The National Magazine Award for Best Magazine Brand

We know that magazine publishers work hard to extend their brand across multiple platforms to attract readers and grow their business, and this year the National Magazine Awards Foundation will recognize this ingenuity with the award for Best Magazine Brand. Whether you’re advancing your publishing mandate with mobile apps, radio and television broadcasts, live events, SIPs, social media campaigns or other innovations in audience engagement, we want to recognize your work and showcase your brand to the industry.

CRITERIA
The award for Best Magazine Brand will go to the publication whose brand best delivers on its editorial mandate through at least three platforms. The platforms may include but are not limited to a print or digital magazine, a website, SIP(s), mobile app(s), tablet edition, social media, television shows, radio broadcasts and podcasts, live events, innovations in print or digital media and other forms of audience engagement.

SUBMISSION REQUIREMENTS
Publishers must complete the online application and submit in hard copy four (4) copies of a submission package which must include:

  • a) A cover letter of maximum two pages summarizing the strength of the publication’s brand identity against its editorial mandate and the achievements during 2014;
  • b) Any print edition of the magazine from 2014, if applicable; and
  • c) Any supporting documentation (such as links to social media, summaries of research, event materials, products, etc.) that attests to the success of the brand in 2014.

FEES AND DEADLINES
The application fee for Best Magazine Brand is $175 +HST. Enter online by January 11 for the early-bird rate of $150. All supporting materials must be received by January 19.

FINALISTS AND WINNER
A shortlist of three finalists will be announced on May 4 and all finalists will receive a certificate and recognition in NMAF publications and at the awards gala. The winner will be announced on June 5 at the 38th annual National Magazine Awards and be promoted to the Canadian magazine industry and public in a promotional campaign whose goal is to showcase the winner’s branding strategy as a benchmark of excellence and an inspiration to others.

Submit today at magazine-awards.com. Final deadline: January 19.

Holiday Magazine Subscription Guide

The deadline is approaching fast — for holiday gift shopping. (Also for the National Magazine Awards, but that deadline is January 19.) Looking for pleasurable, readable, can’t-put-down-able gift ideas. Here’s a list of gold-winning magazines from this past year’s National Magazine Awards and their subscription deals.

Cottage Life: Canada’s reigning Magazine of the Year has a fantastic online store with gift ideas for every Canadian. Plus, subscribe to Cottage Life print and digital editions for just $29.75 for a year.

The Walrus: Want some of this country’s best magazine writing and art in one compelling package? Get two years of Canada’s most award-winning magazine (Gold medals in Society, Politics & Public Interest, Travel, Best Single Issue, Magazine Website Design, Words & Pictures and One of a Kind) for under $50. Plus, the Walrus store – awesome gift ideas.

Maclean’s: Awarded Canada’s Magazine Website of the Year as well as Best Online Video and Best Short Feature; get a one-month free trial of the digital edition via Next Issue, plus access to back issues and over one hundred magazines in one app.

Maisonneuve: A one-year subscription to one of Canada’s best and most beautiful literary and arts magazines (4 Gold National Magazine Awards last year for Illustration, Spot Illustration, Photojournalism and Health & Medicine) is only $20!

Report on Business: Get Canada’s leading business magazine, winner of National Magazine Awards for Business reporting, Portrait Photography and Magazine Covers, among others, with your Globe and Mail subscription.

Legion Magazine: A double National Magazine Award winner this past year in Service: Health & Family and Investigative Reporting, Legion pursues top-notch journalism dedicated to Canadian veterans and their families and anyone with an interest in Canadian history. Five-year subscription for under $50. Read our interview with Legion general manager Jennifer Morse for more info about this great mag.

THIS Magazine: Almost 50 years old and still one of Canada’s top independent magazines where many emerging writers and investigative journalists are published, including Catherine McIntyre, winner of last year’s award for Best New Magazine Writer. Gift subscriptions for as low as $15 per year.

Western Living: Winner of 4 National Magazine Awards this year, Western Living is all about how to live well, healthy and in style in Western Canada. Get a one-year digital subscription for just $17.99.

Little Brother: One of Canada’s newest literary magazines, Little Brother won the NMA for Fiction this past year. Get 4 issues of the magazine for $50 and enjoy some of Canada’s best literary arts. Read our interview with publisher Charles Yao.

Azure: Canada’s premier architecture and design magazine, winner of the NMA for Creative Photography, get one year (8 big, bold issues) for less than $40.

Eighteen Bridges: Winner of the National Magazine Awards for Essays, Profiles and Arts & Entertainment, this Alberta magazine is always a great read. Get a year for $25.95. Read our interview with editor Curtis Gillespie to find out more about Eighteen Bridges.

Sportsnet: Canada’s ultimate sports magazine, winner of the NMA for best tablet edition. Get 26 issues for less than $30.

United Church Observer: Winner of the National Magazine Award for Science, Technology & the Environment, this veteran Canadian magazine will surprise you. Get a year’s subscription for $25.

Malahat Review: The winningest literary magazine of all time and winner of this year’s award for Personal Journalism, give a gift subscription for $35 for a year for some of Canada’s best poetry, fiction and creative non-fiction.

Prefix Photo: Get one year of Canada’s most alluring contemporary photography magazine, and NMA winner for Art Direction, for less than $30. That special photographer friend will be thrilled.

Hazlitt: The online magazine from Penguin Random House will help you discover great writing again. Browse the bookshop for Hazlitt’s anthologies and eBooks featuring National Magazine Award-winning writers.

Flare: Consistently one of Canada’s most award-winning fashion magazines, get one year of all-access print and digital editions for $14.95.

ELLE Canada: Winner of the National Magazine Award for Beauty, ELLE is one of Canada’s most popular magazines for good reason – incredible fashion, beauty and lifestyle content. Print and digital subscriptions available.

Other great fashion magazine ideas: Sharp | fshnunlimited

Check out the National Magazine Awards archive for more great magazine discoveries, plus all the winners from this past year’s National Magazine Awards.

Submissions are now open for the 2014 NMAs.

Off the Page, with Jennifer Morse & Legion Magazine

Off the Page is a regular interview series produced by the National Magazine Awards Foundation. Today we chat with Jennifer Morse, general manager of Legion Magazine, winner of the National Magazine Awards for Investigative Reporting and Service: Health & Family at this past year’s gala.

NMAF: Tell us a bit about Legion and its readers.

Jennifer: Legion is an independent magazine and one of Canada’s oldest continuously published magazines, founded in 1926. Our mandate is straightforward: Bring the stories of Canada to as many Canadians as we can, with a focus on Canadian military history and issues facing members of the military, veterans, their families and communities. We blend a mix of stories—often by some of Canada’s top historians—with iconic images, using words and pictures to excite Canadians about their history.

We’re not a magazine that is focused just on profit. We have a small, dedicated staff and a budget—like many magazines—that is limited. But we’re passionate. We have a readership, including print and online audiences, of more than 640,000, which is wonderful. Our readers really trust us to deliver quality journalism.

“One Martyr Down” by Adam Day (Legion); Gold Medal, Investigative Reporting, 2013

NMAF: Earlier this year, Legion Magazine’s commitment to excellent journalism was recognized with two Gold National Magazine Awards: one in Service: Health & Family (“Lest We Forget,” which is about veterans struggling with PTSD) and the other in Investigative Reporting (“One Martyr Down,” the incredible story of the death of a Canadian soldier serving with UN Peacekeepers in Lebanon during the Israel-Hezbollah war of 2006). How do these stories exemplify Legion’s publishing mandate, and what kinds of responses have you received from readers about these stories and/or the awards?

Jennifer: There has been an overwhelming response. In the last couple of years we’ve made a commitment to publish more longform journalism, which is difficult for publishers; obviously it’s more expensive. But these stories really exemplify our mandate and we want to pursue them no matter how difficult or how limited the resources are.

On those stories in particular we received a great deal of feedback from a cross-section of readers, both military and civilian—lots of letters and comments on Twitter and social media, and it’s great to get that kind of participation. People feel like it’s their story, too. There are a lot of challenges facing Canada’s veterans and a lot of debate about benefits for veterans. Sharon [Adams] really got to the heart of this in the PTSD story and another one [“Collateral Damage: Families in the Wake of War,” which won Honourable Mention at the National Magazine Awards]. These stories have been talked about in Parliament and the Senate; they are stories that may help lead to change. The recent announcement [that the government will commit $200 million to military mental-health care and benefits] I think had a lot to do with Legion’s work.

When we won the National Magazine Awards, lots of people—readers—contacted us to congratulate our writers and the magazine. These were the first two National Magazine Awards we’d ever won, and it was great for morale in the office. We already knew these stories were important to tell, and the awards and response put a stamp on it. I think readers felt like it was partly their award, too. We were very delighted.

"Collateral Damage" by Sharon Adams (Legion); Honourable Mention, Service: Health & Family, 2013
“Collateral Damage” by Sharon Adams (Legion); Honourable Mention, Service: Health & Family, 2013

NMAF: Is there a measurable impact that winning a National Magazine Award has on the business of Legion Magazine, and where do you see this?

Jennifer: I read a statistic recently about how magazine newsstand sales are soft, down 23% combined in 2012 and 2013. We all know there are challenges out there for publishers. We’ve fortunately had the opposite result over the last two years in that we’ve experienced growth in both direct circulation and advertising.

It’s not always easy for a special-interest magazine such as Legion to succeed on the newsstand. Our special “Normandy” issue was on newsstands when the National Magazine Awards were announced, when we received a lot of news and feedback. And that issue has become one of our best sellers, the top one or two issues of all time. We are also seeing a pick-up in subscriptions via newsstand copies, and we’re forecasting a 14% increase in the second half of this year. Is it related to the awards we won—let’s hope so, but I think absolutely there has been a great impact, and we are thrilled.

NMAF: This time of year is especially significant to Canadian veterans, with Remembrance Day and the WWI anniversary, not to mention the recent attacks on members of the armed services in Ottawa and Quebec. What is Legion presenting to its readers right now?

Legion Magazine, Nov-Dec 2014

Jennifer: In our November-December issue on newsstands now, we have a profile on Julian Fantino, and about the growing frustration of veterans about government neglect. I think the level of frustration being felt is unprecedented and we wanted to address that in the story. Our editorial addresses the Veterans’ Affairs

We want to put these stories in context, to present the facts for our readers, because they are important stories to Canadians. And in a future issue we’ll be covering more of the story about the attack on Parliament Hill.

NMAF: Who should be reading Legion magazine that isn’t right now?

Jennifer: Every single Canadian! A reader recently told me he bought the special Normandy issue for his 90-year-old father, a veteran of the Second World War, who said he found it so satisfying to read something truly about Canada. We’re a country with our own story. I think Legion should be read in classrooms, in senior centres, and anywhere people want to discuss what we’re doing as a country, whether we’re doing it wrong or right. We know there is an appetite for stories like Legion presents, and our readers love the discoveries they make.

Legion Magazine is published six times per year in English with a French insert. In addition to its two National Magazine Awards, Legion also won a Silver Award in Audience Development in 2014 from the Circulation Management Association of Canada for its “Victoria Cross” special issue. Find out more at legionmagazine.com and on Twitter @Legion_Magazine. Check out Legion’s holiday subscription offer for a chance to win a free Apple iPad Air.

The January/February 2015 cover of Legion.
The January/February 2015 cover of Legion.

This interview was edited for length and clarity.

Read more Off the Page interviews with National Magazine Award winners.

The 2014 National Magazine Awards are now open for submissions. Early-bird deadline: January 11.

Farewell, Descant

Descant, the arts and literary quarterly published independently in Toronto since 1970, has announced that its forthcoming 167th issue, Vol. 45, No. 4, Winter 2014, will be its last.

Editor-in-chief Karen Mulhallen posted a farewell note on the magazine’s website, noting that after painstaking efforts to find alternative funding and deliberations among staff and funders, “we have jointly decided that Descant magazine in its present form is no longer sustainable.”

Grants have been in decline for more than five years, although other revenues such as sales and subscriptions have held steady or increased. We have cut costs everywhere we could, but many expenses over which we have no control have continued to spiral up.

Descant has won 6 National Magazine Awards since 1980 for its fiction, poetry and essays, most recently Adam Lindsay Honsinger‘s short story “Silence” in 2009.

What began as a mimeograph forty-four years ago evolved into a robust and stimulating literary magazine that has published works by Anne Michaels, Timothy Findley, Evelyn Lau, Margaret Atwood, Isabel Allende, Tom McGuane, Jane Urquhart, Dennis Lee, Michael Ondaatje and R. Murray Schafer, among many others. Lately its production office has been the historic George Brown building at the corner of Baldwin and Beverly Streets.

Browse through the back issues of Descant for a more complete perspective on what the magazine has published.

From the National Magazine Awards online archive:
Up the Amazon–1959; Mexico–1960” by P.K. Page (Descant), Honourable Mention, Poetry, 2005
Fudge” by Alex Pugsley (Descant), Honourable Mention, Fiction, 2010

An Interview with National Magazine Award-winning Fiction writer Jess Taylor

Jess Taylor on stage at the 37th annual National Magazine Awards, June 6, 2014.
Jess Taylor on stage at the 37th annual National Magazine Awards, June 6, 2014.

Recently the literary journal Echolocation published a great interview with Jess Taylor about her National Magazine Award-winning short story, “Paul,” the challenges of writing and her pursuit of a book project: the story collection Pauls will be published in 2015 by BookThug.

The interview was conducted by Liz Windhorst Harmer, herself a National Magazine Award winner earlier this year for Personal Journalism (“Blip,” published in The Malahat Review).

In this excerpt from the interview, Liz and Jess discuss the “hard place,” the core of the writerly being from which the literary art emerges.

Liz: What is exciting to watch as far as your “emerging” (a word with multiple meanings, it seems to me!) career, is just how many things you manage to balance and balance well. You recently wrote about ways of building community. You of course are the founder of Toronto’s Emerging Writers series. Your Puritan article discusses the joys and pitfalls of building community, and in it you use the phrase “the hard place”: you hoped “you’d meet people who’d understand you and what you describe as a hard place in yourself”. I love this essay. As we close out this interview, I hoped you could talk a little about the hard place.

I think I know what you mean by the phrase, and you don’t need to elaborate, but I wondered if your relationship to it has changed as your life as a writer has become more public. The transition from aspiring to published and awarded comes with its own costs. Have you found this?

Jess: Thanks, Liz! I’m glad you liked the essay.

The hard place for me is this little place inside of me that tells me I will always write, that I’m a writer. It’s the one aspect of my identity that is always consistent. It’s what spurs me on and gives me my sense of self. I know I’m a hard worker, I take pride in being a hard worker, and writing is my work. I hope this means that I will be able to build a life either from writing or around writing, but I know that even if no one publishes me, it will always be something I do and something that contributes to my sense of self. Some people may describe this as confidence. I think it’s different than confidence. It’s a baseline. More than knowing my name is “Jess,” that the word “Jess” refers to me, I know that this place exists in me.

To me, this is separate from any sort of public writing life or awards or publications. It’s a deeply personal and special thing. Of course, with public recognition comes a little validation that you’re doing the right thing, that other people can see it and know that you’re doing good work. But that’s almost an extra. Having the hard place in me has allowed me to not worry too much about whether or not my work fits into the current trends of writing. Having studied literature, it’s obvious that what’s popular changes and what’s lasting remains to be seen. So I’m just going to do what I like, write the type of work I like to write and read, and hope that the enjoyment comes across to other people. After winning an award or signing a contract, I guess all that changes for me is that I start to think, “Oh, ok, people are starting to see this my way. They like this too. Interesting.” But that could all change again in a moment.

This isn’t to say that I don’t have moments of doubt. We all do. Right after I was nominated for the National Magazine Award, I had a huge crisis. It was one of the first times I really doubted the hard place existed. I was happy about the nomination and starting to think about focusing on Pauls instead of the novel I was currently working on. A couple of my male colleagues who I really respected told me I should wait until I was older to publish. One was barely older than I was! It made me desolate. Normally someone else’s opinion about that sort of thing wouldn’t faze me; it might make me a little annoyed, but it wouldn’t put that doubt in me. It made me feel that awards were pointless because it wouldn’t change the fact that I was young and a female writer. There would still not be the same level of respect, even if I was doing good work and working hard. And having the award nomination just meant that people would gossip about me and form these opinions about me, about whether I deserved it, and I had no interest in being the subject of this sort of gossip or these dismissive attitudes.

But then everyone was surprised because I did win. The hard place was restored, as it was the one time I think I needed some external validation for that hard place. I’d been sending work out and getting rejected (as we all do), had never had a paid publication in my life, and all of a sudden I had won an NMA. It changed a lot in my life. I finally qualified for TAC grant, which only requires one paid publication, people were actually reading my work and coming to my readings, people were respecting me for my work instead of just as a promoter, it helped me with my job, and I signed a contract for Pauls. The hard place whispered, “I told you so, Jess, you big idiot.”

People are always going to talk, they are always going to be critical, haters gonna hate. But I know I can’t let it interfere with me and my work. Nothing can interfere with that. And that’s what great about having a hard place … everything else could be gone, they could take away the NMA, the book deal, my job, everything, but I’d still be me. The hard place would still be there. I’d keep trying to communicate and write in anyway I could. I always will. At this point, I’m still emerging, I would hesitate to say I have any real public writing life or that I’m the center of anyone’s focus, but if things were to go that way, the experiences I had over the summer really helped prepare me and reaffirmed why I write and why it’s a necessity.

Read the complete interview here.

Echolocation Magazine (www.echolocationmag.com) publishes fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, visual art, reviews and interviews. Their joint poetry/fiction contest with Qwerty Magazine on the theme of Doubles closes on December 31.

Check out our Off the Page department for more interviews with NMA winners, including our recent chat with Little Brother magazine publisher and art director Charles Yao.

See also:
Writer’s Guide to Canadian Literary Magazines & Journals
Guide to Fall 2014 Magazine Writing Contests

Watch: 4 National Magazine Award-winning editors talk about Canadian Magazines

Last Thursday on TVO’s The Agenda with Steve Paikin, four prominent Canadian magazine editors appeared together in conversation about the challenges and opportunities of magazine publishing and engaging readers in a digital age and in a crowded, shifting marketplace. (SPOILER ALERT: The answer to the digital-age question–“Will there still be print magazines in 10 years?”–is yes!)
  • Haley Cullingham, editor-in-chief of Maisonneuve
  • Sarah Fulford, editor-in-chief of Toronto Life
  • Jonathan Kay, editor-in-chief of The Walrus
  • Steve Maich, senior vice-president & general manager of Rogers Publishing and founding editor of Sportsnet
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A few annotations:

When host Steve Paikin introduces everyone with their associated magazine, describing each as having won “Best Canadian Magazine of…” he is referring to the National Magazine Award for Magazine of the Year (or, in the case of Sportsnet, Tablet Magazine of the Year).

Toronto Life: Magazine of the Year 2007 (and 1985 & 1989)
Maisonneuve: Magazine of the Year 2011 (and 2004)
The Walrus: Magazine of the Year 2006
Sportsnet: Tablet Magazine of the Year 2013

Steve Maich is a member of the board of directors of the National Magazine Awards Foundation.

The National Magazine Award for Best New Illustrator or Photographer

"Top Shelf" (Report on Business Magazine) by The Coveteur, former winner of Best New Illustrator or Photographer
“Top Shelf” (Report on Business Magazine) by The Coveteur, former winner of Best New Illustrator or Photographer

Are you an emerging Canadian magazine illustrator, photographer, graphic artist or digital image creator? Have you published your first major piece of visual work in a Canadian consumer magazine, university magazine or arts journal within the last 3 years? Chances are you’re eligible to be named Canada’s Best New Illustrator or Photographer from the National Magazine Awards Foundation.

The National Magazine Award for Best New Illustrator or Photographer goes to the artist whose early work in Canadian magazines (print, online or tablet) shows the highest degree of craft and promise.

The inaugural winner of this award, illustrator Byron Eggenscwhiler, has been nominated for 9 National Magazine Awards in total, winning 5 times, and his work has been published in Cottage Life, Swerve, More, Up Here, Maisonneuve and elsewhere. Read our interview with Byron about his career.

Another winner, the fashion & beauty collective The Coveteur, have been published in Report on Business, Toronto Life and elsewhere. Read our interview with The Coveteur about their creative work.

ELIGIBILITY
Eligible work–illustration, photo illustration, photography, infographics, graphic narratives and digital images–must have been published in a Canadian magazine (print, online or tablet) between January 1, 2012 and December 31, 2014, and must be at least one full page in size or digital equivalent, a single or series accompanying an article or editorial package. Candidates must not have published any magazine work larger than one page prior to 2012. The intent is to restrict this award to students and visual artists with a maximum of 3 years’ experience in professional journalism. One entry per person. See the NMAF’s general rules for further information about eligible publications.

HOW TO ENTER
Enter your submissions at magazine-awards.com. Submissions may be made by the artist or their art director or teacher. Entrants must complete the online application and submit required hard copies (see below). The deadline for applications including all required hard copies is January 19. The cost to enter is only $25 +HST.

REQUIREMENTS

  • Upload a PDF of your work during the online application.
  • Submit in hard copy four (4) sets of original tear sheets and four (4) copies of a letter of reference from a teacher, art director, mentor or colleague which attests to the candidate’s eligibility and provides context for the work submitted. Both the visual work and letter are reviewed by the judges.
  • Pay the submission fee ($25 + HST) by cheque or credit card.

FINALISTS AND WINNERS
A shortlist of 3 finalists will be announced on May 4, and all finalists receive a certificate and recognition in NMAF publications and at the gala. The winner will be revealed at the 38th annual National Magazine Awards gala on June 5.

PRIZE
$500 cash; plus the right to call yourself a National Magazine Award winner. We’ll interview you on our blog and promote you and your work nationwide.

More information and to submit:
magazine-awards.com/bnip 

Don’t forget the deadline: January 19, 2015.