It’s nice to get a pat on the back. And it’s especially nice to get a kind word from your colleagues.
That’s what we got at the recent Parenting Publications of America award ceremony where we received 12 awards.
Of particular note was the gold award for general excellence given to a magazine with a circulation of 55,000 or more.
What that means is this group sees us as the best regional parenting magazine among the major U.S. cities.
The contest for this group, which represents more than 110 parenting magazines and newspapers in the United States, Canada and Australia, is coordinated by the University of Missouri School of Journalism and judged by journalism professionals from around the country. They believe we not only have style, we have substance too.
(No, we didn’t need an award to tell us we work with excellent people who care deeply about their work, which is always a winning combination. And it should also go without saying that a key reason we do good work is because you, our wonderful readers, demand it.)
But here is what the judges said: “Imagine a magazine stuffed with great ideas and great articles, topped off with a yummy and innovative cover. But what makes this magazine great is that it’s not all sugar and spice. It’s a successful blend.”
Along with The Chicago Reporter, we also took top investigative honors for our joint project, “State of the Child—Asthma and Lead Poisoning in the Chicago Area,” by Mick Dumke and Sarah Karp. The judges said: “This impressive, in-depth series of stories sets the standard for research and reporting on two major health problems afflicting children.”
All this glittery gold speaks to a talented staff:
n Susy Schultz, associate publisher and editor, took home the General Excellence gold for what the judges called “... Overall, a lovingly edited publication that’s a monthly gift to Windy City readers.”
n Cindy Richards, now our senior editor and travel editor, won a gold for her “top-notch” Short Stuff section.
n Rebecca Lomax, our head designer, and her team, Ashley Ernst and Cindy Michalowski; our photographers, Josh Hawkins and Frank Pinc, all won for best overall use of photography, best overall use of typography, best covers (the two on this page) and a silver for best design and best color.
n Jennifer Burklow, our copy editor, won a silver for her travel story on Wolf Park.
Along with our staff, we also work with many talented writers, columnists, illustrators and contributors.
Getting the gold were:
n Sylvia Ewing, our video review columnist whose “conversational style and personal appeal go well beyond. ”
n Kimberly Straub, our former intern and a student at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, for “Reclaiming the Sandlot: Can Youth Sports Be Saved?” The judges said: “This story should be required reading for all those parents whose good intentions have created a generation of burnt-out, stressed-out childhood athletes.”
n And Scott Gustafson, who painted the beautiful July cover about movies.
Journalism is a particularly cynical business. And for the most part, many in this profession are dismissive of authority, and therefore, often feel the same about awards. That’s a healthy attitude in an industry that serves as the watchdog for democracy. Similarly, we as parents so often concentrate on what we are doing wrong instead of what we are doing right.
When you figure we at Chicago Parent are both parents and journalists, it is no wonder we often have difficulty relishing accomplishments.
Still, we are taking a stand here, going out on a limb and saying that, in our opinion, winning is a good thing. Congratulations to all.