A Good Year at the IRMA Awards

Nancie Battaglia's winning photograph

While the most important judges of our magazine’s quality will always be our readers, it’s also nice to receive acknowledgement from our peers. Once a year we gather with representatives of other publications from around the U.S. and Canada for the International Regional Magazine Association conference. We swap ideas and insights, critique each other’s work and, at a ceremony on the final night, learn who won awards for their work from the previous year.

This year the conference was held in Scottsdale, Arizona, and the awards were given out on October 1. We had an especially good year. Adirondack Life won a total of 13 awards  for work from 2011—four gold, four silver and five bronze.

Here are links to all of the winning articles. Congratulations to all of our winning contributors!

Mary Thill took gold in the Public Issues category for “Risky Business” (May/June), about allegations of unsafe practices at an Adirondack white-water rafting company. Judges called it “a true investigation. Thoroughly reported, clearly written.”

The magazine’s special section on Tropical Storm Irene, “After the Storm” (November/December), written by Brian Mann, received gold in the General Feature category. Judges called it “a tremendous effort” with “a gripping combination of reportage and first person reports.” Mann’s article on the problem of white-nose syndrome in Adirondack bats, “Natural Disaster” (March/April), won bronze in the Nature Feature category.

Christopher Shaw’s meditation on Follensby Pond, “Back to the Source” (July/August), won gold in the Essay category. Judges cited his “strong use of language and imagery.”

The final gold was for Nancie Battaglia’s photograph of a pet blessing from “All God’s Creatures” (September/October), which won in the Single Photograph category. Judges called it “a marvelously complex, layered composition and an authentic moment.”

Rob Dunlavey received silver for his “richly detailed” and “whimsical” illustrations in “Live Here, Work Here” (November/December).

Judges also gave silver to members of the Adirondack Life editorial staff. Senior Editor Niki Kourofsky won in the History Feature category for her colorful look into Lyon Mountain’s rough-and-tumble mining past, “Frontier Town” (January/February). Creative Director Elizabeth Folwell’s article on canning, “Self Preservation” (At Home in the Adirondacks), designed by Art Director Kelly Hofschneider, won in the combined writing/art Food Feature category. The same feature earned Hofschneider the bronze in Art Direction of a Single Story.

Editor Annie Stoltie’s “tender, well-structured story” about Old Mountain Phelps and his descendents, “An Adirondack Icon Revealed” (November/December), won silver in the Profile category. Stoltie also took bronze in the Column category for her Short Carries essays “Places in the Heart” (January/February), “Wordswoman” (July/August) and “Slow Burn” (November/December).

Senior Editor Lisa Bramen received Bronze in the Reader Service category for “Live Here, Work Here” (November/December), which judges said “took a potentially dull subject and made it anything but.”

The magazine was also given bronze honors in Overall Art Direction in the 40,000 and under circulation class for Hofschneider’s “strong, lively layouts” with “elegant typography”; an award of merit in the Special Focus category for its At Home in the Adirondacks issue; and was the runner-up in its circulation class for Magazine of the Year. One judge wrote, “From useful service that is laser-focused on its demographic, to compelling photography, Adirondack Life feels indispensable if you’re fortunate enough to live there.”

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