Chicago Journalist Champions Jewish Arts & Culture, Wins Top Local Honor for Third Time

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Chicago critic/columnist Jan Lisa Huttner recently earned her third Silver Feather Award for writing the most award-winning articles in the Illinois Woman’s Press Association’s annual Mate E. Palmer Communications Contest. Two of her top three awards are for Jewish content. Her special feature on the most recent Chicago Festival of Israel Cinema (“Tzivi’s Guide to the 2009 CFIC”), which appeared in JUF News with additional content posted on Films for Two, won Best Writing for the Web. Her January and February columns for the JUF News also won first place in the Specialized Print Column category. The IWPA judges call Huttner’s work “informative,” “insightful,” “knowledgeable,” “relevant,” “thoughtful,” “well-focused” and “full of great observations.” About “Tzivi’s Spotlight,” Jan’s monthly column for JUF News, judges wrote: “Great interweaving of opinion, observation and interviews with fascinating artists and thinkers."

“Huttner's work for JUF News has significantly contributed to our readers’ understanding of the Jewish cultural scene,” said executive editor Aaron B. Cohen, "helping us derive the full fruit from such a rich and complex Jewish cultural vineyard."

Chicago critic/columnist Jan Lisa Huttner recently earned her third Silver Feather Award for writing the most award-winning articles in the Illinois Woman’s Press Association’s annual Mate E. Palmer Communications Contest. This year, Huttner received three first-place awards, four second-place awards, two third-place awards and four honorable mentions for 13 features, interviews, reviews and speeches she wrote for Chicago YIVO, the College of Complexes, JUF News, and WomenArts, as well as her website (Films for Two: The Online Guide for Busy Couples) and her blog (The Hot Pink Pen). She garnered honors in numerous categories, including Writing for Print, Writing for the Web, Website Development and Public Presentations.

Two of her top three awards are for Jewish content. Her special feature on the most recent Chicago Festival of Israel Cinema (“Tzivi’s Guide to the 2009 CFIC”), which appeared in JUF News with additional content posted on Films for Two, won Best Writing for the Web—one of the contest’s most competitive categories. Her January and February columns for the JUF News also won first place in the Specialized Print Column category. These columns discussed the Chicago release of Edward Zwick’s film Defiance (about the three Bielski brothers who saved more than 1,000 Jews in Belarus between 1941 and 1945) and a visit from Erin Einhorn (author of The Pages in Between: A Holocaust Legacy of Two Families, One Home), as well as additional local happenings.

The IWPA judges call Huttner’s work “informative,” “insightful,” “knowledgeable,” “relevant,” “thoughtful,” “well-focused” and “full of great observations.” About “Tzivi’s Spotlight,” Jan’s monthly column for JUF News, judges wrote: “Great interweaving of opinion, observation and interviews with fascinating artists and thinkers. Columnist has a point of view, yet the voices of her subjects are captured well. Never a sense that she’s rambling to fill space; interesting to the end.”

“Huttner's work for JUF News has significantly contributed to our readers’ understanding of the Jewish cultural scene, here, in Israel and elsewhere,” said Aaron B. Cohen, executive editor of JUF News and http://www.juf.org. “For many, Huttner’s column is the one place where important works are explained in a context often ignored in the general media. I’m grateful for her talent and commitment to helping us derive the full fruit from such a rich and complex Jewish cultural vineyard.”

“I would like to add my congratulations to Jan for her well-deserved IWPA Silver Feather Award for 2010,” said Peggy Shapiro, coordinator of the annual Chicago Festival of Israeli Cinema. “Jan is the winner not only because of her keen insight into film and her understanding of the soul of Israel, but because of her passion for the art of cinema. Her enthusiasm and knowledge enrich the community’s cultural experience.”

“It is wonderful that Jan has a media voice that consistently tells the stories of ‘creative Israel’ through her website and JUF News column,” added Cheryl Jacobs Lewin, owner of public relations firm Cheryl J. Lewin Associates and an active member of 2009’s Chicago Festival of Israeli Cinema committee.

During her journalistic career, Huttner has interviewed numerous Jewish filmmakers, including Gaylen Ross, who made the controversial 2009 documentary Killing Kasztner: The Jew Who Dealt with Nazis. Her interview with Ross for Films for Two won a second-place certificate.

“It was one of the most intensive, cogent and professional interviews I was to experience and enjoy during the theatrical release of my film,” Ross said. “Jan had done her homework. Not only did she know the film well, she was equally familiar with the historical, political and moral implications of the story. Not a small thing for a subject as complex as Kasztner—to be able to discuss the epic Holocaust rescue and the controversial aftermath for Kasztner in Israel, a libel trial and assassination. The finished piece reflected the significant breadth of my film, while making it understandable for anyone who would come to this story for the first time. And I was never misquoted! The entire experience was a joy and I’m delighted with Jan’s Silver Feather Award.”

Huttner previously received the Silver Feather Award in 2006, when she won two first-place awards, two second-place awards, three third-place awards and an honorable mention for 14 articles, interviews and reviews. One of her JUF News submissions (“Israeli Films: Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You”) went on to receive honorable mention from IWPA’s parent organization, the National Federation of Press Women in the category, Best Web Content Written for Nonprofit or Educational Site. In 2005, she first won the Silver Feather Award with 10 honors, one of which (her Women eNews submission “Works of 11 Female Artists Are Oscar Nominees”) went on to win first place in NFPW’s category News Articles Written Specifically for the Web.

In 2010 the IWPA honored 33 members for award-winning entries at its May 15 awards luncheon and 125th anniversary celebration at the Union League Club of Chicago. The most competitive categories this year were Feature Story, Special Articles and Writing for the Web. This competition covered a range of categories in print and electronic media, books, photography, advertising and public relations. All first-place entries were forwarded to NFPW for national judging. Winners will receive their awards at the national conference held Aug. 26-28 in Chicago.

About Jan Lisa Huttner
Jan Lisa Huttner is an award-winning Chicago critic/columnist who holds masters degrees in psychology from Harvard University and the University of Chicago. In addition to IWPA, she is a member of the Chicago Film Critics Association and the Association for Women Journalists – Chicago, as well as Chicago YIVO, ORT America – Metropolitan Chicago Region, and Hadassah’s AGAM chapter. Jan and her husband Rich worship with KAM Isaiah Israel in Hyde Park.

About the Illinois Woman’s Press Association
The Illinois Woman’s Press Association (IWPA) is part of the National Federation of Press Women (NFPW), an organization of professional women and men pursuing careers across the communication spectrum. Members work in print and electronic journalism, public relations, graphic design, new media, marketing, photography, book publishing, education and more. For more information about IWPA, visit the website at http://www.iwpa.org or call (312) 458-9151. Contact NFPW at http://www.nfpw.org or (800) 780-2715.

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