From print to website to social media, Chicago Parent impressed the judges from the University of Missouri School of Journalism who judged the annual Parenting Media Association’s Editorial and Design awards.
Using words like “pitch perfect,” “captivating” and “clean and consistent,” the judges awarded Chicago Parent six gold awards, 13 silver awards and three bronze awards for work appearing in 2015.
In total, magazines through the U.S., Canada and Australia submitted 645 entries.
“Our awards recognize the best work done in our industry,” PMA President Mary Cox says. “… Our collective goal is to making parenting easier – after all, it’s the most important job in the world – and even more of a fun ride.”
Editor Tamara L. O’Shaughnessy says it’s gratifying to have Chicago Parent recognized as one of the leaders among regional parenting publications.
“Our focus, however, is always on our readers. ChicagoParent.com and Chicago Parent, along with the ancillary magazines, put the best information into parents’ hands in every way that works for them. We are very proud of the work we do for families.”
She says Chicago Parent will see some exciting changes in the months ahead. The first changes launched this week with the new Chicago Parent newsletters, which was met with an enthusiastic response from readers.
“Good writing begins with good reporting, and that begins with good ideas. Put those qualities together and you have a winner. Whether the topic is as boring-but-important as getting the kids ready to go back to school or as sensitive as mothering a transgender child, the information seems solid and the writing is pitch-perfect.”
Best Use of Social Media: Parenting Dilemma, #ElizabethOnAir, #CPPlaydate; Digital Editor Jackie McGoey
“These three examples show the power of social media beyond driving traffic to your website. The posts showcase strategies for crowdsourcing and community building— very important for taking advantage of the conversational, collaborative possibilities of social media, not just the goals of brand building and audience growth. Very well done.”
Ancillary Feature Design: Hey Baby, Baby’s Day Off
“The opening spread features a delightful photograph of three happy children in the Art Institute of Chicago sitting in front of George Seurat’s painting on La Grande Jatte. It’s perfectly framed, timed and exposed. Other humorous photographs show babies in equally famous locations. What else would a baby do on his day off?”
Humor Column: Failing with Gusto, Marianne Walsh
“This entry had me in tears with its poignant tales of motherhood. The writer has a wonderful way with phrasing and piecing her stories together. The column left me with a few things to think about as a parent myself. Nice way of making the audience feel connected to the writing and story — great storytelling technique,” judges wrote.
Personal Essay: Best Laid Plans, Pamela Valentine
An outstanding essay about the surprises in life. In this fascinating tell-all, we learn of an “oops” pregnancy, a child that identifies with the opposite sex and a mother’s ability to adjust and find happiness. Bold lessons for everyone here on how to handle adversity.
Table of Contents: May 2015
“A baby in a tote bag and a frog peering over a log anchor the artwork used on this table of contents – fun and artfully arranged — along with tightly written blurbs work together to elevate this package. The designer has obviously worked to create an inviting package.”
General Excellence: Chicago Parent
“The clean, consistent design complements the impressive variety of topics covered. Whether a parent is in the mood for something light or to learn more about the life of a transgender child, this magazine has the answer. The ‘Mom of the Month’ and ‘Voices’ features also help build connections with readers.”
Column: Family Fun, Well Played, Meredith Sinclair
“This story is for the parent couples who have trouble figuring out what to do without the kids. The story has information about places to go around town and things that can be dome at home. This story should be shared with other couples looking for grown-up playdates.”
General Feature Writing: Special Journeys, Senior Editor Elizabeth Diffin
“These accounts from parents about adopting special-needs children are shared with candor and common sense. The parents make no claim to sainthood, but their stories reveal so much wisdom and heart. The writer acknowledges both the humility and strength in their accounts, and her skillful approach works to educate and inspire the rest of us.”
Profile: A Bump in the Road, Editor Tamara L. O’Shaughnessy
“Touching story telling about a young mother who is diagnosed with cancer while pregnant with her first child. Such stories require excellent contact with the community and deep trust in the storyteller. Captivating work.”
Front Cover-Original Photo: Happy as Me: Growing up Transgender, Photographer Thomas Kubik
“The outstanding clarity of the eyes and face is brought forward by the shallow depth of field, creating a floating feeling which might be appropriate for a child growing up transgender. The stare into the camera is full of calm and self-control. This is a confident portrait of the subject and goes right along with the headline ‘Happy as Me.’”
Interior Photography: A Daughter’s Story, Photographer Thomas Kubik
“Chicago Parent chose a creative way to illustrate a difficult story about a transgender child. The contact sheet cover photograph shows Maxine with many expressions and poses. Her expressions are wonderful and will draw the viewer into the story. The tilt adds whimsy.”
Calendar of Events: January and June 2015
“Likely photos – big ol’ friendly dog and an acrobatic girl’s upside-down head – well, they just make stop and take a look, and before you know it, you’ve read the whole section. This calendar is quite inviting, organized and a visual treat.”
Special Section: Back to School, August 2015
“This section brings new life to the usual back-to-school special section concept, by covering a range of topics from ideas for lunches and apps that can help your kids learn new skills. The design, photography and color elements work together to bring readers into the section. Content is well thought out and clearly presented to engage readers throughout the pages of this section.”
Overall Design: Art Director Claire Innes, Designers Jacquinete Baldwin and Javier Govea
“The design of this publication is outstanding. Everything from the choice of type to the spacing to the colors is carefully controlled. There is a template beneath this consistent design, but the designers occasionally bust out to attract the readers’ attention. Good attention to detail. Stories are chunked to make them look shorter.”
Ancillary Overall Writing: Hey Baby
“Fun and delightful is the best way to describe this little magazine, which sprinkles humor throughout its pages. The writers anticipate the most important questions expectant mothers might have and tap real moms and experts to answer them.”
Ancillary Overall Design: Hey Baby, Art Director Claire Innes, Designers Jacquinete Baldwin and Javier Govea
“It’s hard to design in a 5 ½ x 8 ½ publication, but Hey Baby’s designers have done it successfully. Everything is downsized appropriately. They used full- and half-pages for important photos, which offers dominance. Text is handled with care. This is an easy publication to scan through, but the designers have also worked successfully to offer stopping points.”
Best Blog/Bloggers: Lollygag Blog, Keely Flynn
“A very different type of blog, this focuses on reviewing Chicago-area theater for children. Great descriptions, careful explanations of what’s good for what kinds of kids, and sharp wit mark this as a must-read blog for Chicago parents.”
Best Use of Multimedia: Holiday Gift Guide
“Are you a time-stressed parent looking for that perfect gift? Chicago Parent has your back. The magazine’s 2015 gift guide was a compendium of unique gifts organized by age groups. Not only did Chicago Parent provide a great list of gifts, they also provided quick links to where readers could buy the toys as part of the descriptions.”
Ancillary General Excellence: Going Places, Going Places Editor Elizabeth Diffin
“A summer in Chicago would not ever be lonely or dull with this guide. It has absolutely everything. The design is highly functional and clear, and will likely be stuffed in the stroller for use by parents for the entire summer season.”
Column-Service Feature: Secrets for Success, Cortney Fries
“This story provides useful information that can help parents decide the best person to watch their children when they are away. The individual stories are interesting and the overall story is well written.”
Ancillary feature writing: Chicago Special Parent, Catastrophic cuts, Danielle Braff and Claudia Parker
“Mainbar is very good, evocative and full of images of 10-year-old Mark being in a wheelchair for a 2-year-old. Good reporting and some compelling human tales.”