How Does Judging Work?

Our goal has always been to be clear and transparent about our judging procedures. That’s why we publish our Judging Process–so you know exactly what the judges are looking for when they review your entry to the National Magazine Awards.

Obviously, the quality, creativity and originality of the work are paramount in consideration for a National Magazine Award. We also ask our judges to consider the Editorial Mandate of the publication in their appraisal of the entry, so that they reflect on the work’s specific target audience when deciding how to score. Each entry should also be appropriate to the category’s definition, and the judges evaluate this as well.

We strive to construct diverse juries where different perspectives are brought to bear on each entry, including those of experienced magazine writers, editors, art directors, illustrators, photographers, circulators, publishers, digital creators and other journalism experts, as well as academic and industry leaders from related cultural sectors. We are also committed to addressing systemic racism and structural biases in Canadian media by ensuring that our judging panels are reflective of Canada’s cultural diversity.

As a bilingual awards program, we have separate French- and English-language juries that evaluate entries for the Writing Awards. We convene a Bilingual Advisory Panel to review the results of the different juries when top scores from each jury in the same category are within 3% of each other.

The panels for Visual, Editorial, Best Magazine and Special Awards include bilingual judges.

We do our best to avoid conflicts of interest, so our search for judges stretches across the continent and often beyond.

We continually strive to ensure the judging process remains transparent, and to do that we need your ongoing support, help and advice. Please take the time to read the complete list of rules and the description of the judging process.

If you have any ideas on how to make the awards program even better, or you would like to volunteer your time as a judge or committee member, please email us at

Thank you for participating in the National Magazine Awards. We look forward to a great year ahead, Celebrating Canadian Creators.