Deadline looms for Awards for Excellence in Women’s Health Reporting

The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada (SOGC) and the Canadian Foundation for Women’s Health (CFWH) are co-sponsoring a program of journalism awards for excellence in reporting on women’s health issues. The awards are open to print (including consumer magazines, newspapers and online news sites) and broadcast media published during 2011.

The SOGC/CFWH Journalism Awards for Excellence in Women’s Health Reporting recognizes outstanding reporting on women’s health issues appearing in consumer newspapers, magazines and broadcasts across Canada.

Winners in each media category receive a $1000 cash prize and will be honoured at the annual conference of SOGC in June. There will also be three Honourable Mentions per category. Submissions are due by March 5, 2012. General criteria and applications forms are here.

Last year’s Honourable Mentions include National Magazine Award-winning articles “The Human Egg Trade” by Alison Motluk (The Walrus) and “Guérir par les microbes” by Valérie Borde (L’actualité).

Western Magazine Awards deadline is Friday March 16

[This post has been updated] The Western Magazine Awards — open to Canadian consumer, trade and online magazines published in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia, the Northwest Territories and the Yukon — are accepting submissions for their 30th anniversary awards program until this Friday, March 2 Friday March 16.

There are 12 written , 6 visual, 4 Gold and 8 Magazine-of-the-Year awards, the latter two divided by province/region. The winners will be revealed at the 30th anniversary Western Magazine Awards in Vancouver on June 15.

Off the Page, with Jillian Tamaki

Off the Page is an exclusive new series produced by the NMAF that reaches out to former National Magazine Award winners to find out what their awards have meant to them and what they’re up to now. Off the Page will appear regularly on the NMA blog during the winter and spring of 2012. This week we catch up with National Magazine Award-winning illustrator Jillian Tamaki.

NMAF: You won your first National Magazine Award for illustration in The Walrus in 2005, barely two years after graduating from the Alberta College of Art & Design. How did you get started illustrating for magazines, and what was your experience winning a NMA so early in your career?

Jillian: When I graduated from ACAD, I felt quite natural illustrating for newspapers and magazines because that was definitely the focus of my illustration training. When I graduated in 2003, the Visual Communications program was perhaps more rigid and less diversified than it is now.

I think back to Rick Sealock’s class and it was basically one editorial project after another—with perhaps a few book projects thrown in—which was a fantastic way of honing your conceptual skills. It’s incredibly advantageous to be able to do editorial work when you’re starting out, because it’s one facet of the industry that regularly takes chances on new talent.

The National Magazine Award was a vote of confidence that I was in the right line of work. We all need a thumbs-up from the world sometimes, as we toil away in the studio.

NMAF: After that your career blossomed in magazines both in Canada and the US. You won another National Magazine Award in 2007, for a series of evocative illustrations in More magazine accompanying a feature article (“A tale of two sisters“) by renowned memoirists Joyce and Rona Maynard. That piece has the feel of the visual and written elements of a magazine story working in perfect harmony. What was the process of creating those illustrations, and would you say that was typical of your creative practice working with magazines?

“A tale of two sisters” (More magazine, Sept 2007); Illustration by Jillian Tamaki

Jillian: I approach all assignments the same way. I try to commune with the source material and let it guide me, whether that be a book, article, piece of music, or whatever. I often count my blessings that my schooling at ACAD was half graphic design, because I actually believe my conceptual process is very design-influenced. I use a lot of words and try to think about metaphors and word associations or even just tune into the atmosphere (physical or emotional) of the content—always keeping in mind the client and their audience, of course.

NMAF: Your 2008 graphic novel SKIM was the first of the genre ever to be nominated for the Governor General’s Award (in the Children’s Literature category). Tell us a bit about that project on which you collaborated with your cousin Mariko Tamaki. And what are you working on these days?

SKIM started off as a very small project instigated by Emily Pohl-Weary’s Kiss Machine zine in Toronto. Mariko and I both wanted to try a small comic project (we had never worked together before) and it was perfectly bite-sized: a 24-page story that was to be bound as a small floppy. It’s since been expanded to a 144-page book (published by Groundwood Books) and translated into six languages, I believe. Mariko and I are working on a new book together, entitled Awago Beach Babies, set in Muskoka; I’d say it’s about summer mythologies. Other than that, I teach at the School of Visual Arts here in NYC and occasionally toss up a comic on my very silly webcomic, SuperMutant Magic Academy.

Jillian Tamaki is an award-winning Canadian illustrator. Her website is, where you can view her portfolio and order prints of her work.

CAUT offers awards for excellence in journalism

The deadline is approaching for applications for two journalism awards presented by the Canadian Association of University Teachers for 2012.

Established in 2001, these awards for outstanding reporting are presented by the CAUT to recognize and promote in-depth and thoughtful coverage of issues related to post-secondary education in Canada. Two awards are offered: one to recognize excellence in the student media, and the other to honour outstanding reporting in the professional print and broadcast media.

There is a cash prize of $1000 included with each prize. The deadline for applications is February 24, 2012.

Dernier appel aux Grands Prix des Magazines du Québec

La période d’inscription pour le concours des Grands Prix 2012 du magazine est en cours. Les éditeurs, rédacteurs en chef, journalistes, pigistes, photographes, illustrateurs sont invités à déposer leur candidature dans l’une ou l’autre des 18 catégories du concours.

La date-limite est le 24 février 2012.

The submissions process for the 2012 Quebec Magazine Awards is open. Editors, journalists, freelancers, photographers and illustrators are invited to submit their work in one or more of the 18 categories.

The deadline for submissions is February 24, 2012.

Off the Page, with Roger LeMoyne

Off the Page is an exclusive new series produced by the NMAF that reaches out to former National Magazine Award winners to find out what their awards have meant to them and what they’re up to now. Off the Page will appear regularly on the NMA blog during the winter and spring of 2012. This week we catch up with National Magazine Award-winning photographer Roger LeMoyne.

NMAF: In 2008 Maisonneuve published your photo essay, “Serbia, the Sad South,” which ultimately won you your first Gold National Magazine Award. You’d spent time in the Balkans early in your career and for this assignment you went back to document your experiences in Serbia a decade or more after the Balkan wars. How did you make that return journey happen, and how did it get the attention of Maisonneuve?

"Serbia, the Sad South" by Roger LeMoyne (Maisonneuve, no. 30, Winter 2008)

Roger: That project was funded with the Lange-Taylor Prize from Duke University, which writer Kurt Pitzer and I shared for 2007. Kurt had also worked in the Balkans in the late 1990s. We first met and worked together in Iraq in 2003 covering the invasion. You really get to know someone fast in a situation like that, running around an open city.

I called him up a day before the deadline and we drew up a proposal to return to the Balkans and follow up where we had left off. So in 2008 we spent 5 weeks covering the Kosovo declaration of independence and southern Serbia.

Serbia is a fascinating place psychologically, and I have always been struck by the fatalism and complexity of its living history — the “why” of their tragic history and recent civil war. If there was ever a place with a “national psyche,” it is Serbia.

After the trip, Kurt got to writing a book about North Korea and wasn’t able to complete his [Balkans] piece. After a while, I started shopping the pictures around and Maisonneuve was first to pick it up. They asked me to write as well, which I was glad to do because I have a lot to say about the place.

NMAF: You’ve now been nominated for thirteen National Magazine Awards and won two since 1992 for your photojournalism in Maclean’s, Destinations, Saturday Night, Chatelaine, Report on Business, Canadian Geographic, Border Crossings and others, and no doubt we’ll see more of your work recognized in the future. What is the significance for a well-travelled freelance photographer to win a NMA and be recognized for all that hard work?

Roger: Personally, the significance of awards is that they’ve helped me overcome self doubt. When I began working I had no idea if I could survive, make a living, be any good as a photographer. Whenever I felt that I was hopelessly inept and dark voices inside were telling me to give up, I would defer to other people’s opinions (such as those giving out awards) and carry on. Of course the prize money is helpful in funding the next project, and it is good fun to go to the awards evenings. I don’t think anyone will deny that recognition from your peers is especially gratifying.

Tahrir Square, Cairo (Feb 2011) by Roger LeMoyne

NMAF: A year ago at this time you were in Tahrir Square in Cairo, documenting the popular revolt unfolding in Egypt, and you’ve also worked in Kurdistan, Palestine and the Amazon, among others. As a veteran photographer what motivates you to document events and people in times of upheaval or transition? 

Roger: The transition/upheaval question is an interesting one. With so many photographs being made around the world—and flying around the internet—there is a kind of existential dilemma of what to photograph and why.

I am constantly watching for the right subject, weighing the pros and the cons of investing myself in a story. I am looking for photos that will have some lasting value, that I can get financing for; photos I really want to make and ones that I can make well, which are not always the same thing.

Periods of transition meet the criteria in several ways: these are moments of change that won’t be repeated, ever, in the same way. They have news value at first, but then become part of a historical record. The moment may pass, but the changes have long-lasting repercussions that keep the photographs relevant.

On another level, these situations also reveal the fragility of society and the human enterprise. I see many of our social constructs as illusory and therefore the potential for chaos as ever present, be it physical, financial or in other forms that we are seeing even now.

Conversely, in times of upheaval, the individual regains some of his self-reliance (or perishes). There is something quite liberating about working in these zones of chaos, where your own actions determine your fate.

NMAF: What else have you been working on recently?

Roger: I have just been to Port-au-Prince again, looking at how the city is putting itself back together two years after the earthquake. Very few people who go to Haiti only go once. It is a fascinating place. I have also been working on a story for The Walrus here in Montreal about circus arts. They paid me to go to the Circus. Fun. In the last few years I have been shooting regularly for Maclean’s, which I usually enjoy, because they have to do all the thinking. Sometimes it is a relief to be told what to photograph and what the point is.

Roger LeMoyne is a Canadian photographer whose images have garnered more than 50 national and international awards. His website is Find out more about Roger’s National Magazine Awards at our Awards Archive. Photograph of Tahrir Square courtesy Roger LeMoyne.

Last Call for Nominations for Outstanding Achievement Award

Nominations for the Foundation Award for Outstanding Achievement — the most prestigious individual honour granted by the National Magazine Awards Foundation — are due by March 1, 2012.

This award is open to circulation experts, editors, marketing, sales and promotion professionals, publishers, designers, production managers — in short, to everyone in the Canadian magazine industry. It cannot be given posthumously.

The nomination consists of a letter from the nominator indicating the candidate’s name, title and career achievements, with supporting letters from at least two other individuals. There is no fee.

The Judging Committee of the NMAF will consider the nominations, along with nominations from members of the Committee itself. The Board of the NMAF will select the winner. Nominees not selected for the award may be kept under consideration an additional two years.

The winner will be announced on May 1 with the release of the finalists for this year’s 35th anniversary National Magazine Awards, and he or she will be presented with the award at the NMA gala on June 7 in Toronto.

Send nominations to the NMAF office no later than March 1.