Last night, at a hotel ballroom in Minneapolis, the City and Regional Magazine Association awarded D Magazine with its most significant annual prize: General Excellence, the headliner of our industry’s annual awards. We came out on top against Indianapolis Monthly, Seattle Met, Milwaukee Magazine, and Portland Monthly, quality magazines with similar circulations. It’s the fourth time we’ve won since 2012—the years 2012, 2013, and 2016—and the ninth in the 34-year history of the awards. It is a big deal for us, as evidenced by the Twin Cities behavior of some of our editors, one of whom is, I believe, currently at risk of missing her flight back to Dallas due to too many late night toasts and an early morning accident involving a shower door. Wish her luck in the comments!
In all, we were nominated for six awards and took home two. And both plaques are reflections of the collaboration that happens high up in 750 N. St. Paul every day. Our Day in Dallas feature won for Multiplatform Storytelling, which included buy-in from basically all of our departments. More on that in a moment.
General Excellence is the award we all strive for each year. It’s the one that best reflects the work that happens across departments to produce a monthly magazine and a daily website. The three issues that the judges considered (October, November, and December of 2018) show the depth and variety of the journalism we produce. In those pages were stories about a Dallas activist who was imprisoned for making controversial comments on Facebook. We took you to a suburban llama farm and inside the humble boxing gyms that are disappearing from Oak Cliff. There was a profile of a doctor who operates on babies before they’re born, another of an eccentric millennial businesswoman who has built a mini-empire on mermaid hair extensions and spray tans and lip injections, and another of a reverend who is leading the fight to get Dallas to reckon with its racist past and present. We even (probably) solved a murder.
“Readers of D will be pulled directly into Dallas at this moment,” read the judges’ comments. “The dynamic story mix and aesthetic choices deftly reflect the opportunities and challenges facing the city, and each issue is packed with absorbing, ambitious storytelling.”
The other award is also special to us, considering our initiative to connect with readers beyond the pages of the magazine. In October, we presented a Day in Dallas. Gillea Allison, our marketing director, teamed up with designer Hance Taplin to concept and produce an art exhibit that showed how 20 Dallasites from different neighborhoods, backgrounds, and ethnicities spend 24 hours in the city. They shot photos on disposable cameras and we blew them up and displayed them at the Adolphus’ French Room bar. Carly Mann, our brand manager, did the Lord’s work of keeping us on track, communicating with the participants, and ensuring we had the information necessary for the online longform feature. Our digital design director Jessica Chen helped design the online feature, alongside digital designer Emily Olson. Yours truly served as the project’s editor. Bethany Kempfe, our events director, produced the beautiful evening at the Adolphus. Kudos too to our production partner, Photographique, which printed all the film and framed the images.
“Taking a democratic approach to documenting the texture of life in a diverse American city, this lyrical portrait uses words and pictures — across several platforms — to convey a complex story of modern Dallas,” according to the judges.
Time for some shoutouts: to editor Tim Rogers, executive editor Kathy Wise, senior editor Zac Crain, dining critic Eve Hill-Agnus, associate editor S. Holland Murphy, arts editor Peter Simek, managing editor Christiana Nielson, and research editor Caroline Carr. Kevin Goodbar, D’s hardworking art director, gets a monster high-five, as does Morganne Stewart, our art manager. Kiss on the cheek to our staff photographer, Elizabeth Lavin. We don’t make it to press without our production team: John Gay, Pamela Ashby, and Natalie Goff. Thanks to our audience development department for getting us eyeballs and to our sales team for paying our salaries. Another big shoutout goes to our accounting department, who make sure our sizable stable of freelancers gets paid in a reasonable amount of time. Kudos also to online managing editors Shawn Shinneman and Caitlin Clark, online dining editor Catherine Downes, and online arts editor Natalie Gempel. Special thanks to our former lead developer Christina Rees, who recently decamped to help overhaul the Dallas Morning News’ redesign, and back-end developer Baker Ousley, who kept us chugging along online.
Finally, thanks to Christine and Wick Allison, the folks who own the joint and who really do believe that our company exists to make Dallas an even better place.
Now, if you’ll excuse us, we have to put our heads down and get back to producing journalism that will prompt a similar post this time next year. Chances are you can find some of us at City Tavern on Friday around lunchtime. We all accept congratulatory Dirty Dustys.