Chicago Parent is a winner, judges decide

Chicago Parent returned Sunday afternoon from the annual Parenting Media Association’s Editorial and Design Competition held in Philadelphia with 13 new awards to add to its name.

The competition, which saw 705 entries this year, is the climax of a three-day conference where publishers, editors and advertising executives learn the latest information for print and online efforts to better serve readers and advertisers.

“I am so proud of our staff and its army of diligent freelance writers for never losing sight of what’s most important, helping readers enjoy this amazing parenting journey,” Chicago Parent Editor Tamara L. O’Shaughnessy says. “It is gratifying to learn that the judges believe we are doing a great job both in print and online. It is a total team effort to create our wonderful magazines and website.”

O’Shaughnessy says she and Chicago Special Parent Co-editor Liz DeCarlo are especially proud that the judges continue to recognize the importance of Chicago Special Parent, the twice-yearly magazine for parents with children with special needs. They again awarded Special Parent with gold for general excellence. The magazine also was awarded bronze for overall writing.

“Chicago Special Parent rises to the top with smart design, strong reporting and unique ideas. Personal stories make for compelling reading, and multiple entry points help the reader move through an impressive amount of content. This special section sets the gold standard,” judges wrote. “This parent-focused publication rockets you right into the shoes of special families.”

Death by Children Columnist Christopher Garlington won gold in the humor column category. “Finding humor amongst the daily duties of laundry and bathroom etiquette, the writer takes the reader on a journey through everyday lives with a smile. Crisp writing and well-organized paragraphs make the column effortless to read. The column is a teaching tool to anyone who sees frustration in the daily tasks of parenting. For all, the writer offers relief, respite and a smile,” the judges wrote.

Writer Jerry Davich won gold in the interview category for his feature last year, called “Fighting for Life,” profiling young moms raising their children while battling cancer. “The writer did an excellent job of taking several different stories on the same subject and seamlessly integrating them into one article. The author did this by not getting in the way and asking great questions that allowed the subjects to open up,” the judges wrote.

Established in March 1988, PMA is a national trade association of regional parenting publications that reaches from Seattle to Boston and from Minneapolis to Miami, and to Canada and Australia. Chicago Parent competes in the largest circulation category.

Silver awards

Personal Essay, “Born too soon,” Digital Content Manager Jackie McGoey

“She lived a nightmare, learning in advance that her child would be born so prematurely that there was virtually no chance of survival. Even so, the writer and her husband loved the tiny infant for the few hours of her life and continue to cherish her memory,” the judges wrote.

Profile, Chicago Bear Matt Forte, Davich

“This profile is surprising in its honesty and the access that the Chicago Bears’ Matt Forte and his wife allowed. From the opening image to the admission of the challenges in their relationship, the reader gets a close-up picture of the young family. It’s hard not to appreciate and like them,” judges wrote.

Best blog, Trending, Meredith Sinclair

“The video blog is an interesting approach. The host is fun and accessible and keeps the takes pretty short, making sure that each segment means something,” judges wrote.

Briefs/Short stuff design, Good to Go section, Art Director Claire Innes and Designer Sky Hatter.

“It’s a great service to readers. It uses colorful photos with crisp content, and the cutouts are stunningly precise,” the judges wrote.

Bronze awards

Website general excellence, Graham Johnston, digital editor, and McGoey

“The site does a good job of building conversation around the content. Twitter widgets and comments sections demonstrate an actively engaged user community. Along traditional stories the content includes helpful pieces of multimedia, such as video showing how to properly install child car seats,” judges wrote.

Overall design, Innes, Hatter and former designer Mark Tatara

“This publication invests in adding visual interest to its pages … The result is a lively magazine full of personality,” the judges wrote.

Column: Family Matters, Good Sense Eating, Christine Palumbo

“This column is written in such a way that it easily incorporates ‘real people’ into topics that might otherwise be addressed by experts alone,” the judges wrote. “There is a good mix of practical solutions for parents to try and information to help them make good decisions for their families. Surely it’s a must-read feature for the publication’s audience.”

Ancillary overall design, Fall Going Places, Editor Liz DeCarlo, Innes

“Chicago Parent’s fall travel guide takes enormous amounts of information and organizes it into understandable lists and articles. Each section is clearly delineated and can be viewed as a separate guide.”

Best e-newsletter, McGoey

“Use of embedded links makes for an informative, fulfilling reading experience for parents looking for ideas to plan a fun weekend for the entire family,” judges wrote.

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