NMAF President Nino Di Cara on the 40th anniversary National Magazine Awards

Forty years ago a gentleman by the name of Andrew MacFarlane, who was Dean of Journalism at the University of Western Ontario, set about building a coalition of institutions to form the foundation of what would become the National Magazine Awards. The goal was to create a truly national program that would recognize individual excellence in the many aspects of the magazine industry.

Forty years later that legacy has endured. As one creator told me, winning a National Magazine Award is regarded as the pinnacle of professional achievement in our industry.

Friday evening we will welcome many of Canada’s top creators to the 40th anniversary National Magazine Awards to recognize the phenomenal achievements of this year’s nominees and winners. As we pay tribute to the outstanding effort, professionalism, and raw talent of the individual creators, it is also a celebration of the broader magazine community and a nod to the people who trained the winners, mentored them, inspired them, gave them opportunities and, in many cases, took a chance on them. Our ability to nurture great Canadian creators reflects on us all.

It would have been hard for the NMAs’ founders to imagine the changes faced by the magazine industry in recent years and the impact that technology and data would play. Consumer audiences are being asked to be more savvy about the source and integrity of the media they consume, and there has never been so much competition for their time. But the principles of quality journalism and compelling art endure. All the while, magazines and the craftspeople who create them have been at the forefront of our society and culture. The diversity and breadth of this year’s nominees are a tribute to the role they play as the tastemakers, opinion-formers, trendsetters, style-shapers, curators, investigators, and artists who help to shape our national narrative and our identities as Canadians.

On the topic of change, this year’s program represents a significant renewal for the NMAs. In response to our industry consultation, we revised the categories to be much more focused on the craft that goes into creating work for a magazine and less focused on the subject matter. This enabled us to reduce the number of awards by 30 percent (making winning one an even tougher feat!). Although, with 25 awards, we still have almost double the 14 that were presented in 1977! Among other changes we have introduced, it’s exciting to think that the winners tonight were judged in part by judges from Yellowknife to St. John’s, San Francisco to New York, London to Paris—proudly elevating Canadian work on the global stage.

An enormous thank you to our sponsors and the hundreds of people who have helped bring this year’s awards to life, from the entrants to the volunteer judges and the board of directors. I’d like to add special thanks to the NMAF executive team who bring such rigour and passion to making the awards happen—Barbara Gould, Richard Johnson, Émilie Pontbriand, Leah Jensen, and Krista Robinson.

Enjoy the show! If you can’t join us, follow all the action on Twitter @MagAwards.

Nino Di Cara
President, NMAF

NMAF Announces New Strategic Initiatives & Board Members

[This post has been updated.]
The National Magazine Awards Foundation (NMAF) is pleased to announce a number of important changes and new initiatives as we get ready to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the National Magazine Awards and an exciting new year for the Digital Publishing Awards.

At its AGM and meeting of August 30th, the NMAF Board of Directors approved a new strategic plan that will ensure the National Magazine Awards and Digital Publishing Awards continue their important role in recognizing and celebrating Canadian creators.

These changes are designed to maintain and advance the NMAF’s 40-year status as the gold standard of creative excellence and the pinnacle of professional achievement for award recipients. Specific initiatives include:

  • Refining the categories of the National Magazine Awards to a more focused number of awards;
  • A reformatted awards event to facilitate more conversation and networking;
  • Introducing a more rigorous definition and criteria of the Magazine of the Year award;
  • Expanding the Digital Publishing Awards;
  • A more streamlined judging process for assessing English and French submissions in the same category;
  • Enhancing the national footprint of the awards through more regional events and closer collaboration with regional institutions outside of Ontario;
  • Being more inclusive of the diversity in Canadian magazine and digital publishing;
  • In a first for any Canadian publishing awards, raising the profile of Canadian creators on the international stage, by:
    • recognizing the excellence of Canadian contributors to international media, and
    • introducing judges from the international magazine community.

The NMAF invites all members of the Canadian magazine industry—whether you regularly participate in the awards or not—to join us in this process, whether volunteering to serve on the board, committees or working groups; volunteering as a judge; or simply providing your input on how the NMAF can best serve Canada’s magazine and digital creators. Get in touch with us at staff@magazine-awards.com.

NEW BOARD MEMBERS
The NMAF is pleased to announce that Nino Di Cara has been elected Board President for a two-year term effective August 30. Mr. Di Cara is the Executive Vice-President, Content Marketing, at Bookmark (formerly Spafax), and previously held senior titles at Rogers Communications and TC Media.

Mr. Di Cara has been elected with a broad mandate to spearhead new strategic initiatives for the NMAF, as well as to engage and work collaboratively with the Foundation’s stakeholders—creators, publishers, judges, partners, sponsors and more—to build on the NMAF’s core mission to Celebrate Canadian Creators.

To help achieve this exciting agenda for 2017 and beyond, the NMAF is pleased to announce the first wave of new additions to its board:

JoAnne Caza is a member of the Mercedes-Benz Canada executive team. She heads up the Communications and Public Relations department which is responsible for several of the marketing activities at Mercedes-Benz Canada. She is the company’s spokesperson and the PR aspect of her job includes day-to-day media relations on a corporate front as well for all of Mercedes-Benz’ brands.

Derek Finkle is the founder of Canadian Writers Group which represents independent Canadian writers, and which aligned with Parcel, a brand strategy and communications design firm, in 2016. He is the former editor of Toro magazine, contributing editor of Saturday Night, and a National Magazine Award-winning writer. He is the author of the book No Claim to Mercy, an examination of the troubling Robert Baltovich murder case. No Claim to Mercy won the Crime Writers’ Arthur Ellis Award for best non-fiction and was named a Notable Book of the Year by The Globe and Mail.

Tom Gierasimczuk is an award-winning journalist and media executive with a proven record of developing effective multi-platform, editorially driven marketing strategies that engage audiences and infuse brand communication with purpose and utility. Tom has built media properties for clients ranging from WestJet Airlines to Microsoft while working in senior leadership roles with Canada’s largest media and communications companies including Rogers Media, Transcontinental, Canada Wide Media and Yellow Pages, where he was Publisher and GM of Vancouver magazine and Western Living.

Peter McNeill is the National Director of KPMG Enterprise and a marketing executive with over twenty years of experience providing leadership and strategy to both start-ups and major Fortune 500 brands. He specializes in Global Brand Building and Management, Marketing Programs, Partnerships & Alliances, Marketing Strategy, People Management, Public Relations, Digital Media, Business Development. He has previously served as Chair of the Board of Directors of United Way of York Region.

Raf Katigbak is Creative Lead at Virtue, the agency arm of VICE. He started at VICE as a columnist in the magazine in 2004, eventually becoming the Canadian editor of the publication, and then Senior Editor of the ‪VICE.com website. Over the years, he’s produced engaging, multi-platform content including documentaries, photo essays, and field reports, and written stories for a variety of publications and companies including The Montreal Mirror, En Route, and ALDO.

Dan McPhee is Head of Media Platforms at Google Canada. He is a trailblazing sales and marketing strategy thought leader, specializing in helping organizations capture market share while improving their bottom line. Combining deep business knowledge with a complete understanding of today’s consumer, Dan transforms business units into profitable market leaders that know how to win, and win the moments that matter.

Erin Millar is the Co-Founder and CEO of Discourse Media. She is an author, public speaker, magazine writer, and former president of Canadian University Press. She has reported from 15 countries around the world and her work has been translated into 34 languages. She teaches journalism at Quest University.

Our new electives join an existing NMAF Board of Directors that includes:

  • Liana Bell, CA, CPA, Partner, Clark-Henning LLP (Treasurer)
  • Joyce Byrne, Publisher, Avenue Magazine (Past President)
  • Julie Cailliau, Editor-in-Chief, Les Affaires
  • Christopher Frey, Toronto Correspondent, Monocle
  • Curtis Gillespie, Editor, Eighteen Bridges
  • David Hayes, Freelance Journalist
  • Judith Pereira, Senior Editor, Report on Business
  • Marnie Peters, Associate Vice-President, Public Relations, Royal Ontario Museum
  • Paul Roelofs, Creative Director & Publication Designer, Vancouver Magazine & Western Living
  • Terry Sellwood, former President, Cottage Life Media (Executive-At-Large)
  • Melony Ward, Publisher, Canada’s History & Kayak
  • Lisa Whittington-Hill, Publisher, THIS Magazine

MORE TO COME
We are humbled by the fact that, according to feedback from our stakeholder surveys, Canadian magazine publishers and creators continue hold the NMAF brand in the highest regard as a not-for-profit, charitable organization that facilitates trustworthy, inclusive and transparent awards programs that reflect the strength and breadth of magazine and digital publishing across Canada.

We encourage all Canadian publishers, editors, art directors, staff and contributors to join us as we celebrate the 40th anniversary National Magazine Awards and the 2nd annual Digital Publishing Awards.

The NMAF will provide regular updates this fall regarding strategic initiatives and changes to its awards programs.