Categories

The 2021 National Magazine Awards feature 29 categories, with two special awards and seven additional categories that are part of a new, cross-programming initiative.

There are four divisions of awards categories:

  • Written & Visual (which include a cash prize of $1,000 for Gold medal winners)
  • Editorial
  • Grand Prix: Best Magazine
  • Special (no entry fees)

Please note: in categories with cash prizes, the remuneration goes to the creator(s) of the work, not the magazine/publication.

Call for Entries: December 21, 2020 – January 28, 2021

Submitters are responsible for ensuring that their submissions conform to the category definitions and restrictions. Please review the Eligibility & Rules.

Learn more about the award categories, including how to submit, by selecting from the divisions below.

WRITING & VISUAL AWARDS

These 18 awards, including cash prizes and certificates, are presented to the writers or visual creators. Art directors, editors and publishers may receive recognition, a certificate and winner’s seal. There will be a maximum of 10 finalists for each award. Silver awards include a certificate and winner’s seal. Gold awards include a certificate, winner’s seal and a $1000 cash prize.

$105/submission (+HST) Early Bird Rate
$125/submission (+HST) Regular Rate

Freelancers: Freelancers submitting their own work may be eligible for the Freelancer Support Fund, which allows independent writers and creators to submit 2 entries for the price of one!

  1. Long-Form Feature Writing: 6000+ Honours outstanding feature writing of a magazine story of minimum 6001 words in length, in any field or subject. [How to Submit]
  2. Long-Form Feature Writing
    Honours outstanding feature writing of a magazine story between 3500-6000 words in length, in any field or subject. [How to Submit]
  3. Feature Writing
    Honours outstanding feature writing of a magazine story between 2000-3500 words in length, in any field or subject. [How to Submit]
  4. Short Feature Writing
    Honours outstanding feature writing of a magazine story of maximum 2000 words in length, in any field or subject. [How to Submit]
  5. Columns
    Honours outstanding magazine writing by a regular columnist. Entries consist of any three columns by a single author in a single publication. [How to Submit]
  6. Essays
    Honours outstanding magazine writing in which the writer’s perspective is paramount and offers an argument or an intellectual point of view. The regular columns of columnists are not eligible in Essays. [How to Submit]
  7. Investigative Reporting
    Honours outstanding magazine writing based on original fact-finding, enterprising news-gathering, and/or news reporting in any field or subject. Entries should include a background statement (max 500 words) providing context for the investigation and any details of the investigative process that may be relevant to the jury’s consideration. [How to Submit]
  8. Fiction
    Honours a work of short fiction first published by the magazine. [How to Submit]
  9. Personal Journalism
    Honours outstanding magazine writing that focuses on the personal experiences of the writer. [How to Submit]
  10. Poetry
    Honours a work of poetry first published by the magazine. Entries may consist of a single poem or a series of up to three poems by the same author from a single issue. [How to Submit]
  11. Profiles
    Honours outstanding magazine writing that focuses on one person or a group. [How to Submit]
  12. Service Journalism
    Honours outstanding magazine writing that is driven by informational or instructional content in any field or subject. [How to Submit]
  13. Best Emerging Writer
    Honours a writer whose early work in magazines shows the highest degree of craft and promise. This category is open to students and writers with a maximum three years experience in professional journalism, and who have never been nominated for a National Magazine Award, Digital Publishing Award, or National Magazine Award: B2B. Entries must consist of a single feature article (with a 2000 word count minimum). Entrants may also include up to two (2) additional feature articles (for these additional articles, there are no word count requirements and submission is optional). A reference letter from a teacher, mentor, editor or colleague, attesting to the candidate’s eligibility, and providing context for the work, is also required. [How to Submit]
  14. Illustration (incl. Spot & Photo Illustration)
    Honours outstanding illustration, single or series accompanying a single article, including cover, photo and spot illustration. [How to Submit]
  15. Portrait Photography
    Honours outstanding photography, single photograph or series, for a single article on one or more people. [How to Submit]
  16. Lifestyle Photography
    Honours outstanding photography, single photograph or series, of a lifestyle or still-life subject including food, products, fashion, beauty, décor, homes and landscapes. [How to Submit]
  17. Photo Essay & Photojournalism
    Honours outstanding photography, single photograph or series, shot on location which records events or situations not controlled by the photographer. [How to Submit]
  18. One of a Kind Storytelling
    Honours outstanding magazine storytelling whose content or style is so unique that it does not fit the definition of any other category. Entries may consist of (but are not limited to) text, photographs and visual art, graphic narratives and comics, infographics, digital media, or any combination of elements serving a single story. The intent of this award is to recognize achievement in magazine storytelling that is not easily classified. [How to Submit]

EDITORIAL AWARDS

The seven Editorial Awards recognize excellence by a team of magazine editors, art directors, creators and other contributors. There will be a maximum of 10 finalists for each award. Gold and Silver awards include a certificate for each contributor and the winner’s seal.

$125/submission (+HST) Early Bird Rate
$150/submission (+HST) Regular Rate

  1. Art Direction of a Single Article
    Honours outstanding art direction of a single magazine article, reflecting the creative use of design and visual elements to enhance reader experience. [How to Submit]
  2. Best Editorial Package
    Honours an outstanding collection of articles and content on a related theme in a single issue, which reflects collaboration by writers, editors, art directors and/or visual creators. Elements may include (but are not limited to) annotations, illustrations, photography, sidebars, infographics and captions. Entries may consist of a series of related feature articles and content packaged together, or an entire special or thematic issue. [How to Submit]
  3. Art Direction Grand Prix
    Honours an individual responsible for the best art direction of an entire issue of a magazine. [How to Submit]
  4. Editor Grand Prix
    Honours an individual who is making an outstanding impact on a magazine as an editor. This category is open to editor-in-chiefs as well as senior-level editing staff who have demonstrated a high degree of excellence in their field. [How to Submit]
  5. Cover Grand Prix
    Honours outstanding creation of a magazine cover, reflecting collaboration by editors, circulators and art directors to enhance reader experience. [How to Submit]
  6. Issue Grand Prix
    Honours an outstanding issue, which will be judged in terms of overall quality and originality of the content as well as its relevance to the intended readers. [How to Submit]
  7. Publisher Grand Prix
    Honours the publisher whose brand best delivers on their editorial mandate through numerous platforms, which may include, in addition to a print or digital magazine: websites, special issues or other publications, mobile apps, social media platforms, television shows, podcasts, events, merchandising or any other initiatives or forms of audience engagement. [How to Submit]
GRAND PRIX: BEST MAGAZINE AWARDS

The four Best Magazine Awards honour the magazines that most consistently engage, surprise and serve the needs of their readers. These awards recognize outstanding achievement in magazine publishing over the past year. The jury shall evaluate each magazine according to four general criteria—quality, currency, design and reader experience. Each submitter will be asked, on the entry form, to provide a brief statement on each of the criteria for the jury’s consideration. There will be 3 finalists for each award and one overall winner. A publication may enter two of the Best Magazine categories. Entries from digital-only publications are eligible.

$125 (+HST) Early Bird Rate
$150 (+HST) Regular Rate

  1. Best Magazine: News, Business, General Interest
    Honours the most outstanding Canadian magazine whose editorial mandate focuses on general interest content, including but not limited to news, current events, society, sports, politics, business, science. [How to Submit]
  2. Best Magazine: Service & Lifestyle 
    Honours the most outstanding Canadian magazine whose editorial mandate focuses on lifestyle, fashion and beauty content, and/or has a clear service orientation, focusing on informational or instructional content in any field or subject. This category includes publications focussing on entertainment, fashion, beauty or style, food and beverage, outdoor activities, travel and tourism, home design, health and wellness, personal finance, parenting, recreation, and hobbies. [How to Submit]
  3. Best Magazine: Art, Literary, & Culture
    Honours the most outstanding Canadian magazine whose editorial mandate focuses on the literary, culture or visual arts, including but not limited to fiction, poetry, drama, literary criticism, photography, or visual arts. [How to Submit]
  4. Best Magazine: Special Interest
    Honours the most outstanding Canadian magazine serving a highly niche audience. A niche audience may include but not limited to children and young adult, industry professionals, students, regional or specific communities of readers. Special Interest issues are not eligible. [How to Submit]
SPECIAL AWARDS (No entry fee)

Magazine Grand Prix
Honours the magazine that delivers the best consistency, packaging and reader experience; that demonstrates overall excellence in bringing teams together to create a spectacular product; is aspirational and inspiring, helping to take magazine media to the next level.

Foundation Award for Outstanding Achievement
Honours an individual’s innovation and creativity through contributions to the Canadian magazine industry. This award may recognize creators, editors, publishers, art directors, circulation experts, marketing, sales and promotion professionals, production managers—in short, anyone in the industry. It cannot be given posthumously. [How to Submit]


ADDITIONAL CATEGORIES

New for 2021, we encourage NMA participants to submit their work to the following categories, which will compete among those submitted to the Digital Publishing Awards (DPA) and National Magazine Awards: B2B (NMA) programs. For this cross-programming initiative, all entries will be evaluated by a single panel of judges, and winners will be announced across all three programs. For more information, please see our rules

Best Editorial Newsletter

Honours the outstanding work of an individual or editorial team in creating original and engaging content via a regular email series that best serves its intended audience. Editorial elements may include but are not limited to text, audio, photographs, illustrations, infographics, and visual elements. Newsletters must be designed specifically for the email platform. They should feature original content and not simply a reproduction of the publication’s website.

This award recognizes email content which is editorial in nature. The newsletter can make use of reporting done for the publication’s other properties. Emails created for marketing or promotional purposes, or for the sole or main purpose of providing readers with links to the publication’s website content, should not be submitted for this category.

The quality of the content as well as the value to readers will be judged.

Judging Criteria: Judges should consider the following criteria in evaluating Best Editorial Newsletter:

  • Overall quality of the content and the design elements, relevance of the theme;
  • Successful integration of written visual, graphic-design, and other elements;
  • Functionality & user experience: How successfully does the publication’s newsletter series engage the intended audience?
  • Overall impact of the newsletter series.

There is no cash prize with this award.

Best Podcast: News and Politics

Honours the News and Politics podcast series that best serves its intended audience. The originality of the theme and the quality of production will be judged, as well as creative use of the podcasting or audio medium. Submissions must consist of 3 episodes.

Submission Requirements: Submit a URL to the main point of entry for the podcast series; and submit URLs to 3 specific episodes to be judged. Judges will be advised to evaluate the overall quality of the audio content and production (including reporting, mixing and editing) as well as its impact on the intended audience.

Judging Criteria: Judges should consider the following criteria in evaluating Best Podcast:

  • Overall quality of the audio production, including mixing and editing;
  • Overall quality of the audio content, including reporting;
  • Overall impact of the podcast: How successfully does the subject matter engage its intended audience?

Note: The length of the podcast should not be a primary consideration in evaluating the overall excellence of the podcast series.

There is no cash prize with this award.

Best Podcast: Arts and Culture

Honours the Arts and Culture podcast series that best serves its intended audience. The originality of the theme and the quality of production will be judged, as well as creative use of the podcasting or audio medium. Submissions must consist of 3 episodes.

Submission Requirements: Submit a URL to the main point of entry for the podcast series; and submit URLs to 3 specific episodes to be judged. Judges will be advised to evaluate the overall quality of the audio content and production (including reporting, mixing and editing) as well as its impact on the intended audience.

Judging Criteria: Judges should consider the following criteria in evaluating Best Podcast:

  • Overall quality of the audio production, including mixing and editing;
  • Overall quality of the audio content, including reporting;
  • Overall impact of the podcast: How successfully does the subject matter engage its intended audience?

Note: The length of the podcast should not be a primary consideration in evaluating the overall excellence of the podcast series.

There is no cash prize with this award.

Best Online Video: Short

Honours creative excellence in the production of a video by a digital publisher that is less than four (4) minutes in length. The video must have been produced for a digital platform. There is no cash prize with this award.

Submission Requirements: Submit a URL to the video to be judged. Judges will be advised that the overall quality and impact of the video relative to its intended audience, and not its length or subject matter, should be considered.

Judging Criteria: Judges should consider the following criteria in evaluating Best Online Video: Short:

  • Overall quality of video production, including videography and video editing;
  • Overall quality of the video content, reporting;
  • Overall impact of the video: How successfully does the subject matter engage its intended audience?

Note: The length of the video should not be a primary consideration in evaluating the overall excellence of the video.

This category rewards: Reporter(s); Video Producer(s); Video Editor(s); Videographer(s); Director(s); Other Contributor(s).

There is no cash prize with this award.

Best Online Video: Feature

Honours creative excellence in the production of a video by a digital publisher that is between four (4) and six (6) minutes in length. The video must have been produced for a digital platform. There is no cash prize with this award. *Videos that up to 6:30 minutes in length may be entered in this category OR in the Mini-doc category. However, the same video cannot be entered in both categories. Submitters must determine which category is best suited for the video submitted.

Submission Requirements: Submit a URL to the video to be judged. Judges will be advised that the overall quality and impact of the video relative to its intended audience, and not its length or subject matter, should be considered.

Judging Criteria: Judges should consider the following criteria in evaluating Best Online Video: Feature:

  • Overall quality of video production, including videography and video editing;
  • Overall quality of the video content, reporting;
  • Overall impact of the video: How successfully does the subject matter engage its intended audience?

Note: The length of the video should not be a primary consideration in evaluating the overall excellence of the video.

This category rewards: Reporter(s); Video Producer(s); Video Editor(s); Videographer(s); Director(s); Other Contributor(s).

There is no cash prize with this award.

Best Online Video: Mini-Doc

Honours creative excellence in the production of a video by a digital publisher that is longer than six (6) minutes in length. The video must have been produced for a digital platform.

Submission Requirements: 
Submit a URL to the video to be judged. Judges will be advised that the overall quality and impact of the video relative to its intended audience, and not its length or subject matter, should be considered.

Judging Criteria: 
Judges should consider the following criteria in evaluating Best Online Video: Mini-Doc:

  • Overall quality of video production, including videography and video editing;
  • Overall quality of the video content, reporting;
  • Overall impact of the video: How successfully does the subject matter engage its intended audience?

This category rewards: Reporter(s); Video Producer(s); Video Editor(s); Videographer(s); Director(s); Other Contributor(s).

There is no cash prize with this award.

Best Virtual Event

Honours the virtual event that best serves its intended audience with engaging, editorial content. The originality and production quality will be judged, as well as the creative use of the digital platform(s). There is no cash prize with this award.

Submission Requirements:

Submit a link (URL) to the online event and a brief statement (500 words) that:

  • Introduces the event to the jury;
  • Articulates how the event has existed, and persisted, in the online space, OR how the event has pivoted from in-person to online;*
  • Provides context for the development and deployment of the online event;
  • Comments on the impact and success of the online event (to assist judges in contextualizing these numbers, please include your intended goals and the current scope of your audience alongside actual numbers on event revenue and viewership).

Judging Criteria:

  • Overall quality of the online event production—consider both the audio and video production quality, and the use of the digital platform.
  • Overall quality of the online event content—is the content original, fresh, and exciting? Is the content suited for, or well-adapted for, the online space?
  • Overall impact of the online event—how successfully does the event engage its intended audience? Is there evidence of—and room for—social media engagement and/or interactive participation?

LOOKING FOR EVEN MORE DIGITAL CATEGORIES? 

Written and visual content from tablet magazines and magazine websites is eligible in most NMA categories. You may also submit digital content in our Digital Publishing Awards program, which was created specifically for Canadian digital publishers. Submissions for the 2021 Digital Publishing Awards will be accepted from December 22nd, 2020 to January 29th, 2021.