PICAs aim to regain credibility
Where there are award shows, there is grumbling. About the judges, the rules, the loopholes. The “something-for-everyone” mentality draws in entry fees and fills up gala functions – just ask the local ad industry. The statues are there, if only all of them came out attached with a healthy dose of credibility.
The PICAs are the only ranking magazine award in South Africa but the narrow content categories, particularly in the business-to-business section of the awards, coupled with an ineffective system of judging, meant plenty of trophies doing the rounds with less and less prestige attached to them.
In 2002, there were 287 entries and 42 awards. Yeah, 15% of entries were guaranteed a winning spot. Last year saw 78 awards handed out, including those to runners-up and the highly commended.
This year saw the Magazine Publishers’ Association of South Africa (MPASA) task Jonathan Harris, as chairman of the 2010 PICA Committee, and his team with a much-needed rethink around how the awards are judged and presented. Harris has set out to align the PICAs with international standards by streamlining categories and revamping the judging process and panels. The end result, he hopes, will be a credible award show that provides direct feedback from judges to publishers, contributing to industry excellence in the long run.
Harris is a well-respected publishing executive, having successfully launched his own magazine, Real, which he later sold to Media24. Today he serves as the CEO of Thought24, a Media24 division publishing some of South Africa’s leading black female titles including True Love, Real and Move!.
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