Call for Judges

National Magazine Awards 2020 call for judges header image.

As the 2020 awards season gears up, the NMAF is now welcoming applications for judges for the National Magazine Awards, Digital Publishing Awards, and National Magazine Awards: B2B.

Ideal candidates should fulfill one or more of the following criteria:

  • Internationally renowned journalist, editor, designer or other expert with an interest in supporting the NMAF fulfill its mission;
  • Editor, art director, publisher, web editor or other staff member (past or present) of a Canadian magazine, whether or not your publication participates in the National Magazine Awards, Digital Publishing Awards, or National Magazine Awards: B2B;
  • Freelance or staff writer, illustrator, photographer or digital creator, where a significant portion of your work is in Canadian publications (especially if you have been nominated for or won a National Magazine Award, Digital Publishing Award, or National Magazine Award: B2B yourself);
  • Journalist (print, broadcast, digital) with expertise in a particular field represented by one or more NMA, DPA, or NMA: B2B categories (such as photojournalism, service, arts & culture, fiction, poetry, etc);
  • Academic or industry leader with expertise in a particular field;
  • Professionals and leaders from related cultural sectors, including the visual arts (film and television), the literary arts (book writing & publishing) and the performing arts (theatre, music);
  • Bilingual: Not all of our judges need be bilingual, but all awards juries will have at least one bilingual member.

We welcome applications from individuals who bring different industry perspectives – from recognized leaders to celebrated emerging talents. We also aim for the judging panels to reflect our country’s diverse Indigenous, cultural, and regional communities.

Judging will take place during February and March 2020. For more information, or to nominate a peer to the jury, contact us at staff@magazine-awards.com.

We’re proud to have had some of the finest Canadian journalists and experts serve on our past juries.


Alicia Elliott headshot

It was such an enriching experience to be a judge for the NMAs. Being able to appreciate the work of my peers, and discuss their work with the other judges, made me feel like even more a part of the literary community that has supported and nourished me. — Alicia Elliott, award-winning Tuscarora writer from Six Nations of the Grand River, Brantford, ON.

Luc Rinaldi headshot

Getting your hands on a B2B magazine can be tricky if you don’t belong to a particular profession. As an NMA: B2B judge, I had the pleasure of reading new publications and discovering the rich journalistic and artistic talent behind them. — Luc Rinaldi, senior editor, Pivot magazine, Toronto, ON.

Dawn Chafe headshot

I enjoy the process because it gives me the opportunity to contribute both individually and collectively. Entering my own scores for each entry validates the time I spend reviewing and assessing each submission; discussing my assessments with the other judges during our conference call provides the opportunity to weigh the value of those assessments against the opinions of other industry experts and (on occasion) to argue in favour of work which I feel may have been undervalued.
Dawn Chafe, executive editor, Atlantic Business Magazine, St. John’s, NL.

It’s a great honour to judge the NMAs and see some of the best magazine work happening in Canada. I love editorial design and it’s wonderful when some of the winning entries are small, independent publications that understand great design is integral to their success. — Fidel Peña, creative director and co-founder of Underline Studio, Toronto, ON.

Arjun Basu headshot

Judging the NMAs allows you to keep tabs on industry leaders, validate someone’s hard work, and boost a worthy talent’s own career. It’s also an easy way to give back to a community that has given all of us so much.
Arjun Basu, senior vice president, Product at Bookmark Content and Communications, Montreal, QC.

Kim Pittaway headshot

The NMAs focus on creators, the people who are create the work that makes everything else possible. Given all of the challenges that creators face in earning a living, participating in a process that recognizes and rewards their efforts is, I think, important and valuable work.
Kim Pittaway, former editor, Chatelaine, and journalism teacher, Dartmouth, NS.

Stephen Trumper headshot

Serving as a judge for the National Magazine Awards, which I have done for at least ten years, is always a highlight of my reading year. It’s like receiving an engaging anthology of great writing by exciting emerging writers, masterful old pros, and hidden treasures. And you get the honour of choosing the best of a wonderful bunch! What could possibly be better?
Stephen Trumper, writer, editor, teacher, volunteer, Toronto, ON.

Kim Jernigan headshot

 I think the NMAs themselves are a valuable measure of the accomplishments of Canadian magazine writers and editors. As to the process, we were given sufficient time and a workable structure both leading up to and in the conversation itself. My fellow judges offered interesting insights into the work considered and the process was both engaged and congenial.
Kim Jernigan, former editor, The New Quarterly, Waterloo, ON.

Ossie Michelin headshot

Volunteering as a judge with the National Media Awards was a great experience, it really gave me a chance to see the depth and variety of voices being published in Canadian magazines right now, this flourishing of diverse perspectives and thoughts make right now a very exciting time for Canadian media. — Ossie Michelin, award-winning Inuk journalist and activist from the community of North West River, Labrador.

D.B. Scott headshot

Having been involved since the 1980s, as a board member, president (1991) a member of a special review committee (Strategic Speculation) and a frequent judge, I have a real investment in the event. What I like most of all is the emphasis the awards have nurtured of rewarding the effort of individual creators (rather than the publications, which get to bask in the reflected glory anyway.) Some no longer seem to value, or understand, this. But it is one of the things which makes the MagAwards special.
D.B. Scott, publisher, Canadian Magazines blog, Cambridge, ON.


The NMAF is a bilingual, not-for-profit, charitable organization whose mission is to foster, recognize and promote editorial excellence in Canadian publications. Submissions will open in December for awards honouring the best in Canadian magazines and publishing in 2019.

For more information, please contact staff@magazine-awards.com.


Our thanks to all NMA40 Submitters! Let the Judging Commence


The submissions to the 40th anniversary National Magazine Awards are in, and we are excited to have over 1000 submissions and 197 Canadian magazines represented in this year’s program, competing for awards in 25 categories.
Our thanks to all of the publishers, editors, art directors and creators who submitted their work this year, especially to the more than 200 freelancers who participated.
The National Magazine Awards Foundation strives above all to represent and support the work of Canada’s creators. It’s why, for forty years now, we have facilitated an awards program that celebrates the excellence, determination and innovation that characterize the best of our country’s journalism.
Now we turn to our judges—120 of the leading experts in magazine publishing, design and creation from across Canada and the world—to lend their expertise in service to their peers.
The role of the judges is central to the NMAs. Their judgment, perspectives and integrity represent the very best of journalism, too. Their appraisal of these submissions will not only reward the individuals and teams who’ve achieved success, but it will also become the measure by which our future work is appreciated by readers and audiences across the country. The NMAF offers its sincerest thanks to all of our judges for taking on this important role.
How does judging work? Great question. We believe all awards programs should be clear and transparent about their judging procedures, and our goal has always been the same. 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.
The nominations for the 40th Anniversary National Magazine Awards will be announced on April 20.
Subscribe to our MagAwards Blog or Newsletter to receive the nominations to your inbox, and follow us on Twitter @MagAwards for updates throughout the spring, including the announcement of the 40th Anniversary National Magazine Awards Gala. Awards in Writing and Visual categories include a cash prize of $1000.
The NMAF is also accepting nominations for the Outstanding Achievement Award and the new International Impact Award. Deadline March 1.
Thank you for participating in the 40th anniversary National Magazine Awards. We look forward to a great year ahead, Celebrating Canadian Creators.

Call for Entries: 40th Anniversary National Magazine Awards


The National Magazine Awards Foundation is proud to present a bold new lineup of awards for 2017—our 40th anniversary of Celebrating Canadian Creators.
We are now accepting submissions. Deadline January 20.
This year’s National Magazine Awards will feature 25 categories structured to emphasize the unique forms and functions of magazine journalism. Writing and Visual Awards include a cash prize of $1000 to the Gold Medal winners.

“For our 40th anniversary year, the NMAF challenged itself to make our awards programs more valuable and more prestigious to Canadian creators. I’m grateful to our participants, partners and stakeholders for consistently reminding us how important the NMAF brand is as a leader in our industry, and for guiding us towards a stronger and better National Magazine Awards. We look forward to honouring your work this year, and establishing new benchmarks of excellence in journalism.”
– Nino Di Cara, President, NMAF

In most categories, there will be a maximum of 10 finalists determined by the jury, and the top two will win the Gold and Silver medals. All other finalists will receive Honourable Mention.
Read more about these awards and category definitions.
How and why did the NMAF decide to eliminate certain categories this year?
Check out our FAQ for all the answers.
GUIDE TO THE 40th ANNIVERSARY NMAs
Download our Guide to the 40th National Magazine Awards for a handy reference to categories, criteria, submissions guidelines, rules, deadlines and more.
FREELANCER SUPPORT FUND
Last month the NMAF announced a new program for freelancers to save 50% on entries to the National Magazine Awards. Find out more.
SMALL MAGAZINE REBATE
Magazines with under $200,000 in annual revenue may be eligible for the Small Magazine Rebate, equal to 1 FREE ENTRY. Apply by January 13. Find out more.
JUDGING PROCESS
The NMAF has announced changes to its judging process, including more robust criteria and scoring procedures, and an amalgamation of the two-tiered judging system for written categories.
Read about the new NMAF Judging Process.
Find out how to get involved as a judge for the National Magazine Awards and the Digital Publishing Awards.
Read about our new International Judges.
HOW TO SUBMIT
1. Review the Categories, Rules, FAQ, & Instructions
2. Register online at submissions.magazine-awards.com
3. Enter the details of each submission
4. Upload a PDF of each submission
5. Pay the required entry fees ($95 for most entries)
6. Courier hard copies (if required)
DIGITAL PUBLISHING AWARDS
Last month the NMAF announced an expanded program for the 2017 Digital Publishing Awards, featuring 22 categories recognizing excellence by the creators of Canadian Digital Publications, including online and tablet magazines. Submissions for the Digital Publishing Awards will open on January 2.
DEADLINES
January 13: NMA Early Bird Deadline
January 20: NMA Final Deadline
January 27: Magazine of the Year Deadline
January 31: Digital Publishing Awards Deadline
40th ANNIVERSARY GALA
We’ll be announcing the details of the 40th anniversary National Magazine Awards gala later this winter. Stay tuned right here on the NMA blog.
READY TO SUBMIT?
Click here and get started

Call for Judges: 40th Anniversary National Magazine Awards


The National Magazine Awards Foundation is getting ready to honour the best in Canadian magazine and digital journalism at the 40th anniversary National Magazine Awards and 2nd annual Digital Publishing Awards. The NMAF is currently accepting nominations for individuals to serve on the juries for this year’s awards programs, and join the great tradition of recognizing achievement by the creators of Canadian magazines and digital publications.

One of the reasons I volunteer as a judge for the NMAs is that the process is very well organized, completely transparent and fair. I really enjoy the discussion with my fellow judges. It’s collegial, and I almost always learn something. And every year I discover a few outstanding new writers who have produced great work. That’s a gift.
Kelly Toughill, Director, School of Journalism, University of King’s College, Halifax, NS

Ideal candidates should fulfill one or more of the following criteria:

  • Internationally renowned journalist, editor, designer or other expert with an interest in supporting the NMAF fulfill its new strategic mission to Celebrate Canadian Creators wherever they publish.
  • Editor, art director, publisher, web editor or other staff member (past or present) of a Canadian magazine, whether or not your publication participates in the National Magazine Awards or Digital Publishing Awards;
  • Freelance or staff writer, illustrator, photographer or digital creator, where a significant portion of your work is in Canadian publications (especially if you have been nominated for or won a National Magazine Award or Digital Publishing Award yourself);
  • Journalist (print, broadcast, digital) with expertise in a particular field represented by one or more NMA or DPA categories (such as health, business, photojournalism, science, service, politics, fiction, poetry, etc);
  • Academic or industry leader with expertise in a particular field;
  • BilingualNot all of our judges need be bilingual, but all awards juries will have at least one bilingual member.

Judging will take place during February and March 2017, and the NMAF is currently hard at work revising our judging procedures and awards criteria thanks to your feedback and participation in our surveys and working groups. We’ll be announcing our new Judging Procedure soon.
Contact us at staff@magazine-awards.com for more information and to nominate someone to the jury.
The NMAF is proud to have some of Canada’s most respected journalists and experts serve on its past juries.

stevesI judge for the NMAs because I want to give back to the magazine industry and contribute its health. It also gives me the chance to see where other magazines in the country are having their successes.
Steven Sandor, Editor, Avenue Edmonton, AB


The NMAs focus on creators, the people who are create the work that makes everything else possible. Given all of the challenges that creators face in earning a living, participating in a process that recognizes and rewards their efforts is, I think, important and valuable work.
Kim Pittaway, former editor, Chatelaine, and journalism teacher, Dartmouth, NS


I think the NMAs themselves are a valuable measure of the accomplishments of Canadian magazine writers and editors. As to the process, we were given sufficient time and a workable structure both leading up to and in the conversation itself. My fellow judges offered interesting insights into the work considered and the process was both engaged and congenial.
Kim Jernigan, former editor, The New Quarterly, Waterloo, ON



I enjoy being part of any process that involves visual communication. It helps me to learn more about my work as well as connect with others in the industry.
Brent Morrison, Art Director, Swerve magazine, Calgary, AB


I enjoy the process because it gives me the opportunity to contribute both individually and collectively. Entering my own scores for each entry validates the time I spend reviewing and assessing each submission; discussing my assessments with the other judges during our conference call provides the opportunity to weigh the value of those assessments against the opinions of other industry experts and (on occasion) to argue in favour of work which I feel may have been undervalued.
Dawn Chafe, Executive Editor, Atlantic Business Magazine, St. John’s, NL



Having been involved since the 1980s, as a board member, president (1991) a member of a special review committee (Strategic Speculation) and a frequent judge, I have a real investment in the event. What I like most of all is the emphasis the awards have nurtured of rewarding the effort of individual creators (rather than the publications, which get to bask in the reflected glory anyway.) Some no longer seem to value, or understand, this. But it is one of the things which makes the MagAwards special.
D.B. Scott, publisher, Canadian Magazines blog, Cambridge, ON


I enjoy the chance to dive deep into excellent work that I might have missed the first time around. It’s also a chance to (literally) cast my vote for storytelling that serves the reader and the material, not just the reputation of the writer or magazine.
Susan Catto, editor, Hello! Canada, Toronto, ON


The NMAF is a bilingual, not-for-profit, charitable organization whose mission is to foster, recognize and promote editorial excellence in Canadian publications. Submissions will open in November for awards honouring the best in Canadian magazines and digital publications in 2016. The 40th anniversary National Magazine Awards gala and the 2nd annual Digital Publishing Awards soiree will be held in the spring of 2017.
For more information, please contact staff@magazine-awards.com.

NMAF Announces New Strategic Initiatives & Board Members


[This post has been updated.]
The National Magazine Awards Foundation (NMAF) is pleased to announce a number of important changes and new initiatives as we get ready to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the National Magazine Awards and an exciting new year for the Digital Publishing Awards.
At its AGM and meeting of August 30th, the NMAF Board of Directors approved a new strategic plan that will ensure the National Magazine Awards and Digital Publishing Awards continue their important role in recognizing and celebrating Canadian creators.
These changes are designed to maintain and advance the NMAF’s 40-year status as the gold standard of creative excellence and the pinnacle of professional achievement for award recipients. Specific initiatives include:

  • Refining the categories of the National Magazine Awards to a more focused number of awards;
  • A reformatted awards event to facilitate more conversation and networking;
  • Introducing a more rigorous definition and criteria of the Magazine of the Year award;
  • Expanding the Digital Publishing Awards;
  • A more streamlined judging process for assessing English and French submissions in the same category;
  • Enhancing the national footprint of the awards through more regional events and closer collaboration with regional institutions outside of Ontario;
  • Being more inclusive of the diversity in Canadian magazine and digital publishing;
  • In a first for any Canadian publishing awards, raising the profile of Canadian creators on the international stage, by:
    • recognizing the excellence of Canadian contributors to international media, and
    • introducing judges from the international magazine community.

The NMAF invites all members of the Canadian magazine industry—whether you regularly participate in the awards or not—to join us in this process, whether volunteering to serve on the board, committees or working groups; volunteering as a judge; or simply providing your input on how the NMAF can best serve Canada’s magazine and digital creators. Get in touch with us at staff@magazine-awards.com.
NEW BOARD MEMBERS
The NMAF is pleased to announce that Nino Di Cara has been elected Board President for a two-year term effective August 30. Mr. Di Cara is the Executive Vice-President, Content Marketing, at Bookmark (formerly Spafax), and previously held senior titles at Rogers Communications and TC Media.
Mr. Di Cara has been elected with a broad mandate to spearhead new strategic initiatives for the NMAF, as well as to engage and work collaboratively with the Foundation’s stakeholders—creators, publishers, judges, partners, sponsors and more—to build on the NMAF’s core mission to Celebrate Canadian Creators.
To help achieve this exciting agenda for 2017 and beyond, the NMAF is pleased to announce the first wave of new additions to its board:
JoAnne Caza is a member of the Mercedes-Benz Canada executive team. She heads up the Communications and Public Relations department which is responsible for several of the marketing activities at Mercedes-Benz Canada. She is the company’s spokesperson and the PR aspect of her job includes day-to-day media relations on a corporate front as well for all of Mercedes-Benz’ brands.
Derek Finkle is the founder of Canadian Writers Group which represents independent Canadian writers, and which aligned with Parcel, a brand strategy and communications design firm, in 2016. He is the former editor of Toro magazine, contributing editor of Saturday Night, and a National Magazine Award-winning writer. He is the author of the book No Claim to Mercy, an examination of the troubling Robert Baltovich murder case. No Claim to Mercy won the Crime Writers’ Arthur Ellis Award for best non-fiction and was named a Notable Book of the Year by The Globe and Mail.
Tom Gierasimczuk is an award-winning journalist and media executive with a proven record of developing effective multi-platform, editorially driven marketing strategies that engage audiences and infuse brand communication with purpose and utility. Tom has built media properties for clients ranging from WestJet Airlines to Microsoft while working in senior leadership roles with Canada’s largest media and communications companies including Rogers Media, Transcontinental, Canada Wide Media and Yellow Pages, where he was Publisher and GM of Vancouver magazine and Western Living.
Peter McNeill is the National Director of KPMG Enterprise and a marketing executive with over twenty years of experience providing leadership and strategy to both start-ups and major Fortune 500 brands. He specializes in Global Brand Building and Management, Marketing Programs, Partnerships & Alliances, Marketing Strategy, People Management, Public Relations, Digital Media, Business Development. He has previously served as Chair of the Board of Directors of United Way of York Region.
Raf Katigbak is Creative Lead at Virtue, the agency arm of VICE. He started at VICE as a columnist in the magazine in 2004, eventually becoming the Canadian editor of the publication, and then Senior Editor of the ‪VICE.com website. Over the years, he’s produced engaging, multi-platform content including documentaries, photo essays, and field reports, and written stories for a variety of publications and companies including The Montreal Mirror, En Route, and ALDO.
Dan McPhee is Head of Media Platforms at Google Canada. He is a trailblazing sales and marketing strategy thought leader, specializing in helping organizations capture market share while improving their bottom line. Combining deep business knowledge with a complete understanding of today’s consumer, Dan transforms business units into profitable market leaders that know how to win, and win the moments that matter.
Erin Millar is the Co-Founder and CEO of Discourse Media. She is an author, public speaker, magazine writer, and former president of Canadian University Press. She has reported from 15 countries around the world and her work has been translated into 34 languages. She teaches journalism at Quest University.
Our new electives join an existing NMAF Board of Directors that includes:

  • Liana Bell, CA, CPA, Partner, Clark-Henning LLP (Treasurer)
  • Joyce Byrne, Publisher, Avenue Magazine (Past President)
  • Julie Cailliau, Editor-in-Chief, Les Affaires
  • Christopher Frey, Toronto Correspondent, Monocle
  • Curtis Gillespie, Editor, Eighteen Bridges
  • David Hayes, Freelance Journalist
  • Judith Pereira, Senior Editor, Report on Business
  • Marnie Peters, Associate Vice-President, Public Relations, Royal Ontario Museum
  • Paul Roelofs, Creative Director & Publication Designer, Vancouver Magazine & Western Living
  • Terry Sellwood, former President, Cottage Life Media (Executive-At-Large)
  • Melony Ward, Publisher, Canada’s History & Kayak
  • Lisa Whittington-Hill, Publisher, THIS Magazine

MORE TO COME
We are humbled by the fact that, according to feedback from our stakeholder surveys, Canadian magazine publishers and creators continue hold the NMAF brand in the highest regard as a not-for-profit, charitable organization that facilitates trustworthy, inclusive and transparent awards programs that reflect the strength and breadth of magazine and digital publishing across Canada.
We encourage all Canadian publishers, editors, art directors, staff and contributors to join us as we celebrate the 40th anniversary National Magazine Awards and the 2nd annual Digital Publishing Awards.
The NMAF will provide regular updates this fall regarding strategic initiatives and changes to its awards programs.