear as alien to them as socket wrenches to salamanders. 

from my story about a ski school for beginners

Writing & Editing Experience

JoeRada.com 2010-present

Sole Proprietor

Freelance writer and editor preparing feature articles, marketing materials, web content, personality profiles, news reports, press releases and more. Clients include Journal Communications (North Carolina Travel Guides, Images Pueblo Magazine), Firebrand Media (Sea Island Life Magazine, Loews Hotels Magazine, Montage Magazine, Salamander Magazine), University of Alabama at Birmingham Periodicals (UAB Magazine, UAB Medicine Magazine), Savor North Carolina Magazine, The Piedmont Review, The Thirty-A Review, Washington Magazine, Country Magazine, the Tornado Recovery Action Council of Alabama, Taylor Sales & Service, The Old Mill. See www.joerada.com 

My photo of sidewalk chalk artist in Cologne, Germany

Bakery Boy Blog 2010-present

Head Baker

The Bakery Boy Blog is my website all about bakeries and baking. I grew up in my family’s independent bakeshop, worked at several other bakeries too, and have visited hundreds of them during my career as a journalist and travel writer. In the process I learned a lot about life and baked goods, so I share my experiences with fellow bakery fans. See bakeryboyblog.wordpress.com

Regions Bank 2012-2022

Vice President (Birmingham, AL)

I wrote and edited a wide a variety of communications materials for this S&P 500 regional bank to help tell its story to customers, employees, managers, stockholders, and financial industry regulatory authorities. I also facilitated continuing education training and tracked training hours required of bankers responsible for identifying and fighting financial fraud.  My last title at Regions was Regulatory Compliance Culture, Communication, and Training Administrator. 

Southern Living 1989-2009

Associate Travel & Living Editor (Birmingham, AL)

During 21 years on staff at Time-Warner's Southern Living magazine I wrote travel stories about vacationing in the South, personality profiles about noteworthy people, places, organizations, artists, musicians, chefs, entrepreneurs, community leaders, outdoor enthusiasts, and others, plus hands-on adventures in canoeing, kayaking, white-water rafting, horseback riding, hiking, mountain biking, fishing, snow-skiing, sailing, hang-gliding, snorkeling, and other activities.  

I coordinated the bimonthly "Georgia Living: People & Places" section and the quarterly "Florida Living: People & Places" section, writing content, assigning and editing staff and freelance contributors, initiating story concepts, managing photo assignments, and guiding layouts, while contributing as a writer for several other state sections. I wrote personal essays for the Southern Living columns Outdoors South, Southerners, Southern Journal, and Healthy Outdoors.

And I contributed feature stories to many sister publications at Southern Progress Corporation (a division of Time-Warner), including:

Cooking Light

Travel South

Southern Living Getaways
Southern Living Weekend Vacations

Southern Living Family Vacations

Southern Living Winter Vacations

Southern Living Summer Vacations

Southern Living Favorites

Southern Living Weddings

Texas Vacation

Georgia Vacations

Zoom-Zoom (Mazda)

Goodness (Kroger)

Goodlooks (Phar-Mor)

Biltmore (Biltmore Estate)

Enterprise Newspapers 1988-1989

Reporter (Lynnwood, WA)

Reporting news and feature stories for suburban weeklies outside Seattle, including writing, photographing, and coordinating the annual Showcase Edition special section for two years.

Cascade Crest 1988-1989

Co-editor (Seattle, WA)

Writing, editing, coordinating contributions from volunteer activists, and laying out the Sierra Club's Cascade Chapter newsletter in Seattle.

The Charleston Daily Mail 1982-1984

Reporter (Charleston, WV)

Reporting on beats including police, courts, education, city hall, state legislature, suburban areas, etc., and writing features for one of two competing daily newspapers in West Virginia's capital city.

The Senator 1980-1981

Editor (Elkins, WV)

Organizing, editing, and writing for the weekly student newspaper at Davis & Elkins College in Elkins, West Virginia, while completing two undergraduate degrees in English and business administration.

The Baltimore Sun 1981

Intern Reporter (Washington, DC)

Reporting at the newspaper's Washington, DC, bureau.

Monongahela National Forest 1980

Intern Technical Writer (Elkins, WV)

Writing press releases about hiking, blueberry-picking, conservation efforts, public hearings, a wild & scenic river study of the Greenbrier River, and more in West Virginia's scenic highlands.



Master of Arts
English literature, 1987
University of Washington
Seattle, Washington

Bachelor of Arts
English composition, 1981
Davis & Elkins College
Elkins, West Virginia

Associate in Science
Business administration, 1980
Davis & Elkins College
Elkins, West Virginia


SATW Lowell Thomas Award
Society of American Travel Writers 1992 Bronze for a piece on eagle-watching at Tennessee's Reelfoot Lake

Henry Award
Arkansas Department of Parks & Tourism 1992 Media Support Award for coverage of Arkansas destinations

Silver Cup Award
Ozark Mountain Region 1993 for coverage of travel destination and activities in the Ozarks

Ernie Pyle Award (nomination)
Nominated 1983 for a first-person series in the Charleston Daily Mail about a summer of rail travel and backpacking in Europe

Skills & Interests

writing, editing, interviewing, photographing, researching, coordinating publications

photographing, baking, traveling, canoeing/kayaking, hiking, motorcycling, playing music

Adventurous Spirit
Ever since I was a teenage hitchhiker toting a guitar and a notebook, I have lived for traveling. By age 25, I had visited all 50 United States, much of Canada, and a dozen European countries. Curiosity and writing assignments later led me to Costa Rica, Belize, Mexico, Puerto Rico, the Caymans, the Bahamas, the Virgin Islands, and the Galapagos Islands.

Contact Me

Let's talk about any written materials you need produced.