Light + Life Magazine received two awards — one for the print magazine and one for the magazine’s website — as hundreds of Christian journalists gathered April 6–8 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, for the Evangelical Press Association’s convention.
Light + Life received the Award of Excellence for being the association’s “most improved” publication. The magazine, which is published by the Free Methodist Church – USA, captured the top honor despite strong competition from publications sponsored by larger denominations such as the Southern Baptist Convention and the Christian and Missionary Alliance.
The award follows the magazine’s April 2015 redesign that included a return to a traditional magazine size, more in-depth articles and a new flip format with English articles on one side and Spanish on the other. A contest judge praised Light + Life for “a clever, thoughtful, contemporary look and read. The dedication to longer, thoughtful editorial that sustains a theme makes the magazine more substantial and vital, and the attention to Spanish-speaking readers is smart and expands the publication’s mission and reach. … Every issue delivers an appealing range of stories and a consistency of tone and look. It’s obvious this publication spent a great deal of time identifying areas for improvement and readers’ needs.”
The judge noted the magazine already had a modern look, but “there is a warmth and an inviting feel to the new publication. … The redesigned look kept the contemporary, fresh, consistent appeal of the previous issues and elevated it with a
lifestyle, conceptual approach to covers and clean, simple pacing inside the issue.”
The positive reviews focused on both the design and the articles.
“This redesigned publication demonstrates a commitment to challenging content presented clearly and thoroughly,” a judge said. “I applaud the redesigned issue’s allowance for greater depth. The themes that ground and focus each issue allow for a targeted editorial lineup that leaves the reader feeling satisfied and informed.”
The judge concluded that the magazine is strong in all areas: “It is apparent this editorial staff has worked very hard to reimagine this publication and to ensure it improved the experience of the readership. From the larger format to the inclusion of the entire issue in Spanish, the support of an overarching theme with each issue, and the consistent and sophisticated look, this redesign is a success on every level.”
The magazine’s website (lightandlifemagazine.com) won an Award of Merit in the denominational digital category.
“I love the big, sumptuous slider images up top,” said a contest judge who described the website as “easy to navigate, easy to click from story to story and wander through content. The responsive design plays well on mobile.”
The judge praised the website’s “fresh, engaging look that devotes deserved space to lush imagery and that makes navigation and engagement easy.”
The Evangelical Press Association is a professional association of publications and websites with a mission “to provide inspiration, instruction and networking” to Christian journalists. The association’s 300 members have a combined circulation of more than 20 million readers.
“Today is a highlight in my life,” Light + Life Communications Director Jay Cordova said following the awards banquet. “I am privileged to work with an amazing, creative team.”
The Light + Life team includes Cordova, Managing Editor Jeff Finley, Web Architect Douglas Britt, Lead Designer Kelly Holt, Designer Jake Blythe, Communications Coordinator Sarah Stuard, Content Strategist Mark Crawford and FreeMo Journals Editor David McDonald.1