Happy Holidays from the National Magazine Awards

From all of us at the National Magazine Awards Foundation, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Our offices are closed from Dec 23 – Jan 3, though you may still submit your entries for the National Magazine Awards online.

Check out all the categories, including Best New Magazine Writer, Best New Magazine Photographer, Best Magazine Brand, and Magazine of the Year.

The deadline for all entries is January 15. (Enter by January 11 for the early-bird discount.)

See you in 2016!

The National Magazine Award for Best New Magazine Writer

The National Magazine Award for Best New Magazine Writer will go to a writer whose early work in Canadian magazines (Print Magazine, Tablet Magazine or Magazine Website) shows the highest degree of craft and promise.

The award is open to students and magazine writers with a maximum of two years’ experience in professional journalism. The intent is to restrict this award to emerging writing talent in Canadian magazines.

Eligible work must have been published between January 1 and December 31, 2015, must be non-fiction and a minimum of 1,000 words in length. The candidate must not have a published article longer than 1,000 words in any magazine prior to 2014. Articles published in university/college magazines are eligible. Only 1 entry per person.

Submission requirements: Hard copies are not required. Entrants must upload a PDF of the article and a letter of reference from a teacher, mentor, editor or colleague, attesting to the candidate’s eligibility and providing context for the submitted work. The entry fee is only $25 for this category.

The deadline for entries is January 15, 2016.

READY TO SUBMIT? Click here to enter

A shortlist of 3 finalists will be announced on May 2. The winner will be revealed at the 39th annual National Magazine Awards gala on June 10, 2016. The winner receives a cash prize of $500. The runners-up receive Honourable Mention. All three finalists receive certificates.

Last year’s winner, Genna Buck, recently chatted with us about her award-winning story she wrote for Maisonneuve, and about the impact of the award on her young career as a magazine journalist.

Professionally, it has opened so many doors. I think it has put me on the path to being able to support myself as a freelancer, if that’s something I eventually choose to pursue. It has also opened editors’ ears and made them more willing to take a chance on a pitch from me that is a bit out-there or weird.

Read the complete interview.

Other previous winners of the Best New Magazine Writer award include Sierra Skye Gemma, Catherine McIntyre, Danielle Groen and Jonathan Trudel.

READY TO SUBMIT? Click here to enter

The National Magazine Award for Best New Magazine Photographer

The National Magazine Award for Best New Magazine Photographer* will go to a photographer whose early work in Canadian magazines (Print Magazine, Tablet Magazine or Magazine Website) shows the highest degree of craft and promise.

The award is open to students and magazine photographers with a maximum of three years’ experience in professional journalism. The intent is to restrict this award to emerging creative talent in Canadian magazines.

Eligible work must have been published between January 1, 2013 and December 31, 2015 and consists of a single or series of related photographs published in a Canadian magazine. Photographs published in university/college magazines are eligible. Only 1 entry per person.

Submission requirements: Hard copies are not required. Entrants must upload a PDF of the photograph(s) and a letter of reference from a teacher, mentor, art director or colleague, attesting to the candidate’s eligibility and providing context for the submitted work. The entry fee is only $25 for this category.

The deadline for entries is January 15, 2016.

READY TO SUBMIT? Click here to enter

A shortlist of 3 finalists will be announced on May 2. The winner will be revealed at the 39th annual National Magazine Awards gala on June 10, 2016. The winner receives a cash prize of $500. The runners-up receive Honourable Mention. All three finalists receive certificates.

Hudson Christie (portrait by the illustrator)
Hudson Christie (portrait by the illustrator)

Last year’s winner, Hudson Christie, recently chatted with us about his award-winning creative work in Maisonneuve, and about the impact of the award on his young career as a magazine illustrator

Winning a National Magazine Award in my first year out of OCAD was a really huge honour. Being named in the same breath as other renowned members of the Canadian magazine community made me feel like a real contributor to a larger creative goal.

Read the complete interview.

*In alternate years, the NMAF will present distinct awards for Best New Magazine Illustrator and Best New Magazine Photographer

READY TO SUBMIT? Click here to enter

Enter the National Magazine Award for Best Magazine Brand

The National Magazine Award for Best Magazine Brand recognizes the general excellence of a publisher in growing their brand and reaching their audience in new and innovative ways.

This award will go to the publisher whose brand best delivers on their editorial mandate through at least three platforms. The platforms may include a print or digital magazine, website, SIP(s), mobile app(s), tablet, social media, television shows or video, radio broadcasts or podcasts, live events, innovations in print or digital media, and other forms of audience engagement.

How to submit: Publishers should submit four (4) copies of a submissions package, which includes:

  • Any print edition of the magazine from 2015;
  • A cover letter (max two pages) summarizing the strength of the publication’s brand identity against its editorial mandate, and the achievements and innovations during the past year;
  • Any supporting documentation, including links to social media and digital initiatives, event materials, special editions or publications, products, media kits, etc.

Important: Keep in mind that your cover letter may be the jury’s introduction to your brand, and thus should contain all relevant information on your brand identity and extensions, and links to supporting material online (see the example of last year’s winner below).

READY TO ENTER? Click here to submit

How Best Magazine Brand is judged: Three judges, composed of peers and leaders in Canadian magazine publishing, including at least one member from French Canada, will evaluate all material individually over a four-week period, and then meet in person to deliberate on a shortlist of 3 finalists and from them a single winner.

Entry Fee & Deadline: The cost to enter is $150 (early-bird, by January 11) or $175 (by the final deadline of Jan 15).

Nominees & Winner: Three finalists will be announced on May 2, and the winner will be revealed at the 39th annual National Magazine Awards gala on June 10, 2016.

How was last year’s winner successful?
The inaugural winner of the award for Best Magazine Brand, in 2015, was Cottage Life.

Cottage Life submitted the Winter 2014 issue of the magazine along with copies of its two SIPs from that year, its media kit, and its annual Cottage Trivia Calendar. Its cover letter included a page outlining the editorial mandate of the magazine, its history and a summary of previous innovative engagements, and a summary of initiatives in 2014—including the launch of a Western Canada regional version of the magazine, the success of its annual consumer shows, the expansion of its television channel programs, and a move to licensed merchandise.

Download Cottage Life’s 2014 cover letter [PDF] for Best Magazine Brand, which may be of help as a guide for your publication. (Thanks for letting us use your letter, Cottage Life.)

The jury concluded the following about Cottage Life in bestowing the award for Best Magazine Brand:

Cottage Life demonstrates a level of innovation that bodes well for the industry, representing how a magazine can live beyond print with dynamic and thriving platforms. Its extensions—digital, broadcast, events, e-commerce—are perfectly aligned with the brand DNA, dominating the niche the magazine created while continuing to grow, refresh itself and take risks.”
National Magazine Awards jury

The deadline for National Magazine Awards entries is January 15.

Call for Submissions: 39th annual National Magazine Awards

The 39th annual National Magazine Awards are now open for submissions at magazine-awards.com, recognizing excellence in Canadian magazine publishing in 2015.

If you’ve entered in the past, you’ll need to reset your password this year. If you’re new to the NMAs, click the option to register.

TOTAL AWARDS (39)
– 21 written categories
– 9 visual categories
– 5 integrated categories
– 4 special categories:
Magazine of the Year ]
Best Magazine Brand ]
Best New Magazine Writer ]
Best New Magazine Photographer ]

DIGITAL CATEGORIES?
This year the NMAF will offer digital categories as part of the new Digital Publishing Awards programStarting January 4 you’ll be able to enter your tablet, web, video, podcast, multimedia and other content in the Digital Publishing Awards.

Reminder: Written & visual content from digital and tablet magazines and magazine websites is still eligible in most NMA categories.

WHAT DO I NEED TO SUBMIT?
Before logging into the online submissions portal, make sure you have the following:
– name & email of the author/creator & editor/art director of each entry;
– title, date and publication of each entry;
– PDF of each entry (see instructions for PDF specs)
– statement of your magazine’s editorial mandate (max 300 words)
– form of payment (credit card or cheque)

Hard copies of entries are only required for the categories Editorial Package, Magazine Covers, Best Single Issue, Art Direction of an Entire Issue, Best Magazine Brand, and Magazine of the Year.

ENTRY FEES
For most categories, the entry fee is $95 if you submit by the early bird deadline of January 11. For large and full-book categories, the entry fee is $150. For Best New Magazine Writer and Best New Magazine Photographer, the entry fee is only $25.

SMALL MAGAZINE REBATE
Are you the publisher of a small magazine (under $200,000 in annual revenue)? You may be eligible for the Small Magazine Rebate to receive 1 free entry to this year’s National Magazine Awards. You must apply by January 11.

DEADLINES
– Early-bird deadline: Monday, January 11
– Final deadline: Friday, January 15

PRIZES
All Gold Medal winners in written and visual categories and some integrated categories receive a cash prize of $1000. Silver Medal winners receive $500. Winners of Best New Magazine Writer and Best New Magazine Photographer receive $500. All winners and finalists receive awards certificates.

CAN FREELANCERS ENTER?
Yes, freelancers as well as publishers and magazine staff members can enter their own work in the National Magazine Awards.

ELIGIBILITY & RULES
Review the NMAF’s Eligibility & Rules guidelines before submitting.

FAQ
Got questions? We’ve got answers.

WHAT’S NEW?
Enter the NMAs regularly? Not much has changed this year, except this.

FOUNDATION AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT
Each year the NMAF recognizes an individual whose contribution to the Canadian magazine industry deserves special distinction. Nominations for the Foundation Award for Outstanding Achievement can come from anyone in the industry. There is no fee to nominate someone. The deadline for nominations is March 1, 2016.

CALL FOR JUDGES
There’s still time to nominate yourself or a colleague to judge for this year’s National Magazine Awards.

NOMINEES & WINNERS
Finalists for all awards will be announced by May 2, and the 39th annual National Magazine Awards gala will be held on June 10. The date of the Digital Publishing Awards event will be announced in the spring. Follow us on Twitter and on the Magazine Awards blog for news and updates.

Questions? Contact staff [at] magazine-awards.com.

Good luck to this year’s entries. We look forward to recognizing excellence in Canadian magazine publishing from 2015.

Off the Page, with Genna Buck

Genna Buck (photo by Jessica Darmanin)

This week on Off the Page, our interview series with National Magazine Award winners, we chat with journalist Genna Buck, who won the 2015 NMA prize for Best New Magazine Writer, given annually to an emerging journalist whose early work in Canadian magazines shows the highest degree of craft and promise. 

NMAF: Congratulations on the award for Best New Magazine Writer. Your winning piece, “Finding a Place,” found a place in Maisonneuve. Can you talk a bit about how you discovered Savannah’s story, and why you decided to pursue it?

Genna Buck: I was a super green reporter on a summer contract at the Telegraph-Journal in Saint John, N.B., assigned to cover the provincial court. This was 2012. Savannah, a young woman with severe autism, was brought in for a hearing — I tell that story in the piece — and it was memorable because a representative from Social Development was supposed to be there and had failed to show. The normally very taciturn judge got a bit miffed about it, so I wrote it up for the paper.

Read Genna Buck's award-winning story in the Winter 2014 issue of Maisonneuve
Read Genna Buck’s award-winning story in the Winter 2014 issue of Maisonneuve

The next day I got this heartbreaking phone call from Joy Sullivan, Savannah’s foster mother of many years, who had no idea that her kid was in this situation. She’d been looking for answers but had gotten discouraged by that point.

I learned that this young person who was totally alone, who had no one to speak for her, who was a child of the system, actually had people. She had a family who loved her. And an institution that was supposed to be all about supporting families to stay together had dropped the ball in a really profound way. So the story had a narrative element — the arc of Savannah’s life — and a public-interest element.

I’d seen similar cases, sadly, many times in my short period covering the court, but I’d never found a way into the story until Joy reached out and let me into her life and opened up.

It was extremely brave and I will always be thankful to her for that.

NMAF: In your award-winning piece, readers are given a portrait of woman with autism who quotes Shrek, who crouches by a puddles and pretends to drown a doll, who is bounced from one “holding tank” to another. While you were writing the piece, what were the challenges you faced in trying to accurately represent Savannah’s story to your readers?

Genna Buck: There are a lot of things I would do differently if I could do this story over. I made the choice to share most of Savannah’s life story through Joy’s voice, which wasn’t ideal. I felt very uneasy about questioning Savannah because I didn’t know her well, and I wasn’t totally sure that I would be able to adequately inform her about what I was doing so that she could give her true consent.

I wanted to follow legal and ethical rules to the letter, because when I was doing the initial reporting, it was for my Master’s project, and I didn’t know if it would ever be published.

For practical reasons, I wasn’t able to visit Savannah in hospital. And I really, really did not want to make her think that I had the power to change her situation.

But if I were to do this again, I would spend extensive time with her and get everything from her perspective. It’s important that marginalized people are given a chance to express agency and speak on their own behalf. And that element was lacking in my piece.

There were also just the regular struggles to piece together things that had happened ten or twenty years before — names, places, dates, government agencies, all that.

“[Genna Buck] exhibits patience and grit in this magnificent profile. ‘Finding a Place’ has everything a good magazine piece needs: a gripping story, strong research and poignant writing that is balanced and sensitive.”
National Magazine Awards jury

NMAF: Your piece ends on an ambiguous note — with Savannah still in a psychiatric hospital. What was the impact (if any) of bringing Savannah’s story to the public’s attention? More generally, what do you hope to accomplish with your investigative reporting?

Genna Buck: Well, someone offered to mail a copy of the magazine to the relevant government minister in New Brunswick, so I know that the story got at least a few people fired up over the serious lack of housing and support for people with high needs in that province and across the country.

But to my knowledge — as of a couple of months ago — Savannah’s still in hospital to this day. She’s not sick. And she’s isolated from her family and friends and people who love her. So not a whole lot has changed.

Most of the momentum around this issue in New Brunswick seems to be about making what are essentially institutional environments, hospitals and group homes, nicer and bigger and better-equipped. There’s a real belief, and a stated goal, of supporting people to have a meaningful life in the community. But making that happen for someone like Savannah requires a huge investment of money and expertise.

What do I want to achieve? Well I don’t necessarily want to change the world, that’s not my role and it’s not in my power. My goal is always to get readers to imagine themselves in another person’s situation, to see their lives in a new and complex and visceral way.

Once you help cultivate genuine, sincere empathy, change flows from that. At least you hope so.

Genna Buck accepts the award for Best New Magazine Writer at the 2015 National Magazine Awards gala.
Genna Buck accepts the award for Best New Magazine Writer at the 2015 National Magazine Awards gala.

 

NMAF: Professionally and personally, what the impact of winning a National Magazine Award? How do you see your career as a magazine writer continuing to develop?

Genna Buck: Professionally, it has opened so many doors. I think it has put me on the path to being able to support myself as a freelancer, if that’s something I eventually choose to pursue (I might, one day; it’s TBD).

It has also opened editors’ ears and made them more willing to take a chance on a pitch from me that is a bit out-there or weird. I have a forthcoming piece in Flare about thrift shopping, and I’m working on a long form project that incorporates elements of Canadian history, women’s history and the story of how my own great-great-grandmother came to Canada.

Personally, it’s a big motivator. I think everyone in this business has moments where they’re just like, “WHAT WAS I THINKING? I CAN’T DO THIS. THIS WAS A BAD IDEA!” And I’m able to tell myself, “You can do this. Look, you have done it!”

I’m an editor full-time now, and I’m currently working as part of a team to make another MJ grad’s thesis into an investigative series. So what goes around comes around!

National Magazine Award winners Genna Buck and Richard Greene at Winners' Circle, a special networking event for NMA nominees and winners, on Nov 25
National Magazine Award winners Genna Buck and Richard Greene at Winners’ Circle, a special networking event for NMA nominees and winners, on Nov 25

NMAF: What advice would you give to emerging magazine writers?

Genna Buck: I know this is lame, but seriously, be manic about organization. Keep all your notes in one place. Scan and upload your documents. Label all your audio and store it in one place. Don’t shove a bunch of super important loose pieces of paper into a bunch of different folders and binders and notebooks and what-have-you. I learned that the hard way. Evernote is your friend!


Genna Buck is a National Magazine Award-winning journalist, the recipient of 2015 NMA award for Best New Magazine Writer, and a section editor for Views at Metro News Canada. She earned her Masters of Journalism at Carlton University, in 2013. Her work has appeared in Maclean’s Magazine, The Globe and Mail, Maisonneuve Magazine, and other publications. Genna’s Twitter handle is @genna_buck.

Very special thanks to Leah Edwards for researching and conducting this interview with Genna Buck. 

The 2016 National Magazine Award for Best New Magazine Writer is open to any emerging Canadian journalist or creative non-fiction writer whose first feature-length magazine story (1000+ words) was published in a Canadian magazine (including university/college magazines) during 2015. Submissions must be accompanied by a letter of reference from a teacher, mentor, editor or colleague. The submission fee is $25. Three finalists will be named and the winner receives a cash prize of $500. The deadline for entries is January 15, 2016. Enter at magazine-awards.com.

Related “Off the Page” interviews
Catherine McIntyre, winner of the 2014 award for Best New Magazine Writer
Sierra Skye Gemma
, winner of the 2013 award for Best New Magazine Writer
Jeremy Klaszus, winner of the 2008 award for Best New Magazine Writer
Carol Shaben, 2-time NMA winner & 2009 finalist, Best New Magazine Writer
Suzannah Showler, 2013 finalist for Best New Magazine Writer
Liz Windhorst Harmer, NMA winner & 2013 finalist, Best New Magazine Writer

Important dates for the 2016 National Magazine Awards

At the National Magazine Awards Foundation we are getting very excited about the upcoming year, our 39th recognizing and rewarding the very best in Canadian magazines. We’ll be announcing our call for entries on December 8. Here are the important dates for the coming year:

Dec 8: Call for Entries, National Magazine Awards
Jan 11: Small Magazine Rebate Deadline
Jan 11: Early-Bird Submissions Deadline, National Magazine Awards
Jan 15: Final Submissions Deadline, National Magazine Awards
Feb 16: Final Submissions Deadline, Digital Publishing Awards
May 2: Nominations Announcement
Jun 10: 39th National Magazine Awards Gala
TBA: 1st annual Digital Publishing Awards event
.
As always, there are many ways to keep current with news and updates from the National Magazine Awards: sign up for our e-newsletter; follow us on Twitter @MagAwards and Facebook; and come back and visit this blog often.
Follow the Digital Publishing Awards at @DPAwards.
.
Starting next week, you can submit your entries to the National Magazine Awards at magazine-awards.com.
 .