A Look at Canada's Best Magazine Websites

At this year’s 37th annual National Magazine Awards, macleans.ca–the website of Canada’s 103-year-old venerable news magazine–won the award for Magazine Website of the Year.

The award goes to the magazine website (either a companion site or an online-only magazine) that most successfully fulfills its editorial mission by representing the highest journalistic standards and effectively serving its intended audience by maximizing the possibilities afforded by the medium of web-based publishing. A jury convened by the National Magazine Awards Foundation evaluates all entries and comes to a consensus on three finalists and a single winner.
With more than 2.1 million total weekly readers, Maclean’s magazine continues to be a major force in Canadian news and opinion. Online, macleans.ca is a compelling destination for political commentary and discussion, feature stories, social debate and cultural musings. Visitors get full access to exclusive online features, interactive media and the latest from its award-winning bloggers.
The Maclean’s web team presents a platform that can look great on any screen, big or small. Their grid-like display allows for easy translation to a scrollable list format on your mobile device. Functionality and content prominence are what make their simplistic design work.

“For Maclean’s, we are now presenting more information than ever before, while at the same time occupying less screen real estate until you need it,” says senior director and publisher Ryan Trotman.
Their layout choices create a site that is easily digestible and remains consistent with the way we currently consume information through social media. Our surfing habits have changed and macleans.ca has addressed this new social characteristic.
 
HONOURABLE MENTION
The judges awarded Honourable Mention in the category Magazine Website of the Year to Hazlitt and Torontoist.

Five of Hazlitt‘s most recent and popular features play on a slideshow atop the site, which was founded in 2012 as an online literary and cultural affairs magazine by Random House Canada. Sections chosen for Hazlitt’s menu bar communicate their unique role in the world of literary fiction.
Features, Blog, A/V, Comix, Fiction and Hazlitt Originals line the top of their homepage, echoing their core value in exhibiting great writing on diverse subject matter while contributing to cultural at all levels. A grid-like image and title display sits to the right of a list of their ‘most popular’ articles. Their most recent publications and twitter feed follow, appearing atop a freeform of content links organizes in blocks.
Users can scroll titles referring to subsection headings for anything that may be of interest. The style does not present the visitor with rigid sections, but rather allows the content to be displayed in a way that gives all subsections equal treatment.
“Hazlitt aspires to publish great writing on everything,” its editors told the NMAF in a statement submitted with its application. “Politics, art, the environment, film, music, law, business. Books and writers, their ideas, insights and stories, are at the heart of what we do, because books and writers are at the heart of culture, both high and low.”

Displaying a cover photo and a lead to impress visitors to ‘read more,’ the Torontoist site exhibits a format similar to what we see when we open a newspaper to scan for stories. Editor-in-chief Hamutal Dotan says this was done intentionally to challenge the idea that online magazines are somehow less informative or not as well-researched as hard copy, printed articles.
“We aim to be the home for people who really care about Toronto, who want to engage in its development and evolution, but who don’t equate formality of tone with substance,” she says.
Regular features, such as ‘Extra, Extra’ and ‘Newsstand’ are Torontoist’s way of offering curated content in what Dotan calls “a downright commitment to sharing work that other publications, including our competitors, are producing.”
In an editorial mandate received by the National Magazine Awards Foundation, the Torontoist editors referred to the site as “compulsively readable and up-to-the-minute… Torontoist is a digital magazine for the modern, edgy urbanite, eschewing categorization in order to serve and reflect a dynamic city full of people who want to learn more about the place they call home.”

Make macleans.ca, Hazlitt and Torontoist part of your summer online reading.
And congratulations to all the winners of the 37th annual National Magazine Awards.
Special thanks to Melissa Myers for her research and conducting interviews for this post.

Your Guide to Summer 2014 Magazine Writing Contests


If this year’s National Magazine Awards taught us anything, it’s that devoting yourself passionately to literary excellence has its rewards. Kim Jernigan, longtime editor of The New Quarterly, said as much when she accepted her Foundation Award for Outstanding Achievement. “When it comes to matters literary, it is better to follow your own instincts than to give the reader what you presume she wants… Perseverance counts.”
Also, this nugget of wisdom: “Caring deeply about literature is not at odds with a sense of fun.”
Apropos of which, we present our annual Summer Guide to Canadian magazine writing contests.
As always, the list below may be incomplete. Leave a comment here or pull us aside on Twitter @MagAwards #WritingContest if you know of any we missed.
 
One Throne Joust 24-Hour Writing Contest
Sections: Short (750-word) fiction
Deadline: June 25, 2014 (competition is held on June 28)
Prize: Half the pot to the winner; publication for the top 3
Entry Fee: $20
Detailshttp://www.onethrone.com/#!joust/c19mu
The Walrus Poetry Prize
Sections: Poetry, juried prize and people’s choice prize
Deadline: June 30, 2014
Prize: $4000 and publication (juried winner); $1000 and publication (people’s choice winner)
Entry Fee: $25 (includes subscription)
Detailshttp://thewalrus.ca/projects/poetry-prize/
Alberta Views Short Story Contest
Section: Fiction
Deadline: June 30, 2014
Prize: $$1000 + publication (winner)
Entry Fee: $30 (includes subscription)
Detailshttps://www.albertaviews.ab.ca/contests/
Antigonish Review Great Blue Heron Poetry Prize
Sections: Poetry
Deadline: June 30, 2014
Prize: $600 (1st); $400 (2nd); $200 (3rd); publication
Entry Fee: $25 (includes subscription)
Detailshttp://www.antigonishreview.com/
Matrix Magazine LitPop Awards
Sections: Poetry; Fiction; Creative Nonfiction
Deadline: July 1, 2014
Prize: For winners in each section, round-trip ticket and accommodation to POP Montreal Festival in September; publication in Matrix
Entry Fee: $25
Detailshttp://www.matrixmagazine.org/litpop/
Vallum Award for Poetry 2014
Section: Poetry
Deadline: July 15, 2014
Prize: $750 (1st); $250 (2nd); publication
Entry Fee: $25; includes subscription
Detailshttp://www.vallummag.com/contestrules.html
Tethered by Letters Writing Contests
Section
: Poetry; Short Fiction; “Flash Fiction”
Deadline: July 15, 2014
Prize: $250 (Short Fiction winner); $50 (Flash Fiction winner); $100 (Poetry winner); publication
Entry Fee: $4-12, depending on category and entries
Detailshttp://tetheredbyletters.com/submissions/contest-submission
Note: Tethered by Letters is a US literary journal but its writing contests are open to Canadian writers; hence we have included it here.
Malahat Review Constance Rooke Nonfiction Prize
Sections: Creative nonfiction
Deadline: August 1, 2014
Prize: $1000; publication in Malahat Review; interview with winning author
Entry Fee: $35 (includes subscription); $15 for additional entries
Detailshttp://web.uvic.ca/malahat/contests/creative_non-fiction_prize/info.html
Passion Poetry Contributor’s Contest
Section: Poetry
Deadline: August 1, 2014
Prize: $100 (1st); $50 (2nd); $25 (3rd); publication
Entry Fee: $5; includes issue of magazine
Detailshttp://www.passionpoetrymag.com/#/contest/4583551123
Northern Public Affairs Emerging Northern Writers Fund
Sections: Essays, Fiction, Poetry, Visual Arts
Deadline: August 1, 2014
Prize: 3 awards of up to $200 each
Entry Fee: None
Details: northernpublicaffairs.ca
Up Here Sally Manning Award
Section: Aboriginal Creative Nonfiction
Deadline: September 30, 2014
Prize: $1000 + publication (1st); $500 (2nd); $250 (3rd)
Entry Fee: None
Detailshttp://uphere.ca/post/88968179608
Did we miss something? Email staff[at]magazine-awards[dot]com or hail us on Twitter @MagAwards.
See also:
Your Guide to Winter/Spring 2014 Magazine Writing Contests
Your Guide to Fall 2013 Magazine Writing Contests
Writer’s Guide to Canadian Literary Magazines
Check out the Contests section of this blog for frequent updates on opportunities from Canadian magazines.
Photo: Kim Jernigan accepting the Foundation Award for Outstanding Achievement at the 37th annual National Magazine Awards, June 6, 2014. Photography by KlixPix for the National Magazine Awards Foundation.

Photo Gallery of the 37th annual National Magazine Awards


Images of last Friday’s 37th National Magazine Awards gala are now online. Photography by KlixPix for the National Magazine Awards Foundation.
The NMAF wishes to thank all of its sponsors, judges and guests for another wonderful event. Congratulations again to the winners of the 37th National Magazine Awards.
Click to view the photo gallery.

Opening Video of the 37th annual National Magazine Awards


Smash reel of Canadian magazines nominated for the 37th annual National Magazine Awards, June 6, 2014. Produced by Relay Experience for the National Magazine Awards Foundation. Executive Producer: Melanie Lovell. Producer: Xavier Massé. Animation by Very Good Studios. Director/Senior Animator: Matthew Henning. Production Assistants: Tim Adams, Vikas Agarwal, Jitendra Singh. Audio Mixing: Joshua Hemming. Thank you to all the creators of Canadian magazine content.
A complete recap of the 37th annual National Magazine Awards.
Follow @MagAwards on Twitter. Check out our YouTube channel for more videos, include previous NMA smash reels.