Consider the Birds: Canadian Geographic asks readers to pick Canada's National Bird


The raven, argues National Magazine Award-winning writer Noah Richler, is an immigrant as we all are, having crossed the Bering Strait like many of Canada’s aboriginal ancestors.

And if that pedigree, one that precedes this country’s mere statehood, is not enough, consider too the importance this corvid has had in native stories ever since. Raven is Trickster. Raven is family… Above all, Raven is resourceful, a survivor, as the territory compels most Canadians to be.

While Richler roots for the Raven, fellow NMA honouree Charlotte Gray stumps for the osprey, and Giller Prize winner Will Ferguson wants you to tempt you with the Canada Goose.

But currently outdoing them all: the Common Loon, the pride of our golden coin.
Canadian Geographic magazine is asking all Canadians to vote on a national bird. We have a national tree, a national animal, a national sport… but not an official national bird.

The goal of [the National Bird Project] is to help designate an official bird for Canada by 2017, the country’s sesquicentennial. And we want your help finding a species that can represent this nation of forest, prairie grassland, Arctic and sub-Arctic, maritime and wetland, agricultural and urban and many other habitats, so vote for your favourite species or contribute your own short essay today!

At the time of this post, the Loon has a remarkable but not insurmountable lead over the Snowy Owl and the Grey Jay / Whisky Jack.
Make your vote.

Alberta Magazines Conference open for registration


The 19th Annual Alberta Magazines Conference is coming to Calgary on March 5 and 6, at the Carriage House Inn. The early-bird deadline for registration is February 12 (final deadline Feb 26).
Among the panellists are NMAF President Joyce Byrne, publisher of Avenue magazine in Calgary, and NMAF directors Christopher Frey, former editor-in-chief of Hazlitt, and Lisa Whittington-Hill, publisher of This Magazine.
Other speakers include National Magazine Award winner Paul Roelofs (creative director of Western Living) discussing magazine redesigns and rebranding, and award-winning writer Marcello Di Cintio, who will speak to an audience about the craft of profile writing.
Check out the complete list and event details here.
Plus, Thursday March 5 is the Alberta Magazine Awards gala. The finalists will be announced in early February.

Call for Submissions: Science Journalism Awards


The Canadian Science Writers’ Association has opened a call for submissions for its 2014 science journalism awards. Deadline: February 15, 2015.
The Science Journalism Award goes to an individual who has a science piece published in their name in any media during the calendar year 2014.  Winners receive $1000 and recognition at the Awards Ceremony at the CSWA Conference.
The Herb Lampert Science Emerging Journalist Award goes to a student or newly practising journalist (2 years or less) who has a science piece published in any media during 2014. Winners receive $1000 and recognition at the Awards Ceremony at the CSWA Conference.
The Science Communications Award goes to an individual or small team, museum, university or college, whose work in 2014 explored or explained the topic of science to the public in an informative, accurate and engaging way. The work can be in any medium, and was produced for the purposes of public communications, outreach, advertising, marketing, or any similar venture. Winners receive $1000 and recognition at the Awards Ceremony at the CSWA Conference.
This year’s CSWA Conference is June 18-21 in Saskatoon.

New BC science magazine Hakai to launch in 2015


Launching in the spring of 2015, Hakai Magazine, an independent online magazine based in Victoria, British Columbia and published by the Tula Foundation, will be devoted to the the science and societies of coastal ecosystems.
The foundation also supports the Hakai Institute on Calvert Island (with other research stations in the region) devoted to field research in coastal sciences.
The  new magazine’s editorial mandate, note the publishers, will be to:

explore the ties between the ocean, land, and human societies through long- and short-form journalism, illustrations, infographics, photos, and videos. We aim to inspire people and communities to think about their relationship with coastal ecosystems — from multiple perspectives — on a daily basis. We’re Planet Ocean, not Planet Earth.

The magazine has already announced a call for submissions, looking for features, columns, photography, illustration and video art.
They’ve also put out a self-described manifesto, noting pointedly (and honestly) that “[to] launch a magazine in the 21st century is a little crazy. But the disruption to 20th century media outlets by the Internet has created irresistible opportunities.”

Our mission is ancient: to inform the individual and unite the tribe through the tradition of storytelling. The means is modern: through the web. The goal is lofty: a global conversation about the world’s coastlines.

Well said.
More information at hakaimagazine.com.

NMA winning This Magazine hosts Social Justice All-Stars event

The National Magazine Award-winning This Magazine is hosting a launch event on Wednesday, January 28 for its new Social Justice All-Stars issue, featuring three speakers whose work is profiled in the magazine.
Sheila Sampath, editorial and art director of Shameless, will be one of the speakers, along with with writer, performance artist and filmmaker Nayani Thiyagarajah, auteur of the short film Shadeism. Joining them is Farrah Khan, a nationally recognized public speaker and educator on violence against women including forced marriage and “honour related violence.”
About This Magazine’s Social Justice All-Stars issue (January/February 2015):

This special issue highlights 30 Canadians who are everyday superheroes working to make the world a better place. From fighting for feminism, LGBTQ rights, and better mental health services to fighting against racism, discrimination and harmful stereotypes, these inspiring social justice all-stars are changing the world.

The event is January 28 at The Supermarket in Toronto, at 7:30pm. More info on the Facebook page.
This Magazine in the NMA archive:
Clusterf*ck” by Catherine McIntyre, Gold Medal, Best New Magazine Writer, 2013.
In the Shadow of the Oilsands” by Ian Willms, Gold Medal, Photojournalism & Photo Essay, 2011.
Let’s Get It On” by Graham Roumieu, Silver Medal, Spot Illustration, 2009.