Pelham Pathway magazine wins 2 national awards

Published 3:44 pm Monday, September 18, 2023

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By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor

Officials from the city of Pelham brought home two awards from Orlando following the 2023 Savvy awards at the 3CMA Conference.

The conference, which brings together city and county communications and marketing leaders, is highlighted by the presentation of the Savvy awards during a special banquet, and this year, Pelham walked away with two awards for its work on The Pelham Pathway.

A quarterly magazine and newsletter for the city of Pelham, The Pelham Pathway was a finalist for the external publication category and the graphic design category. The publication ultimately won first place in both categories at this year’s awards ceremony.

“Being recognized in the communications industry on a national level is gratifying and serves as a source of motivation to continue our journey toward even greater excellence in communication,” Pelham Communications Manager Ainsley Allison said in a press release. “Our commitment to engagement and the dissemination of vital information to our community remains steadfast. We thank the City-County Communications and Marketing Association for recognizing our efforts.”

The awards are open to all local government jurisdictions, including cities, counties, towns, villages, special districts and any other form of jurisdiction.

Allison said that made the fact that they were named a finalist even more special, considering the publications that are produced nationwide.

“As local government communicators, we are passionate about educating people and connecting them to the essential information they need to be able to access services and be part of the democratic process,” she said after the magazine was originally nominated. “The Pelham Pathway is just one of the communications tools we utilize to inform our residents.”

It also marks the first year that Pelham has joined 3CMA, giving them two award nominations in their first year as part of the organization.

“We are proud of The Pelham Pathway,” Allison said. “To be a finalist for not one but two national Savvy Awards is an honor on so many levels because the quality of the competition is excellent, and to be named a finalist by a judging panel of industry peers reinforces our belief that we are meeting our goals with The Pelham Pathway.”

The judges had kind remarks in their judging of the publication.

“From the cover photo to the streamlined design, The Pelham Pathway magazine engages readers with its informative articles, amazing photos, and more. The rebranded design meets the City’s goal of producing a high-quality publication that informs its readers about development, educates them about municipal government processes, and creates community connections,” read feedback from one judge.

Another judge said the magazine was worthy of recognition because of its ability to capture life in Pelham for residents.

“This is a dynamic publication that perfectly captures the essence of what matters to the Pelham community,” the judge said. “The photography is exciting and a refreshing look at the types of images that are possible. This is a great example of high-quality information that is an important piece of the communication network you and your team have established.”

The magazine won in the external publications category because of its ability to captivate the hearts of residents, businesses and visitors through storytelling, visuals and insightful content.

As for graphic design, the judges said a clear design and simple layout for the publication made it worth a win.

The publication itself became a priority once again for city officials following COVID-19. Allison said that at that point, the city was left without a direct mail communications vehicle and residents continued to voice their desire for a city magazine again.

“Elected leaders prioritized the publication after the City’s brand identity was formally adopted in 2021,” Allison said. “Instead of outsourcing it to a third-party vendor, the City’s Communications Office has complete editorial and design control. The City Council fully funded print and postage costs to ensure the magazine would be free of advertisements.”

Much of the writing in the magazine comes from city of Pelham Community Relations Coordinator Gina Womack, who will attend the conference in Orlando alongside Allison.

Allison said her writing is something that takes the magazine to the next level and makes it so special.

“The city is so fortunate to have such a gifted storyteller on the communications staff,” she said. “She picks up on the smallest details that add just the right amount of flavor to the story she is writing. By the time you finish one of her articles, you feel like you really know the subjects on a personal level.”

The magazines name comes from the city’s tagline, “A path apart,” which pays homage to the city’s natural beauty and diverse mix of recreational opportunities.

The goal of the publication is to produce a high-quality, ad-free publication that reflects the city’s brand; informs readers of business, growth and development happenings in the city; educates residents about municipal government; and to immerse the readers with enjoyable and emotion-evoking stories about their neighbors.