Missouri Lifestyle Journalism Awards
The Missouri Lifestyle Journalism Awards were first awarded in 1960 as the Penney-Missouri Awards to recognize women's pages that covered topics other than society, club, and fashion news, and that also covered such topics as lifestyle and consumer affairs. The Penney-Missouri Awards were often described as the "Pulitzer Prize of feature writing". They were the only nationwide recognition specifically for women's page journalists, at a time when few women had other opportunities to write or edit for newspapers.
The Penney-Missouri awards were conceived by James Cash Penney, founder of the J. C. Penney retail chain, who hoped improving women's page sections would turn them into more effective advertising channels for his stores. Penney established the award at the University of Missouri because he believed the school had the necessary prestige.
Kimberly Wilmot Voss's research suggests that as early as 1960, when the awards were established, women's page sections were reporting on a broader range of issues than expected, often creating the kind of coverage the awards were intended to encourage: "more than just society notices and photographs of brides".
In 1974, as most newspapers were changing their women's sections into features sections, contest rules changed to allow entries from journalists who did not work full-time in a women's page section.
The directors of the award program were:
- Paul L. Myhre (1960–1971)
- Robert Hosakawa (1971–1976)
- Ruth D'Arcy (1976–1984)
- George Pica (1984–1988); Pica was also a previous winner of the award
- Nancy Beth Jackson (1988–1994)
In 1994, J. C. Penney stopped funding the awards, and they were renamed as the Missouri Lifestyle Journalism Awards, with the University of Missouri funding as well as judging.
Rodger Streitmatter, writing in the scholarly journal Journalism History, credits the awards for helping to change women's pages journalism.
- Taft, William H (2015). Encyclopedia of Twentieth Century Journalists. Routledge. p. xiv. Retrieved 24 November 2018.
- Harp, Dustin (2007). Desperately Seeking Women Readers: U.S. Newspapers and the Construction of a Female Readership. Lexington Books. p. 32. ISBN 9780739114902.
- Voss, Kimberly Wilmot (Spring 2006). "The Penney-Missouri Awards: Honoring the Best in Women's News". Journalism History. 32 (1): 43.
- Voss, Kimberly Wilmot (Spring 2006). "The Penney-Missouri Awards: Honoring the Best in Women's News". Journalism History. 32 (1): 44.
- Voss, Kimberly Wilmot (Spring 2006). "The Penney-Missouri Awards: Honoring the Best in Women's News". Journalism History. 32 (1): 46.
- "Penney-Missouri Journalism Awards, Records, 1960-1993" (PDF). State Historical Society of Missouri. Retrieved 21 November 2018.
- Streitmatter, Rodger (Summer 1998). "Transforming the Women's Pages: Strategies that Worked" (PDF). Journalism History. 24 (2): 72-80. Retrieved 26 December 2018.