A Short History of the National Magazine Awards

For 40 years the National Magazine Awards have honoured Canada’s most outstanding and memorable writers, artists, stories, and publications. It all began in 1976, when Andrew MacFarlane, dean of journalism at the University of Western Ontario, established a working group towards the creation of a National Magazine Awards. He was joined by John S. Crosbie, president of the Magazine Association of Canada; Michael de Pencier, publisher of Toronto Life; Roger de la Garde, dean of journalism at Université Laval; Alan Edmunds, head of the Periodical Writers Association of Canada (PWAC), and others. The rest is history.

As we get ready to celebrate the 40th anniversary National Magazine Awards on Friday May 26 [Tickets] [Nominees], here’s a quick look at some of our most enduring memories…

 

1977

Michael de Pencier in the 1970s. Photo credit: Harold Barkley / Getty Images via Toronto Life

The National Magazine Awards Foundation (NMAF) receives its charter of non-profit foundation status from the Province of Ontario. Michael de Pencier, then the publisher of Toronto Life, is named the first president of the board of the directors. The NMAF establishes 14 categories, and more than 60 magazines submit 1377 entries. The submission fee is $10 per entry.

  • Among the 62 judges of the first National Magazine Awards were Joan Fraser (later a senator), author and essayist George Woodcock, and Adrienne Clarkson, then a CBC journalist, later the Governor General.

 

1978

Pierre Berton. Photo credit: CBC Archives

Pierre Berton hosts the first National Magazine Awards gala at the Hotel Toronto. Berton proclaims to the audience, “In a bold departure from tradition, there are to be no thank you speeches. We can do that because we are giving money, not some cheap statuette.” Harrowsmith (English) and L’actualité (French) win Magazine of the Year. Roy MacGregor (English) and Louise Coté (French) win the President’s Medals for the best overall article.

  • Image courtesy Town of Huntsville; photo illustration by Vessy Stroumsky

    The University of Western Ontario donated the original President’s Medals. From 1978 until 2001, the NMAF bestowed the President’s Medal upon the top overall magazine story of the year. Roy MacGregor’s original President’s Medal now resides in the Canada Summit Centre Sports Memorabilia Collection in the Town of Huntsville, Ontario.

Magazine types really know how to party.
Toronto Sun headline, following the first NMA gala

 

1979

Weekend Magazine, under the art direction of Robert Priest, wins the National Magazine Award for Best Cover, depicting a bloody image of the controversial baby seal hunt. Weekend Magazine, founded in 1951, wins 5 NMAs in 1979 before folding later that year.

 

1980

B.C. journalist Silver Donald Cameron wins the gold medal for Culture Writing, for a literary essay on author Farley Mowat published in Atlantic Insight.

 

1981

Photojournalist Nigel Dickson wins the first of his six NMA gold medals for a photo essay of the drought in the Canadian Prairies—one of the worst on record—published in Maclean’s.

 

1982

Jean Paré. Photo: Ordre national du Québec

At the fifth anniversary NMAs gala, legendary Quebec journalist Jean Paré wins the gold medal in Comment (later Columns) for L’actualité. From 1977 to 2009, Paré was nominated for 22 National Magazine Awards, winning 11. In 1996 he was the recipient of the Foundation Award for Outstanding Achievement.

  • Jean Paré founded the weekly news magazine L’actualité in 1976 after three years as deputy editor of Maclean’s.

 

1983

Margaret Atwood wins the silver medal in Travel Writing, for “The Five Faces of Mexico,” published in Quest magazine. Quest, then under the editorship of the famously bespectacled and bow-tied Michael Enright, would fold a year later after winning 14 National Magazine Awards since 1978.

  • Margaret Atwood has won 3 National Magazine Awards (in Poetry, Travel Writing, and Environmental Journalism). She’s been nominated 3 times in Fiction but never won.

 

1984

Sylvia Barrett Wright wins her first of two gold medals in the category Science, Technology & the Environment for Equinox magazine (the other came in 1988). She becomes the first woman to win gold in this category. From 1984-2016 only eight women won the gold medal in Science, Technology & the Environment, including Noémi Mercier (also twice) and Margaret Atwood.

  • Vancouver Magazine, under veteran editor Mac Parry, won Magazine of the Year at the 1985 NMA gala. Originally known as Dick McLean’s Greater Vancouver Greeter Guide, VanMag was also briefly known as Vancouver’s Leisure Magazine before the current, simple title took hold in 1973.

 

1985

P.K. Page. Photo: Wikicommons

The poet Patricia Kathleen “P.K.” Page wins the National Magazine Award for poetry, for a suite of poems published in The Malahat Review. From 1944 under her death in 2010 at the age of 93, Page published more than three dozen books of poetry, prose, and children’s literature.

  • Since 1978 The Malahat Review has won 28 National Magazine Awards for fiction, poetry, and non-fiction.

 

1986

Saturday Night art director Louis Fishauf wins both the gold and silver medals in Art Direction of a Single Article. Since 1979 Fishauf has been nominated for over 30 National Magazine Awards for his work in Saturday Night, The City, City Woman, Executive Magazine, T.O. Magazine, and Toronto Life.

My dream, when I was a young writer starting out, was to one day write for Saturday Night magazine. I pitched them ideas, to no avail, until one day in 2005 an editor emailed me out of the blue. I squeaked into one of their very last issues, and I still miss what Saturday Night stood for: a space of serious (but not too serious) intellectual engagement and storytelling as good as any in the world.
– Deborah Campbell, author and 3-time National Magazine Award winner

 

1987

At the tenth anniversary National Magazine Awards, graphic artist Simon Ng wins both gold and silver in Best Illustration, for work in Canadian Business and Toronto magazine. Blair Dawson and Gracia Lam are the only other illustrators to accomplish that double.

  • CBC “Morningside” host Peter Gzowski emceed the NMA gala for the second time (he also hosted in 1979 and for a final time in 1991) at the 10th anniversary gala in 1987, where Report on Business won Magazine of the Year.

 

1988

Elaine Dewar’s “The Mysterious Reichmanns: The Untold Story” (Toronto Life) wins the President’s Medal for best article (it also wins the gold medal for Investigative Journalism and Illustration). The Reichmann family, known for their real estate empire, had sued Dewar and Toronto Life for libel, for $102 million.

  • According to a contemporary story in the Ryerson Review of Journalism, in a show of journalistic support at that year’s NMA gala, “virtually everyone in the Grand Ballroom at Toronto’s Sheraton Centre stood up and cheered when [Dewar’s] victories were announced.”

 

1989

Photo courtesy James Ireland

James Ireland wins the National Magazine Award for Art Direction of a Single Magazine Article, for Canadian Art. Over a 40-year career designing magazines like Report on BusinessToronto LifeCanadian BusinessMaclean’sCanadian Art, U of T Magazine, Chatelaine, and many more, Ireland was one of the most celebrated and admired art directors in Canada. In 1997 the NMAF presented him with its Outstanding Achievement Award.

The art staff at The Canadian magazine were known for taking long liquid lunches each Friday. Every now and then the publisher of the magazine would wander through the art department around 2pm to make sure we were all back at our desks. One Friday morning, one of the artists, Harry Shepherd, took some foam board and magic markers, and cut out full-sized, silhouette likenesses of each designer. He slumped them over their drawing boards with scalpels in hand so they looked hard at work. The strong backlight from the windows made them look very convincing—it was spectacular! We all had to work late that night.
– James Ireland

 

1990

The Idler wins its first National Magazine Award (for Best Cover). Writing in The Globe and Mail in 2007, novelist and NMA winner Russell Smith remarked of The Idler: It was “a bit like The Walrus, but more eccentric and unpredictable, and with less reporting and more reflection. It was an elegant, brilliant and often irritating thing, proudly pretentious and nostalgic, written by philosophers, curmudgeons, pedants, intellectual dandies.”

One night, long ago, when I was still an undergraduate student at U of T, I found myself at The Idler pub. Upstairs, I knew, were the offices of the magazine by the same name. That night, a bunch of journos and thinkers of various stripes sat around a long table, arguing and drinking the night away. When I fantasize about magazine journalism, my thoughts often drift back to that: a great watering hole, the exchange of ideas, and writers retreating upstairs to put some of those ideas into words.
Alison Motluk, 5-time National Magazine Award winner

  • The Idler won Magazine of the Year in 1992 and then folded a year later.

 

1991

West Magazine wins Magazine of the Year at the National Magazine Awards, hosted for the third and final time by Pierre Berton. The magazine then folds later that year.

  • Magazines come and magazines go. Other magazines that folded the year they won a National Magazine Award: The Canadian (1979); Weekend Magazine (1979); Quest (1984); City Woman (1985); T.O. Magazine (1989); Vista (1990); Domino (1991); The Idler (1993); City & Country Home (1994); Destinations (1994); Shift (2003) Elm Street (2004); Saturday Night (2005); Toro (2007); unlimited (2008); More (2012); The Grid (2014).

 

1992

At the 15th anniversary NMA gala, Andrew Cohen of Saturday Night wins 3 medals, including the President’s Medal, for his profile of the former Prime Minister called “That Bastard Trudeau.”

  • Singer-songwriter Nancy White, of CBC fame, hosted the 15th anniversary National Magazine Awards gala at the Sheraton Centre in Toronto.

 

1993

Paul Quarrington. Image credit: Wikicommons

Paul Quarrington wins his first of two consecutive NMA gold medals in Humour, for Harrowsmith magazine (he would later win a third humour award for Outdoor Canada). The beloved novelist, playwright, musician, and magazine writer passed away in 2010, shortly after writing his final memoir, Cigar Box Banjo: Notes on Music and Life.

  • At the 1993 NMAs Yann Martel, later the author of The Life of Pi, won the gold medal in Fiction for a story in The Malahat Review.

 

1994

The One-of-a-Kind category makes its NMA debut, celebrating magazine writing whose style or content is so unique it just can’t be classified into any other category. Zoe Landale, writing in Saturday Night, wins the first gold medal.

  • Toronto Life won 5 straight gold medals in One-of-a-Kind from 2001-2006, but The Walrus has won the last 4 heading into 2017. Check out this year’s nominees.

 

1995

Catherine Keachie, the long-time president of the Canadian Magazine Publishers’ Association, is presented with the Foundation Award for Outstanding Achievement. Keachie was also an instructor of journalism at Ryerson University and today the program offers an annual scholarship in her memory.

In order for us to make the case for how Canadian magazines mattered, Catherine knew that it was essential for the industry to work together. The major publishers needed the cultural legitimacy of the small and literary publishers. The smalls and literaries needed the financial and political heft of the bigs… Catherine’s words have guided me throughout my career, and her passion for the possibility of what the many talented people in this industry can accomplish together continues to inspire me.
Kim Pittaway, on Catherine Keachie’s inspiration to her career, from Kim’s acceptance speech at the 2016 NMAs

 

1996

For the only time in its history, the NMAs present an award for best Display Writing, at a gala hosted for the first time by Ian Brown. Vancouver Magazine wins the award, but the category is discontinued the following year.

  • In 2008 Julia Belluz won the NMA Best Student Writer Award for her profile of Ian Brown in the Ryerson Review of Journalism.

 

1997

Photo Edward Burtynsky 

Edward Burtynsky wins the gold medal in Photojournalism for his famous “Tailings” series—highlighting the environmentally degrading waste produced by heavy industry—published in Canadian Art.

 

1998

Hosting the NMA gala for the second consecutive year, Massey College master John Fraser presents the Outstanding Achievement Award to former Saturday Night editor Robert Fulford.

  • Since 1978, Fulford has won more NMA gold medals (15) than any other writer or artist. But fashion photographer Chris Nicholls is the winningest creator in NMA history, with 20 total medals (10 gold; 10 silver).

 

1999

Jane O’Hara’s investigative report “Rape in the Military” (Maclean’s) wins two National Magazine Awards, including the President’s Medal. It remains one of the most significant and studied feature stories in the history of Canadian magazines.

It [“Rape in the Military”] was such a groundbreaking and heartbreaking story—20 years later, it haunts me still. The raw honesty of the women who shared their stories, and the abusive betrayal of those who destroyed their lives and careers. You can feel the mastery of the interviewer in how she was able to get these victims to open up to her and feel her sensitivity in how she told the story.
– Dawn Chafe, editor-in-chief, Atlantic Business Magazine

 

2000

The upstart Shift magazine wins 9 National Magazine Awards, including a sweep for art directors Carmen Dunjko and Malcolm Brown in the categories Art Direction and Best Cover. From 1994 until it folded in 2003, Shift won 27 NMAs and became a notorious rival to Saturday Night. After the magazine won its huge haul of awards, much to the chagrin of its critics, editor Laas Turnbull told The Globe and Mail: “I have found that people’s reaction to Shift often says a great deal more about them than it does about the magazine. It’s so unusual to launch something new in this country and then to actually survive.”

Shift on Beck… never forget it.
– Malcolm Brown, 15-time National Magazine Award-winning art director

 

2001

The National Magazine Awards expands to 37 categories, up from 14 at the 1978 awards. George Whiteside wins the first gold medal in the category Food Photography, for President’s Choice magazine. (The category is discontinued in 2003.)

  • Other discontinued categories in the history of the NMAs include Conceptual Photography, Food Writing, Leisure Pursuits, Community Feature, Studio Photography, Best Repurposed or Adapted Content, and Best New Magazine.

 

2002

George Elliott Clarke. Photo credit: Carmelita Linta / CBC

George Elliott Clarke wins the gold medal in Poetry, for a suite of six poems in Prairie Fire.

  • Prairie Fire has won 15 National Magazine Awards since 1996, most recently a silver medal in 2016 for Poetry (Harold Hoefle).

 

2003

Don Obe. Photo by John Reeves

For the 25th NMA gala, Don Obe edits a special anniversary magazine featuring the top stories, issues, photography, and design from each year since the first National Magazine Awards. A beloved Ryerson University instructor and former editor at Maclean’s, The Canadian, and Toronto Life, Obe received the Foundation Award for Outstanding Achievement in 1994. He passed away in 2014.

  • At the 25th anniversary NMA gala, hosted by Second City comedienne Judy Croon, Adbusters won for Best Art Direction of a Single Article, The New Quarterly swept the gold medals in Fiction and Poetry, Elm Street won for Portrait Photography, and Outpost won Magazine of the Year.

 

2004

Marci McDonald’s investigation into Paul Martin’s controversial private business dealings, published in the inaugural issue of The Walrus, wins that magazine its first (of many) National Magazine Awards.

  • Marci McDonald won the gold medal in Business at the very first NMAs in 1978, and has won 11 in total since then. In 2017 she served on the NMA jury in the category Long-Form Feature Writing.

 

2005

Gerald Hannon is a double gold medallist for his story “The Eyes of Edward Burtynsky” (Toronto Life) in the categories Profiles and Arts & Entertainment.

Lynn Cunningham, my editor at Toronto Life, assigned me a major feature on the AIDS crisis in 1988 when I had no magazine experience and when I was mostly known for having been on trial for publishing immoral, indecent, or scurrilous matter. She took a chance on me, and thanks to her support and encouragement my writing career took off.
– Gerald Hannon, 13-time National Magazine Award-winning writer

 

2006

The June 1969 cover of Saturday Night

Saturday Night, after folding (for the second and final time) in November the previous year, wins 7 National Magazine Awards, bringing its legendary haul to 231 NMAs since 1978. The same night, The Walrus breaks Saturday Night’s record by winning 13 gold medals (and 16 overall).

  • In 2015, Toronto Life finally passed Saturday Night for most NMAs in history, when writer Lauren McKeon won the gold medal in Personal Journalism for “Save Me From My Workout.” Toronto Life now has 244 NMAs heading into the 2017 awards.

 

2007

Program cover of the 30th anniversary National Magazine Awards gala. Illustration by Dan Page. Art direction by Levi Nicholson.

At the 30th anniversary National Magazine Awards gala at the Carlu in Toronto, Scott Feschuk hosts, David Gilmour‘s “My Life with Tolstoy” is a double gold medal winner, and The Walrus wins Magazine of the Year. Jeremy Klaszus is presented with the award for Best New Magazine Writer (formerly known as the Alexander Ross Award) for his investigation into unsavoury practices in Alberta’s oil industry, published in Alberta Views.

 

2008

Maisonneuve’s “Food Issue,” featuring a cover photo of miniature explorers attempting a dangerous crossing of the surface of a crème brûlée, wins the gold medal for Best Magazine Cover (art direction by Anna Minzhulina).

  • Recently the NMAF’s Richard A. Johnson interviewed Anna Minzhulina about her ten-year tenure at Maisonneuve, her creative process as an art director, and the importance of supporting emerging women magazine artists.

 

2009

Chris Turner wins the gold medal in Essays for “The Big Decision” (Alberta Views), arguing in favour of nuclear energy at a time when the province’s Oil Sands are booming.

  • Moose Jaw native Chris Turner, a 9-time NMA winner, hosted the 2016 National Magazine Awards gala, featuring a cameo from Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi.

 

2010

Up Here magazine, published in Yellowknife, wins Magazine of the Year, becoming the first magazine from Canada’s North to win the grand prize.

  • At the 2010 National Magazine Awards gala, Terry Sellwood of Cottage Life Media received the Foundation Award for Outstanding Achievement. At the 2017 gala, Penny Caldwell will become the third member of the Cottage Life family to win the award, after Terry and founder Al Zikovitz (2002).

 

2011

Image: CBC

Sean Michaels wins the One-of-a-Kind gold medal for an account of his exploration of the catacombs of Paris, published in Brick. Michaels would later go on to win the Giller Prize for his novel, Us Conductors.

  • Other NMA winners for Brick literary magazine include Michael Ondaatje (1981), Alex Pugsley (2005), Patrick deWitt (2013), and Linda Spalding (2014), all in the Fiction category.

 

2012

The Grid, a weekly Toronto city magazine that launched the previous May, wins six National Magazine Awards, including three gold medals for art director Vanessa Wyse. The Grid’s boisterous cheering section remains one of the most enduring memories of its first NMA gala.

  • In 2013 The Grid won 7 National Magazine Awards, edging The Walrus (6). It’s the only time since 2004 that winningest magazine at the NMAs was not Toronto Life or The Walrus.

 

2013

For the first time, the NMAs honour outstanding achievement by tablet editions. Canadian House & Home wins the first award for Tablet Magazine of the Year.

  • In subsequent years, Today’s Parent and Sportsnet won the National Magazine Award for Tablet Magazine of the Year. The award was discontinued in 2016 as the NMAF launched the Digital Publishing Awards to recognize achievement in Canadian digital publishing. The 2017 Digital Publishing Awards are coming up on June 1.

 

2014

Edmonton newcomer Eighteen Bridges magazine wins four National Magazine Awards among 11 nominations, including two gold medals for editor and feature writer Curtis Gillespie.

  • In 2016 Eighteen Bridges also won four NMAs, including the gold medal in Investigative Reporting. Recently the NMAF’s Richard A. Johnson interviewed journalist Virgil Grandfield about his incredible 10-year investigation of human trafficking and murder related to Red Cross reconstruction projects in Indonesia.

Also, remember this:

 

2015

Crimes sexuels dans l’armée,” an extensive investigative report by journalists Noémi Mercier and Alec Castonguay about sexual assault in the Canadian military, published in L’actualité, wins two gold medals (Investigative Reporting and Politics & Public Interest).

  • Lainey Lui and Jessica Allen from CTV’s “The Social” co-hosted the 38th NMA gala in 2015, featuring a cameo by 4-time host Scott Feschuk.

 

2016

Desmond Cole accepts the award for Best New Magazine Writer to a standing ovation at the 2016 National Magazine Awards in Toronto (Photo: Steven Goetz / National Magazine Awards Foundation)

Desmond Cole is nominated for four National Magazine Awards for his exposé of Toronto police discrimination against the city’s Black community, “The Skin I’m In” (Toronto Life). Cole wins the gold medal for Best New Magazine Writer and two silver medals (Essays and Personal Journalism), and receives a standing ovation on stage at the gala.


Take a deeper dive into the history of the National Magazine Award by perusing the NMA archive.

The 40th anniversary National Magazine Awards will be held on Friday, May 26, at the Arcadian Court in Toronto. Tickets are on sale now. Check out all the nominees.

Not able to make it to the gala? Follow our exciting live tweet @MagAwards to catch all the live action.

Special Rate: Tickets to the 40th Anniversary National Magazine Awards

The nominees have been announced and Canada’s top writers, photographers, illustrators, editors, art directors, and more will gather at the 40th anniversary National Magazine Awards on Friday May 26 in Toronto.

Nominated Freelancers: Freelancers who are nominated for a National Magazine Award may purchase up to two tickets at the special Nominated Freelancer Rate of $35, thanks to our generous table patrons. This is a limited offer, based on availability. Get your tickets today.
(Read about eligibility for this special offer.)

Early Bird Tickets: Tickets including the reception, dinner, show and dessert are $135 for all other guests until the Early Bird deadline of May 5. After that, tickets are $150.

Show Only: A limited number of Show-Only tickets are available for $75. Show-Only tickets do not include dinner.

Tickets are on sale now at magazine-awards.com/tickets.

Special thanks to our table patrons, who are generously supporting Canada’s magazine creators:

This year, 197 Canadian magazines from coast to coast to coast—English and French, print and digital—entered the best of their editorial and design work to the National Magazine Awards, submitting the work of more than 2000 writers, editors, photographers, illustrators, art directors and other creators.

The NMAF’s 112 volunteer judges have nominated a total of 202 submissions from 75 different Canadian magazines for awards in 25 written, visual, integrated and special categories.

Gold, Silver and Honourable Mention awards will be announced at the Arcadian Court in Toronto on May 26, at the 40th anniversary National Magazine Awards gala. Gold Awards in most categories include a cash prize of $1000.

To view all nominees, visit the 40th Anniversary NMA Website or download the PDF.

Kenny Yum to receive Digital Publishing Leadership Award

DPA Twitter Card (2).png

The NMAF is thrilled to announce that Kenny Yum of Huffington Post Canada will be the first-ever recipient of the Digital Publishing Leadership Award, an award honouring an individual whose career contributions to Canadian digital publishing deserve recognition and celebration.

This award is the top individual honour in the Digital Publishing Awards, and will be presented to Kenny at the DPA awards soirée on June 1, along with all the other winners of the 2017 Digital Publishing Awards.

Kenny Yum

Leadership in Canadian digital publishing is a complex algorithm. It’s a function of creativity, innovation, and perseverance. It combines a rigorous commitment to the core principles of journalism with the ability to anticipate and respond to rapidly changing technological and cultural environments. It minimizes fiscal constraints while maximizing audience engagement. And most of all, it creates a diverse and dynamic space to experiment, fail, adapt, persist, and succeed—and to inspire great achievement in others. Perhaps no individual embodies this powerful formula more than Kenny Yum, managing editor of AOL Canada and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post Canada. In 2017, the National Media Awards Foundation is honoured to present him with the inaugural Digital Publishing Leadership Award.

After graduating from Ryerson University, where he was editor-in-chief of the student newspaper, Kenny became an editor at the Toronto Star and later The Globe and Mail, where he helped launch theglobeandmail.com in 2000. In 2007 he joined the National Post as managing editor of digital news, continuing to inspire his colleagues to innovate and grasp the unfolding potential of digital journalism. “Kenny drove the digital agenda at national newspapers long before digital was accepted as a priority, let alone the very future of journalism,” says Brodie Fenlon, CBC’s senior director of digital news. “His influence on website design can still be seen today on a number of sites.”

In 2011, Kenny was hired to launch The Huffington Post Canada, the first international bureau of the digital news startup. “We knew that in order to succeed in Canada,” says Nicholas Sabloff, executive editor of international for The Huffington Post, “we needed an editor-in-chief who was not only an accomplished leader and serious journalist, but also someone who would keep the site at the forefront of digital innovation and instill a spirit of experimentation and creativity as part of his team’s DNA.” Kenny Yum, he adds, was top of the list.

Indeed, innovation and experimentation are hallmarks of HuffPost’s success. In Kenny’s newsroom, notes Andree Lau, managing editor of news at Huffington Post Canada, “journalists are encouraged to be overly ambitious, granted permission to fail, and praised with genuine admiration when they succeed.” And no matter the initial outcome, say his colleagues, Kenny is quick to remind everyone he works with that success is a product of bold creativity. “From day one,” says Rashida Jeeva, Huffington Post Canada’s general manager, “Kenny set the tone for professionalism and quality that continues to shine through.”

The results are as evident as they are remarkable. Huff Post Canada operates in French and English with more than 5 million unique visitors a month, and a total of 9 million monthly including their global properties. “These are challenging times for media organizations,” notes Huffington Post’s managing editor of video, Sasha Nagy. “And it is incumbent on all of us to innovate daily in order to connect with a changing readership. It takes editors who are one part web developer and one part wordsmith. This is Kenny Yum.”

Those who’ve worked with Kenny at HuffPost emphasize his commitment to forging a cohesive team that maximizes skills and connections. Mere days before the site’s launch, in May 2011, Kenny literally tore down the walls in the HuffPost newsroom.

“He took one look at the grey cubicle walls and started dismantling them,” says Lisa Yeung, managing editor of lifestyle, thus “breaking down the barriers between editors so they could see and talk to each other more easily.”

That simple act helped set the tone for a workplace that is known to be a paragon of inclusiveness.

Diversity is another key strength of the digital teams that Kenny has helped build and lead. “At HuffPo Kenny has built one of the country’s youngest, most culturally diverse, and energetic newsrooms,” says Andree Lau. The result, adds Brodie Fenlon, “has been rich, unique editorial content that reflects the modern cultural mosaic of Canada in a way that few newsrooms can match.”

Leveraging that diversity and teamwork, say those who’ve worked with Kenny, would not be possible without his commitment to professionalism. “Our editors are diverse in their cultural and geographic backgrounds,” says Lisa Yeung, “but the enduring qualities that bind us together are rooted in Kenny’s ethos—respect, kindness, integrity, curiosity, and innovation.”

With Kenny Yum as leader, innovation never sleeps. In the past year, with the advent of distributed publishing, Kenny has aligned the HuffPost newsroom around the need to flourish under this new model. The results have been staggering, notes Sasha Nagy. “In a year, our Facebook pages spiked from half a million to 1.2 million followers. Video views have grown from 15 million per month to over 60 million.”

“One of Kenny’s great traits,” says Rashida Jeeva, “is his willingness to share his knowledge—much of it self-taught—with others. It’s not uncommon to find him leading training sessions with teams within, and outside of, Canada.”

In addition to fostering professional development at AOL Canada, Kenny has taught online journalism at Ryerson University and serves on the school’s advisory board. And he often volunteers his time to advise colleagues and industry associations on the possibilities of digital publishing in the future.

Through all of these achievements and accolades, Kenny’s personality is what strikes his colleagues as most deserving of recognition. “He is a quiet, confident leader,” says Brodie Fenlon, “who makes things happen behind the scenes, drives his teams to excellence, and never seeks public acknowledgement or recognition.” His list of accomplishments, adds Andree Lau, “does not fully convey the kind of integrity, excellence, and loyalty that he both exudes and inspires.” Perhaps, then, true leadership in digital publishing is more than just an algorithm of inputs. It’s also a function of character. And for that, the NMAF is proud to award the 2017 Digital Publishing Leadership Award to Kenny Yum.

The Digital Publishing Leadership Award will be presented at the 2017 DPA Soiree on June 1 in Toronto. Tickets will be available to purchase on Tuesday April 25 www.digitalpublishingawards.ca.

We asked Huffington Post Canada’s team to name the particularly remarkable achievements during Kenny’s tenure. Here are just a few:

“In the fraught month we had to put it together. Kenny challenged us editorially, technically, and creatively,” says Andree Lau, HuffPost’s managing editor of news. “He pushed us to ask deeper questions, pushed for the Town Hall to be live-streamed on both HuffPost’s pages and Facebook Live, and assigned video clips to be distributed around the world. He rolled up his sleeves where necessary, and stepped back when he knew the team could figure it out themselves. The result was a polish, thought-provoking, and highly produced event.”

In this ongoing series exploring the experiences of children of immigrants through personal essays, features and video, notes Andree Lau, Kenny has shown that he is a “champion of diversity and visibility in Canada, and an enthusiastic supporter of developing the next generation of leaders in digital journalism.”

HuffPost spearheaded a week of special coverage on sexual assault in November 2014 in the immediate wake of the Jian Ghomeshi allegations. Further, under Kenny’s leadership HuffPost devoted ongoing coverage of violence against women, including extensive coverage of the Rehtaeh Parsons and Amanda Todd cases.

This video documentary series followed four Canadian soldiers and the complex changes they face after serving their country, and was nominated for a 2016 Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ) Award

This investigation into Canada’s growing income divide, shepherded under Kenny’s leadership, won a Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ) Award in 2011.

A 2012 news series that offered a glimpse into the lives of Millennials and the issues they face as a generation.

A video series highlighting the careers of notable Canadian women.


The Digital Publishing Leadership Award will be presented to Kenny Yum at the 2nd annual Digital Publishing Awards Soirée on Thursday June 1 at The Spoke Club in Toronto. Tickets are $50 and will go on sale tomorrow, Tuesday April 25. They can be purchased at digitalpublishingawards.ca.

ABOUT THE DIGITAL PUBLISHING AWARDS
Produced by the National Media Awards Foundation, the Digital Publishing Awards promote and reward the achievements of those who create digital publishing content in Canada—the writers and editors, designers and developers, video and podcast producers, photographers and illustrators, and many others. The DPA program recognizes, celebrates and promotes to a national audience the innovative publishing teams that produce digital content in Canadian media.

For further information about the Digital Publishing Awards, please contact Leah Jensen, Production Coordinator at 416.939.6200 or info@digitalpublishingawards.ca.

Announcing the nominees for the 40th anniversary National Magazine Awards

The NMAF is excited to announce the nominees for the 40th anniversary National Magazine Awards, including five finalists for the prestigious Magazine of the Year Award.

Nominations Website
Nominations List (PDF)
Gala Info & Tickets
Version française

This year, 197 Canadian magazines from coast to coast to coast—English and French, print and digital—entered the best of their editorial and design work to the National Magazine Awards, submitting the work of more than 2000 writers, editors, photographers, illustrators, art directors and other creators.

The NMAF’s 112 volunteer judges have nominated a total of 202 submissions from 75 different Canadian magazines for awards in 25 written, visual, integrated and special categories.

“We’re thrilled to announce the nominees for the 40th anniversary National Magazine Awards. More than 200 Canadian creators—writers, photographers, illustrators, designers, poets, and more—are up for awards in 25 categories. My thanks to our judges who have done a rigorous job over the past few months evaluating the best work in the country. It’s been a significant year for Canadian storytelling, as the impressive caliber of the nominees attests. We’re looking forward to celebrating the best of Canada’s creative talent together at the Gala on May 26.”
Nino Di Cara, President, NMAF

Gold, Silver and Honourable Mention awards will be announced at the Arcadian Court in Toronto on May 26, at the 40th anniversary National Magazine Awards gala. Gold Awards in Writing and Visual categories include a cash prize of $1000.

Tickets are on sale now. A limited number of tickets for nominated freelancers will be available at the discount rate of $35, thanks to the support of our Table Patrons.

TOP NOMINATED CREATORS

  • Edmonton freelance writer Omar Mouallem leads all creators with 4 nominations for 4 different stories published in 4 magazines (Avenue, Hazlitt, Sharp, University Affairs).
  • Writer Richard Kelly Kemick is nominated 3 times—twice in Fiction and once in One of Kind, which he won last year—for stories in 3 magazines (Geist, Maisonneuve, The New Quarterly).
  • Quebec writer Catherine Perreault-Lessard is also nominated 3 times for 3 stories published in Châtelaine, L’actualité and Ricardo.
  • Maclean’s writer Nancy Macdonald is also nominated 3 times for 2 different stories.
  • The Walrus writer/editor Katherine Laidlaw is nominated twice as a writer, and she is also the handling editor on 6 other Walrus stories nominated for National Magazine Awards.
  • Other writers nominated twice include Bruce Livesey (Report on Business), Jason McBride (Canadian Art, Toronto Life), Mark Pupo (Toronto Life), and Naël Shiab (L’actualité).
  • Illustrators Byron Eggenschwiler (Vancouver Magazine) and Gérard DuBois (L’actualité) are each nominated twice.
  • Photographers Peter Ash Lee (Corduroy), Chris Nicholls (FASHION Magazine) and Virginia Macdonald (Air Canada enRoute) are each nominated twice.

Check out all the nominees on our special anniversary website or download the PDF.

MAGAZINE OF THE YEAR

The five finalists for Magazine of the Year—given to the magazine that most consistently engages, surprises, and serves the needs of its readers—are:

  • Cottage Life, published by Blue Ant Media
  • Explore, published by My Passion Media
  • Nouveau Projet, published by Atelier 10
  • Ricardo, published by Ricardo Media
  • The Kit Compact, published by Star Media Group

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BEST NEW MAGAZINE WRITER

The five finalists for Best New Magazine Writer—given to the individual whose early work in magazines shows the highest degree of craft and promise—are:

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TOP STORIES OF 2016

The 40th anniversary National Magazine Awards honour the best in Canadian magazine journalism from 2016. Some of the most frequent topics that our judges saw among this year’s entries include:

Among this year’s nominees, some of the top stories include:

  • Justice Is Not Blind” (Maclean’s)—a nine-month investigation by Nancy Macdonald and the Maclean’s team looking at the ways in which Canada’s justice system is biased against Indigenous people. Nominated in Longform Feature Writing and Investigative Reporting.
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  • Company Province, Provincial Company” (Report on Business)—journalist Bruce Livesey’s investigative profile of the Irving family and the politics of New Brunswick’s energy sector. Nominated in Longform Feature Writing and Investigative Reporting.
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  • The Fighter” (United Church Observer)—a stirring portrait of Willie Blackwater, a B.C. Indigenous man who survived a residential school and then led the fight for justice, written by journalist Richard Wright. Nominated in Longform Feature Writing and Profiles.
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  • Love Your Body” (NOW Magazine)—a series of bold photographs by Tanja-Tiziana accompanying a set of profiles on the issue of body shaming. Nominated in Portrait Photography and Best Words & Pictures.
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  • Whatever Happened to Michael Bryant?” (Precedent)—writer Daniel Fish investigates the life and times of the former Ontario Attorney General, whose involvement in the killing of a cyclist led to PTSD, years out of the spotlight, and finally a path to redemption. Nominated in Professional Article and Profiles.
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  • Canada’s Best New Restaurants” (Air Canada enRoute)—the annual guide to Canadian culinary innovation by Andrew Braithwaite and the enRoute team is nominated in Service Journalism and Best Editorial Package.
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  • Shocking Tax Tips You’re Missing Out On!” (MoneySense)—the annual tax guide by Bryan Borzykowski and the MoneySense team is nominated in Service Journalism and Best Service Editorial Package.

TOP NOMINATED MAGAZINES

FIRST-TIME NOMINEES

Magazines nominated for their first National Magazine Award include:

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

The NMAF gratefully acknowledges the support of the Government of Canada, the Ontario Arts Council, and the Ontario Media Development Corporation. We are also thankful for the support of Access Copyright, Alberta Magazine Publishers Association, Bookmark, Canadian Media Guild, Canadian Writers Group, CNW, ExpertWomen.ca, Goetz Storytelling, Impresa Communications, Rolland Enterprises, Studio Wyse, TC Transcontinental Printing, and Very Good Studios.

For sponsorship enquiries please contact NMAF Managing Director Barbara Gould at staff@magazine-awards.com.

GALA TICKETS

The NMAF will welcome Canada’s top writers, artists, editors, art directors, publishers and other creators to the 40th anniversary National Magazine Awards gala. Gold, Silver and Honourable Mention awards will be announced at the Arcadian Court in Toronto on May 26. Tickets are on sale at magazine-awards.com.

A limited number of tickets for nominated freelancers will be available at the discount rate of $35, thanks to the support of our Table Patrons, including Access Copyright, Bookmark, Alberta Magazine Publishers Association, Canadian Media Guild, Canadian Writers Group, CDS Global, and ExploreWomen.ca.

Gold winners in Writing and Visual Awards categories receive a cash prize of $1000. Silver winners receive an awards certificate. All other finalists receive Honourable Mention.

CREDIT CHANGES

The deadline to make any changes to nominations credit is Friday April 28. Email staff@magazine-awards.com to make any credit changes to your nomination.

Download the complete list of nominations (PDF) to check your nominations credit.

ABOUT THE NMAF

A charitable foundation, the NMAF’s mandate is to recognize and promote excellence in content creation of Canadian print and digital publications through an annual program of awards and national publicity efforts.

The Foundation produces two distinct and bilingual award programs: the National Magazine Awards and the Digital Publishing Awards. Throughout the year, the Foundation undertakes various group marketing initiatives and professional development events.

Nominations Website
Nominations List (PDF)
Gala Info & Tickets
Version française

Penny Caldwell to receive 2017 Foundation Award for Outstanding Achievement in Canadian Magazines

The NMAF is proud to present the 2017 Foundation Award for Outstanding Achievement to Penny Caldwell, publisher and vice-president of Cottage Life Media.

Penny began her career in magazines as a freelance journalist, writing for sports and boating magazines at a time when it was rare for women to cover those topics. In the summer of 1988, a spirited new publication called Cottage Life debuted, and Penny was tapped to write a feature for the inaugural issue about how to buy a windsurfer.

“There’s no doubt about it,” wrote Penny in the opening lines of her first Cottage Life story, “those hot, lazy days of summer are better at the cottage—and best when you can spend most of your time in and around the water.” She still feels that way.

From her modest start as a freelance writer, Penny began to develop and hone the panoply of journalism and leadership skills that she has come to embody today. In 2000, she was named editor-in-chief of Cottage Life, where she quickly earned a reputation as an editor of considerable passion and frequent praise. In her 15-year tenure as editor, the Canadian Society of Magazine Editors named her its Editor of the Year a record four times, while Cottage Life won Magazine of the Year at the National Magazine Awards in 2003 and again in 2014.

“The hallmarks of Penny’s style are conscientiousness, diplomacy, and kindness. There are never any questions she won’t take the time to answer. No matter how tight the deadline, there is always time to adhere to the tight standards she sets for herself and inspires in her colleagues.”
Cottage Life Media CEO Al Zikovitz

Consistent with the evolving roles of a modern magazine leader, Penny was named brand manager and later vice president of content strategy and development before assuming the mantle of publisher in 2015, succeeding Al Zikovitz. That year, the NMA jury named Cottage Life Canada’s Best Magazine Brand for demonstrating a level of innovation that sets the standard for the industry and represents how a magazine can succeed beyond print with dynamic and thriving extensions.

“As a publisher, Penny has demonstrated her adaptability to changing circumstances and serving readers across multiple platforms. This includes print, digital, television, e-commerce, and live events.”
D.B. Scott, magazine consultant and publisher of Canadian Magazines

Today, Cottage Life reaches over six million Canadians every year as perhaps the savviest magazine brand in the country.

Beyond the walls of Cottage Life’s old cozy HQ at 54 St. Patrick Street in Toronto, Penny has made an indelible mark on the wider magazine industry as a mentor, teacher, volunteer, and advocate for a stronger magazine community. She was a member of the original Magazines Canada task force that developed the industry’s advertising-editorial guidelines, and has sat on the curriculum development committees of MagsU and MagNet.

“Penny’s insights and thoughtful contributions have always put the interest of readers first. Her calm, cool, and collected demeanor informs her success as an editor and publisher.”
Patrick Walsh, editor-in-chief, Outdoor Canada

At Ryerson University’s Magazine and Web Publishing Program she taught students the finer points of building a career in magazines. Many colleagues have noted her interest in learning about new talent in the industry and looking for opportunities to mentor others.

“Penny seeks connections for everyone she meets. She sees that if she fosters this talent within our industry, our collective chances at success—at having healthy, thriving Canadian magazines—are so much greater.”
Jess Ross, multiplatform content director at TVA Publications

All the while, Penny has frequently volunteered her time to sit on panels, juries, and boards of directors (including the NMAF from 2004 to 2010). Currently she serves as president of the International Regional Magazine Association (IRMA), where she has chaired awards committees, led numerous conference sessions, and developed the IRMA Connection initiative to improve communication and learning between members. “Penny is incredibly hard-working and an impressive problem solver who always has time for those who need her help,” says Tara Flint, executive director of IRMA. “She fosters positive discussions and brings out the best in others.”

Last year’s Outstanding Achievement Award winner, Kim Pittaway, sums it up aptly:

“Penny’s career exemplifies the best of what it means to lead a magazine: a deep respect for the audience, a commitment to the highest quality, a desire to innovate, and a dedication to respecting and fostering the talent of those with whom she works.”

For her commendable leadership in every role she has assumed, the NMAF is proud to honour Penny Caldwell with the 40th anniversary Foundation Award for Outstanding Achievement. Penny will receive her award and recognition at the 40th anniversary National Magazine Awards gala on May 26 in Toronto.

Tickets go on sale Thursday April 20 at magazine-awards.com.

The nominees for the 40th anniversary National Magazine Awards will be announced on Thursday April 20.

ABOUT THE OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
The NMAF’s most prestigious individual prize  is the Foundation Award for Outstanding Achievement, an award that recognizes an individual’s innovation and creativity through contributions to the magazine industry.

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

The Judging Committee of the National Magazine Awards Foundation will consider the nominations, along with nominations from members of the Committee itself. The Board of the National Magazine Awards Foundation will select the winner.

For more information and previous winners, visit magazine-awards.com/oa.

Photo of Penny Caldwell by Daniel Ehrenworth

Announcing #40at40: A Special NMA Celebration

Here at the National Magazine Awards Foundation we are excitedly preparing for next week’s big announcement: The nominees for the 40th anniversary National Magazine Awards (April 20). And following that, we’ll be getting ready for this year’s anniversary gala (May 26) at the Arcadian Court in Toronto.

In celebration of this special anniversary year, the NMAF has launched #40at40–forty award-winning creators telling stories about their favourite magazines, the mentors and inspiring figures they look up to, and the Canadian magazine stories that made the biggest impact on their careers.

Every day for 40 days leading up to the gala, we’ll post one story on Twitter (@MagAwards).

Would you like to participate? Send us an email at staff@magazine-awards.com (subject line #40at40) and we’ll send you a super-short questionnaire.

Thanks to all who have joined us and will join us for the biggest celebration in Canadian magazines–the 40th anniversary National Magazine Awards!

 

Our thanks to all NMA40 Submitters! Let the Judging Commence

The submissions to the 40th anniversary National Magazine Awards are in, and we are excited to have over 1000 submissions and 197 Canadian magazines represented in this year’s program, competing for awards in 25 categories.

Our thanks to all of the publishers, editors, art directors and creators who submitted their work this year, especially to the more than 200 freelancers who participated.

The National Magazine Awards Foundation strives above all to represent and support the work of Canada’s creators. It’s why, for forty years now, we have facilitated an awards program that celebrates the excellence, determination and innovation that characterize the best of our country’s journalism.

Now we turn to our judges—120 of the leading experts in magazine publishing, design and creation from across Canada and the world—to lend their expertise in service to their peers.

The role of the judges is central to the NMAs. Their judgment, perspectives and integrity represent the very best of journalism, too. Their appraisal of these submissions will not only reward the individuals and teams who’ve achieved success, but it will also become the measure by which our future work is appreciated by readers and audiences across the country. The NMAF offers its sincerest thanks to all of our judges for taking on this important role.

How does judging work? Great question. We believe all awards programs should be clear and transparent about their judging procedures, and our goal has always been the same. That’s why we publish our Judging Process–so you know exactly what the judges are looking for when they review your entry to the National Magazine Awards.

The nominations for the 40th Anniversary National Magazine Awards will be announced on April 20.

Subscribe to our MagAwards Blog or Newsletter to receive the nominations to your inbox, and follow us on Twitter @MagAwards for updates throughout the spring, including the announcement of the 40th Anniversary National Magazine Awards Gala. Awards in Writing and Visual categories include a cash prize of $1000.

The NMAF is also accepting nominations for the Outstanding Achievement Award and the new International Impact Award. Deadline March 1.

Thank you for participating in the 40th anniversary National Magazine Awards. We look forward to a great year ahead, Celebrating Canadian Creators.