J. design takes top award

Looking good.

That sums up what the American Jewish Press Association has to say about j. The Jewish news weekly of Northern California won first place in the category of “Excellence in overall graphic design” at the AJPA’s Rockower Awards in Atlanta on Thursday, June 3.

The national Rockower Awards are held annually to honor the best in Jewish journalism.

J.’s art director Cathleen Maclearie says she feels gratified that her work and her staff were recognized by the association. “I was elated,” she says, recalling the moment she heard of the award. “I was also honored to be given the opportunity to take on this project. My bosses put the utmost faith in me.”

In the years-long process of transforming the Jewish Bulletin into j., Maclearie viewed the process as much more than a mere redesign. “It was starting from scratch,” she says. “There was a lot of trial and error, but when the look of j. finally came together, I strongly felt we had something excellent.”

Associate publisher Nora Contini was equally pleased with j.’s first place prize, given that the AJPA has more than 100 member publications vying for the same awards. “In the process of redesigning,” she says, “we tried to make j. more reader-friendly, more elegant and more flexible. This was a confirmation that our efforts were recognized and appreciated by our peers and the judges. It felt good.”

J. won two other awards: Cartoonist Steve Greenberg once again took home the Noah Bee Award for “Excellence in illustration and/or editorial cartooning,” coming in first place. Greenberg has won the award four times before.

In addition, staff writer Dan Pine placed second in the Hadassah Award for “Excellence in writing about women” for “Laughing through the years — and the tears,” a Jewish Bulletin cover story last spring about Esther Weintraub, an octogenarian resident at the Jewish Home who still works as a stand-up comic.