A mother wrestles to come to terms with the music dreams she has for her sons. A TV journalist takes an almost yearlong sabbatical from her busy life in Los Angeles to tour Europe — with her husband and three small children. A poet and historian teaches us how to immerse ourselves in our city’s public art. These stories — and more — recently garnered gold, silver and bronze awards for L.A. Parent’s editorial and design team. The media company won eight awards at the annual Parenting Media Association (PMA) Editorial and Design Awards ceremony on Nov. 3.
Each year, faculty members at the University of Missouri School of Journalism judge the rigorous competition, looking for the best in local and regional parenting publications, special issues, websites and social media.
The competition period covered September 2022 to August 2023. Here are the winning entries, with judges’ comments following each win:
Gold Award: Personal Essay for “Violin Visions” by Lisbeth Coiman
Judges: “Dream on and on and on, this essay commands, but don’t be too disappointed if you don’t get what you want from your children. It’s not your fame and glory at stake. Instead, treasure what you get. The lessons are conveyed in amusing anecdotes — practicing the violin in the bathroom because it sounds better, quitting violin lessons after an unasked-for haircut, French horn lessons instead of the violin, but all the while keeping the violin for its sentimental value. The best lesson, though, wasn’t about music, but about parenting and raising two honorable men and telling a story filled with sweet remembrances.” Read Lisbeth’s essay here.
Gold Award: Service Feature for “Immerse in Public Art” by Mike Sonksen
Judges: “The writer quickly establishes their background and expertise in this topic, then leads readers on a wonderful tour of various public art installations throughout Los Angeles. The feature is packed with reporting about each piece’s history and significance, and all the information parents need to hop in the car for a day – or more – of art adventures.” Read Mike’s story here.
Gold Award: For Overall Writing
For this overall writing category, the entries were the July/August 2023, September/October 2022 and November/December 2022 issues. Writers in these issues: Cassandra Lane (editor in chief), Elena Epstein (creative director), Teena Apeles, Tracy Martin, Cherie Cofer, Sherri McGee McCovey, Jamie Mayes, Anna Gregory, Sehba Sarwar, Katie Moore, Chelsee Lowe, Mike Sonksen, Tonilyn Hornung, Gregory Keer, Thea Fiore-Bloom, Lisbeth Coiman, Margot Black, Nina Harada (digital editor).
Judges: “The writing is so comfortable and easy to manage for busy readers that browsing through the magazine is definitely a pleasure. Interesting angles, compelling leads and inventive personal touches give both blurbs and stories a stylish edge.” Stories in these magazines can be found throughout the website.
Gold Award: For Website General Excellence
“This encompasses content and design, and it’s a huge win, given the competition,” says Publisher Ron Epstein. The L.A. Parent website is laparent.com.
Judges: “With colorful photos, on-brand creative advertising and innovative design, this website is a place where an audience would want to stay and engage. From features on banned book authors to articles on gender diversity and artificial intelligence, parents can keep coming back to learn more about the topics they care about. The website is user-friendly and has an overall great balance of different kinds of stories.”
Silver Award: Travel Feature for “Postcards from Europe” by Annette Arreola
Judges: “This is an engaging first-person account of traveling to Europe as a family, with a wealth of useful tips to pass along to readers. The good advice covers juggling multiple bags, finding well-stocked grocery stores, and navigating public transportation in major cities. Examples of child-friendly attractions are a bonus, including the best playground in Paris. It is altogether a worthwhile read.” Read Annette’s story here.
Bronze Award: News Feature for “Addressing Youth Violence” by Sehba Sarwar
Judges: “This thoughtful essay about youth violence is backed by solid reporting and telling statistics.” Read Sehba’s feature here.
Bronze Award: General Feature Writing for “Plant Tats” by Michelle Dowd
Judges: “Men may have worn the first tattoos, but this group of women has found that inking their bodies with images of nature is a spiritual pursuit that centers their life. This tale unfolds as a personal journey and broadens to include the stories of other women who have used tattoos to redefine their lives.” Read Michelle’s essay here.
Bronze Award: Special Section within a Publication for Family Travel Coverage
Writers in this May/June 2023 issue: Elena Epstein, Cassandra Lane, Nina Harada, Annette Arreola, Wendy Paris, Margot Black, Chelsee Lowe, Mia Taylor.
Judges: “This package about the restorative joy of travel shines thanks to stories that share first- person experiences, including tips and tricks for family travel. The anchor story comes from a broadcast reporter who spent several months traveling with her family through Europe. Other stories include spotlights on travel locations such as Vancouver and Vail. The writing in these pieces are descriptive and informative, with lots of actionable insights included along the way.” Stories from this issue can be found under “family travel” on laparent.com.
Congratulations, L.A. Parent team! Always, we’re eternally grateful to our staff, contributors, readers, sources and partners.
Cassandra Lane is editor in chief of L.A. Parent.