And the Winners Are...
TulsaKids shines at the 2019 Parenting Media Association Editorial and Design Awards
TulsaKids Editor Betty Casey and Web Editor Tara Rittler celebrate after the PMA Awards Ceremony
One of the annual pleasures of my job is attending the Parenting Media Association (PMA) Convention. PMA is a professional trade organization for parenting media across the United States. Aside from the obvious good luck that it is held at a beach hotel in St. Petersburg, Florida, (no, I’m not allowed to take freelance writers) I get to see old friends, learn new things and showcase Tulsa talent at the Friday evening awards ceremony.
And these awards are legit. PMA received 586 entries for magazines and digital products. Professor Reuben Stern of the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism oversaw the judging by faculty at the university.
“Entries in this year's contest demonstrate the impressive quality and ongoing commitment among these publications to provide parents across the country with important local resources and to entertain, inform and build community," said Stern.
And I know that if the judges feel there is no worthy first, second or third place winner, they don’t give the award.
I say all this to let our readers and hard-working, underpaid freelancers know that the fact that TulsaKids won 14 awards is a huge accomplishment. While I wish the honors came with cash or free trips to the Caribbean, they don’t. What they do say is that Tulsans can compete with anyone, even those publications with an actual staff of more than three! Speaking of staff, our amazing TulsaKids staff deserves a pat on the back: Chuck Foshee, Tara Rittler, Joanna Shatwell, Brandi Moore and Debbie Talley.
So, thank you writers for sharing your talents with this publication. It truly is a labor of love to provide a parenting publication for the families of Tulsa and the surrounding areas.
Moreover, what a great affirmation for all of you creative people.
I do want to give a personal shout-out to Tara Rittler, our web and social media editor, for all of her awards! If you don’t already, I encourage to follow her and to sign up for our e-newsletter.
Here are the winners in each category, along with the judges’ comments:
Bronze: Calendar of Events: Tara Rittler
The focus on low-cost or free events makes this a must for area parents, as often those organizations don’t have the marketing power of high-ticket events. This is a great resource, with easy to follow consistency.
Gold: Family Matters: “Stages: School Age”; Mary Beth Ritchie, writer
Who better than a veteran teacher to answer parents’ difficult questions about their children’s education? This column carries an air of authority that lends confidence to readers that they’re getting the straight scoop.
Silver: Child Development & Parenting Issues: “Babies and Toddlers”; Kiley Roberson, writer
A strong personal angle to the column about small children makes it resonate. The column with tips for grocery shopping with restless and antsy small children in the cart is a real lifesaver and also is likely to bring a smile from those who don’t even have young children anymore.
Gold: Family Fun: “Get Cooking”; Natalie Mikles, writer
This is a fun and simple column that inspires readers to engage the family in the everyday art of cooking. Recipes are built around clearly defined themes and are easy to follow and execute.
Bronze: Personal Essay: “My Childhood as a Bullying Victim”; Abir Sami Wood, writer
Evocative use of dialogue and painful stories propel the author’s remembrance of being the odd kid out, the one the other kids mocked and picked on. She offers a series of ways in which those types of circumstances can be addressed by parents and teachers.
Silver: Profile: “Melanie Gillman hopes graphic novels promote understanding”; Julie Wenger Watson, writer
This well-drawn profile is full of passion and vision. The reporter sheds important light on a powerful new voice in the community: a cartoonist on a crusade to give LGBT readers stories that reflect them.
Gold: Investigative Feature: “Teachers Can’t Find the Nurturer in No Nonsense Nurturer”; Betty Casey, writer
This is a great example of watchdog journalism. The investigation is well-sourced, balanced and digs into a topic that’s important to both the school district and the families it serves.
Silver: Special Section Within A Publication: “Halloween”; Tara Rittler
A very thorough guide to enjoying the Halloween season in the community. All ideas are family friendly, with emphasis on free events and activities.
Silver: Front Cover Illustration: Betty Casey, illustrator
The gathering of animals for a night-time tale is fun and engaging with the large moon illuminating the scene of rapt listeners. Type is minimalistic and doesn’t interfere with the illustration.
Silver: Single Page Design: “I’m a Tulsa Kid”; Sheeba Atiqi, writer/photographer
The interview style here is well supported with nice typographic touches including the complementary colors used in the alternating voice of the interviewer, and interviewee. Photography is well-positioned and engaging.
Gold: Best Blog-Blogger: “Spaghetti on the Wall”; Tara Rittler, writer
This blog is a joy to read, as readers get to go on adventures with the author, who is honest – and funny – about her mistakes and joyful about her successes. She writes with grace and humility.
Silver: Best Blog-Blogger: “Grand Life”; Diane Morrow-Kondos, writer
A different kind of blog, this one focuses on the experiences of being a grandparent. Morrow-Kondos writes about the ups and downs of that experience with kindness and a warm tone. The reader experiences moments with her, instead of just reading about her moments.
Gold: Best E-Newsletter: “TulsaKids E-Newsletter”; Tara Rittler. writer
This tightly curated newsletter offers a variety of top stories, blog posts, contests and events in a colorful design.
Silver: Best Use of Social Media: Tara Rittler
At play here is a successful multi-platform social media strategy that effectively reaches readers where they are. The publication takes advantage of each platform’s individual strength to connect followers with the content that means the most to them. The use of a newly-formed Facebook group helps connect parents in a virtual support group, reachable around the clock. The publication’s Instagram features fun photos from events around town, and its Pinterest is the perfect spot for bookmarking the family-friendly ideas readers want to collect and revisit later.