2021 PMA Awards – Judges’ Comments

TulsaKids Magazine received 16 editorial and design awards, including the top honor of General Excellence, at the 2021 Parenting Media Association conference in St. Petersburg, Florida. Independent judges were from the University of Missouri School of Journalism. The judges look for the best in local and regional parenting publications, special issues, websites and social media. The competition recognizes and rewards editorial, design and general excellence in local and regional parenting publications.

TulsaKids staff includes Chuck Foshee, publisher; Betty Casey, editor; Tara Rittler, web and social media editor; Annie Tyndall, graphic designer; Brandi Moore and Lindsey Copes, account executives; Debbie Talley, comptroller.

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Congratulations to the following winners:

General Excellence: Gold, TulsaKids staff and freelance writers

Each issue includes a mix of features and more difficult, meaty topics. They aren’t afraid to cover a range of subjects, such as schools in the time of COVID and Black Lives Matter, masks during Halloween, and the unspoken truth behind Thanksgiving. Coverage is comprehensive, including children of all ages, as well as parents. Photographs are sized well and clearly explain they story they accompany. Typography is used to create contrast and interest on pages.*

Calendar of Events: Bronze, Tara Rittler

Events that are free are highlighted for easy identification. Events range from crafting to bookstore story times and have a wide range that would appeal to children of different ages.

Best Use of Social Media: Gold, Tara Rittler (IG: @tulsakids; FB: @tulsakidsmagazine)

These examples of social media use show a solid strategy to engage the audience and drive traffic to online content. A mix of engagement with other organizations, and some behindthe-scenes adventures, draws in users and encourages participation in the community.

Best E-newsletter: Silver, Tara Rittler

This e-newsletter is packed with relevant content and a good balance between editorial and advertising. It’s well branded with its print counterpart and offers easy access to online material. Content is well-organized, and consistent content categories, like “contests and giveaways,” help keep readers coming back.”

Best Blog: Gold, “Coffee Nebula” by Kristi Roe Owen

While written as a blog, it feels more like a real conversation with the author. It’s helpful and useful, but also entertaining, real, and sometimes random, just like the conversations parents might have at a park as their kids are otherwise engaged. The blog provides a resource parents anywhere can rely on, giving it a universal appeal and utility that really stands out.

Best Blog: Bronze, “Grand Life” by Diane Morrow-Kondos

Creating content focused on and from the lens of a grandparent gives the blog a unique flavor because the experiences grandparents have with their grandchildren can be very different from what parents have with their children. The variety of topics are enriched by the personal experiences and feelings of the writer and create a relatable resource.

Website General Excellence: Silver, TulsaKids.com, Tara Rittler

The images featured on the homepage and graphics announce this is a site that will give kids and parents what they want and what they need. The top-to-bottom content path is accessible to various schedules, starting by answering timely needs for activities and getaways, then progressing to the content that requires more time and thought.

Special Section: Silver, 2020 Baby Guide

This guide for moms of newborns hits all the right notes with its extensive resource list, covering topics from local child-care services to playgroups. The information is clearly and thoroughly presented with helpful links in the online version. Additional articles hit subjects of high interest and currency, such as pregnancy during a pandemic and sleep safety tips. The writing is accessible, and the space is used wisely and well.

Special Series: Gold, “DHS Waiting List for Vulnerable Families,” 2-part series by Natalie Mikles

This series, and each of the articles within it, offered a deep dive in to the waiting list for services that plagues families with children with development disabilities. The content is relevant, timely, valuable and exposes an issue with significant impact to the community served by the publication. Well-researched and compelling, the series represents the best of local journalism.

News Feature: Gold, “The Unspoken Truth Behind Thanksgiving” by Brandon Schmitz

There are few things more “American” than Thanksgiving, but this well-researched, well reported feature reminds parents that the holiday has different meanings for different populations; how we frame our conversations around it matter. The reporter’s careful selection of indigenous sources recenters the discussion, and delivers a narrative that is both poignant and relatable.

News Feature: Silver, “Re-imagining Schools in the Age of Covid-19 and Black Lives Matter” by Betty Casey

This feature offers parents an in-depth look at ideas to bring a more thoughtful approach to teaching about race in a diverse community. The story’s lede provides a compelling entry into the issue with a quote from a child who shared her experience with racism during a TulsaKids Facebook Live event.

Profile: Silver, “Every Person is Worthy of Dignity & Respect” by Keshia Pavey

A simple chat with a children’s-book author in this piece becomes a deeper encounterwith devastating cultural touchstones reflecting the legacy of racism, and its presence today. This piece provides insights into the vulnerability of Black parenthood simply by sharing this writer and mother’s story.

Profile: Bronze, “You Have a Story to Tell” by Tara Rittler

A writer who uses superhero-stories to empower our most vulnerable teens is a person worth knowing. Through this profile, readers meet an artist deploying his talent to better the lives of our kids, and in the process revealing the cultural transformation that’s possible through art.

Family Fun: Gold, “Get Cooking” column by Natalie Mikles

Mom, dad and all the kids in the kitchen, cooking up a dessert made with fresh berries that they picked that morning. The material provides strong inspiration along with helpful information.

Child Development & Parenting Issues column: Gold, “Babies & Toddlers” by Kiley Roberson

For sure, it’s been a long 20 months since families closed their doors and stayed inside to both work and play. This feature offers some excellent advice on how to stay strong while keeping a sane attitude. The articles are informative with gentle nudging throughout.

Family Matters column: Gold, “School Age” by Mary Beth Ritchie

These articles help parents navigate their children’s academic success. For example, one column weighs the pros and cons of paying kids for good grades. Another column explores how exactly parents can play a role in helping a student get high grades.

*Comments provided by the PMA Design & Editorial Awards judges from the University of Missouri

General Excellence Gold