Stephen Trumper wins NMAF Outstanding Achievement Award

Stephen Trumper (Photo by Nigel Dickson)
Stephen Trumper (Photo by Nigel Dickson)

The National Magazine Awards Foundation is pleased to announce that the winner of this year’s Foundation Award for Outstanding Achievement is Stephen Trumper.

As a distinguished editor, a beloved teacher, a renowned master of display copy and a mentor known for giving generously of his time and expertise, Stephen Trumper has been a pillar of the Canadian magazine industry for more than thirty-five years.

In 1977 Steve joined Toronto Life, where he enjoyed a fourteen-year tenure, including nine as managing editor, during which time the publication was twice named Magazine of the Year. As a handling editor at Toronto Life and, later, at Harrowsmith Country Life and National Post Business plus freelance assignments for, among others, Saturday Night, Chatelaine, Elm Street and This Magazine, Steve’s deft touch and rapport with his writers helped produce more than sixty awards and nominations from the National Magazine Awards and other regional and industry associations.

In the mid-nineties he became a part-time instructor at Ryerson University’s School of Journalism, where he has taught magazine editing and feature writing ever since while also guiding students through the production of several issues of the Ryerson Review of Journalism. As a teacher and mentor, Steve has been an inspiration to a generation of Canada’s brightest journalists, many of whom still seek him out for counsel and friendship at his favourite tables at The Senator or at the Starbucks inside Sears at the Eaton Centre. Shameless magazine was born in one of Stephen’s classes at Ryerson.

A wheelchair user who was on the boards of CBC-TV’s Disability Network, Ontario Science Centre, Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital and a member of the Ontario Lieutenant Governor’s ad hoc committee on improving job opportunities for people with disabilities, Steve currently serves on the board of the Canadian Abilities Foundation, which publishes Abilities magazine. In addition, for the past dozen years Steve has been involved with Accessible Media Inc. (AMI), a not-for-profit organization that operates two broadcast services (AMI-tv and AMI-audio) and a website ( By making print, broadcast and digital media accessible, AMI serves more than five million Canadians who are blind or partially sighted, deaf or hard of hearing, mobility or learning disabled, or learning English as a second language. For AMI Steve has been a writer, an editor and, for several years, the organization’s Ombudsman.

Steve’s principal goals in his career as an editor, a teacher and an advocate for people with disabilities: to make media and journalism better, and to make them accessible to all Canadians. In 2012, Steve received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, recognizing his contributions to community and public service.

On behalf of the National Magazine Awards Foundation: Congratulations Stephen!

Stephen Trumper will be recognized at the 36th annual National Magazine Awards gala on June 7. Tickets go on sale May 1, when the NMAF will announce all nominees for this year’s National Magazine Awards.

What the Canadian magazine industry told us about Stephen Trumper

Steve’s modus operandi: gradually bringing along a new writer, helping them fine-tune their natural skills and overcome any weaknesses, and challenging them by assigning them stories that are outside of their comfort zone. That Steve is arguably the most influential mentor working in the business today is only one of the reasons he is deserving of the Foundation Award for Outstanding Achievement.
David Hayes, fourteen-time NMA finalist and Gold winner in 2002, and member of the Board of Directors of the National Magazine Awards Foundation. 

Guiding students in putting together the Ryerson Review of Journalism involves multiple professional skills and also considerable finesse, tact, diplomacy and cat-herding prowess, plus the ability to teach effectively on the fly. Steve manages this challenging role with ease and emerges with a magazine to be proud of, as well as many warm relationships with the students involved.
Lynn Cunningham, associate professor of journalism at Ryerson and a former recipient of the Foundation Award for Outstanding Achievement (1998).

“Steve is the voice of AMI in all of his interactions with our audience, and takes the time to chat with each person individually either on the phone or through a carefully crafted email response. He also provides frank and sage advice on the many sensitive issues and topics we deal with.”
Peter Burke, Vice-president, Marketing & Communications, Accessible Media Inc.

Shameless has flourished thanks to Steve’s guidance and unwavering support. His faith in our scrappy indie magazine, which he treated with as much respect as a big-budget glossy, is a testament to his kindness and commitment to fostering future generations of Canadian magazine contributors.”
Melinda Mattos and Nicole Cohen, co-founders of Shameless magazine

At National Post Business (now known as Financial Post Magazine), Steve was the quintessential unsung story wrangler and writer whisperer. He would gather up lumps of mismatched clay, deposited on his desk by the alleged sculptor, and turn them into a Rodin. And he did it with ease, with grace and with unbreakable good cheer.
Tony Keller, Co-host of “The Street” on BNN

For more than a decade now, I’ve met with Steve regularly for discussion and career advice over brunch at his table at The Senator. Our ongoing conversation covers the industry as a whole, job opportunities, and mini career crises, along with family and life in general. I always leave those meetings feeling more optimistic than I did going in.
Allan Britnell, Managing Editor, Renovation Contractor, and President, Canadian Society of Magazine Editors

You only have to witness Steve in action briefly to see the strength of his intellect, humour and commitment to storytelling. This was someone I wanted to learn from, and, lucky for me, he obliged.
Jessica Johnston, National Post travel editor and former editor of This Magazine.

He doesn’t let you get away with lazy writing: a fix note from Steve will have you flipping your desk, because you know he’s right. He pushes you to be the best journalist you can be, happily slashing your precious words in the service of fabulous storytelling. He has an uncanny ability to see the story behind the story, the one that’s hard to dig up.
Dana Lacey, Director of Digital Journalism at ScribbleLive

His enthusiasm for long-form journalism is infectious. The year I edited the RRJ, Steve was relentless in his pursuit of excellence and pushed us to be our best. When one writer was having some difficulty, he took on the editing of the piece and it ended up garnering a National Magazine Award nod that year. He’s not only a talented line editor, he has the vision of a great substantive editor.
Julia Belluz, Senior Editor, The Medical Post

At The Senator or Starbucks with a soon-to-be grad or former student, Steve never coddles, but always challenges. Sometimes he will just listen, other times he will interject with just the right question or anecdote or connection. In an industry that is often rushed an in which people have little time for newbies, Steve stands out as a rarity.
Lauren McKeon, Editor, This Magazine

He always seems to be there when you need him, whether it’s fixing a manuscript that has gone awry, or writing display copy, or advising a new writer at his craft or a veteran writer who’s fallen into a funk. He has a great ability to take a complicated mess and tease meaning from it, to make a story out of scattered jottings.
Marq de Villiers, author and former editor at Toronto Life

Steve is an editor with infinite patience, but not one who indulges ego. He doesn’t only teach others how to edit, but how to lead. More importantly, he believes in young talent, taking the time to praise when it’s deserved and push when it’s needed.
Maryam Siddiqi, freelance writer and editor

It sounds like a simple thing, but good counsel is something most of us need. Steve has kept many of us sane and out of law school. He’s listened to us whine and moan and cry, and then, magically, helped make sense of it all.
Megan Griffth-Greene, Associate Producer, CBC Television

It would not be a stretch to say that Stephen Trumper is one of the reasons there are still magazine feature writers and editors roaming the Canadian lands, typing furiously or tracking their changes.
Mikala Taylor, Content Strategist, Think! Social Media

About the Foundation Award for Outstanding Achievement
The NMAF’s most prestigious individual prize since its inception in 1990 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. Nominations for this award are welcome from everyone in the industry. Nominations are due each year by March 1.

About the National Magazine Awards
The nominees for the 36th annual National Magazine Awards will be announced on May 1. This year’s awards gala is on Friday, June 7, 2013, at The Carlu in Toronto. For ticket and other information visit

About the Photograph
The official portrait of Stephen Trumper is by Nigel Dickson for the National Magazine Awards Foundation.

Leave a Reply