Kenny Yum to receive Digital Publishing Leadership Award

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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.

Digital Publishing Awards accepting Freelancer Submissions

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The NMAF is very pleased to share that the Freelancer Support Fund is also available for the Digital Publishing Awards, whose deadline to enter is Tuesday January 31.

The discounted entry fees allow freelance creators to submit their first two (2) entries at the discounted rate of $50 per submission.

With the 2nd Annual DPAs officially underway, we are very happy to offer this special discount to the freelance creators – the writers, videographers, editors, designers, developers, video and podcast producers, photographers and illustrators, and others – who are establishing excellence in Canadian digital publishing. There is a $500 cash prize for individual winners.

An eligible “freelancer” is someone:

  • who is not a staff member of a publication whose work they are submitting, and
  • whose byline appears on the work they are submitting.

If your magazine work also appeared in an online platform, it may be eligible to enter. Check out the full list of Rules & Eligibility.

The Freelancer Support Fund applies to your first two (2) entries only. The regular rate of $110 will apply to any submission entered in addition to the first two. Fees paid for submissions to the Digital Publishing Awards may be tax-deductible for freelancers. The DPAs are operated by the non-profit registered charity NMAF.

There is exactly one week left to enter, as the final deadline to submit is Tuesday January 31.

To submit your best, visit submissions.digitalpublishingawards.ca. If you have any questions about entering the Digital Publishing Awards, please get in touch: info@digitalpublishingawards.ca.

Digital Publishing Awards announce categories for 2017

The NMAF is pleased to announce that the 2nd annual Digital Publishing Awards has expanded their program and have officially revealed a new category lineup.

This year, the Digital Publishing Awards will present awards in 22 categories focusing on the work of Canadian digital creators, while reflecting new trends and attitudes toward digital publishing and content.

[Read the full press release here – PDF]

These changes come as part of the NMAF 2016-17 Strategic Initiatives to expand the DPA program, while continuing it’s efforts to foster, recognize and promote excellent editorial content by Canadian digital creators.

After a successful inaugural year, the industry feedback clearly indicated there was a need to broaden the Digital Publishing Awards to be more inclusive of areas of excellence in the digital landscape. We surveyed our judges, sought feedback from our participants, and convened an Advisory Committee of industry experts to help shape the program for the future. Based on these learnings, the program has substantively evolved to recognize excellence in digital content and journalism, and in particular to call attention to the best practices and innovations in the craft. We believe the program this year reflects that enthusiasm.
–Nino Di Cara, NMAF President

In addition to the these changes in the category lineup, individual Gold winners will now receive a $500 prize.

Changes to the Digital Publishing Awards categories:

  • The top overall prize—General Excellence in Digital Publishing—will be presented in two divisions, for large and small publications.
  • Other new categories include:
    • Best Social Storytelling
    • Best Online Video in 3 divisions:
      • Short (under 2 minutes)
      • Feature (2-5 minutes)
      • Mini-Doc (more than 5 minutes
    • Best News Coverage in 2 divisions:
      • Provincial & Local
      • National & International
    • Best Personal Essay
    • Best Arts & Entertainment Story
    • Best Service Feature: Lifestyle
    • Best Service Feature: Family, Health & Careers
    • Best Fashion & Beauty
    • Emerging Excellence Award
    • Digital Publishing Leadership Award

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This year, the Digital Publishing Awards worked with an Advisory Committee, who provided invaluable guidance to crafting the 2017 program:

  • Craig Silverman, Editor-in-Chief, BuzzFeed Canada
  • Kenny Yum, Managing Editor, Huffington Post Canada
  • Kathy Vey, Executive Producer, Digital, TVO.org
  • Haley Cullingham, Senior Editor, Digital, Hazlitt and Penguin Random House Canada
  • Laura de Carufel, Editor-in-Chief, The Kit

The NMAF is grateful to the members of the Advisory Committee, as well as to all those who participated in our survey and submitted their feedback.

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We look forward to another great year of rewarding excellence in Canadian digital content creation.

Chris Frey to host 2016 Digital Publishing Awards soiree

The NMAF is pleased to announce that writer and digital editor Chris Frey will serve as the host of the inaugural Digital Publishing Awards soiree, Thursday June 9 at the Spoke Club in Toronto. Tickets & Event Info.

Chris Frey is a Toronto-based writer, editor, and radio producer. Currently the Toronto correspondent for Monocle, he’s a six-time National Magazine Award winner and has contributed to The Guardian, The Walrus, Globe and Mail, Icon, Maisonneuve, Azure, and CBC Radio. In a past life Chris was the founding editor of Hazlitt, the Toronto Standard and Outpost magazine. In a future life (and any day now) he will finally complete his book Broken Atlas, a collection of international reportage.

The nominees have been announced for awards in 14 categories for the 2016 Digital Publishing Awards. View all nominated work here.

Don’t miss the event of the year when the online publishing community gathers at the Spoke Club in Toronto on Thursday, June 9, 2016 to celebrate the very best in Canadian digital publishing. Tickets & Event Info.

Call for Volunteers: National Magazine Awards

A new festival season is upon us and the Canadian Business Media Awards, the first annual Digital Publishing Awards and the National Magazine Awards are currently recruiting volunteers!

This is your opportunity to be a part of the most important events in Canadian culture.

This year’s Canadian Business Media Awards gala will be held at One King West on Tuesday, June 7 and the shift for volunteers at this event will run from approx. 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.

This year’s Digital Publishing Awards soiree will be held at The Spoke Club, 600 King Street West on Thursday, June 9 and the shift for volunteers at this event will run from approx. 6:00 p.m. to 10 p.m.

This year’s National Magazine Awards gala will be held at the Arcadian Court, 401 Bay Street at Bay and Queen, on Friday, June 10 and the shift for volunteers at this event will run from approx. 4:00 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Dinner will be provided to all volunteers.

To get involved, please contact Leah Jensenstaff@magazine-awards.com, no later than Friday, May 20, 2016. Please include the following information in your email:

  • Name
  • Phone number
  • Email
  • Brief note about your experience and why you would like to volunteer

Come be a part of the biggest week in Canadian magazines! 

Digital Publishing Awards: Last Call for Early-Bird Entries

The Digital Publishing Awards program is looking for Canada’s best digital content creators, designers, innovators and publishers, with awards in 14 categories for feature writing, news coverage, blogging, visual storytelling, video, podcast, multiplatform publishing, design and more.

The early-bird deadline is Monday, February 8: Enter online by that date to save 20% on entries. The final deadline is February 16.

We look forward to presenting the inaugural Digital Publishing Awards on June 9, recognizing excellence by Canada’s best digital publishers and content creators, and we hope you’ll be a part of the experience.

To enter, visit http://digitalpublishingawards.ca/.

With questions, email us at staff@digitalpublishingawards.ca.

Rebate for Small Publishers at Digital Publishing Awards

The new Digital Publishing Awards program is offering a free entry to small digital publishers whose budgets could use a break. Publishers with annual revenue under $50,000 are eligible to participate.

To apply for the Small Publishers Rebate, complete the online application form and submit by February 8 (also the DPA’s Early-Bird deadline for discounted entry fees).

The 2016 Digital Publishing Awards are open to Canadian digital publishers, designers, innovators and content creators. Awards will be presented in 14 categories:

  1. Best Digital Editorial Package
  2. Best Blog or Online-Only Column
  3. Best News Coverage of a Single Topic or Event
  4. Best Online-Only Short Feature
  5. Best Online-Only Long Feature
  6. Best Online Video
  7. Best Multimedia Storytelling in a Single Feature
  8. Best Use of Data
  9. Best Podcast Series
  10. Best Visual Storytelling
  11. Best Digital Design
  12. Best Use of Multiple Platforms
  13. Best Digital Initiative
  14. Digital Publication of the Year.

The final deadline for entries is February 16. Nominees will be announced on May 4, 2016 and winners unveiled at the inaugural awards soirée, which will take place on June 9, 2016 in Toronto. Enter today at:

digitalpublishingawards.ca