Thank You! From the 40th Anniversary National Magazine Awards

The 40th anniversary National Magazine Awards gala, 26 May 2017, Arcadian Court, Toronto (Photo by Steven Goetz for the NMAF)

The 40th anniversary National Magazine Awards are in the books, and the NMAF would like to thank all of the amazing contributors, sponsors, partners, and everyone else who helped make this year’s awards program a successful and poignant celebration of Canadian magazine creators.
Thank you to Vanessa Wyse, Nicola Hamilton, and their team at Studio Wyse for creating and executing the look and feel of this year’s National Magazine Awards–including the gala program (right), tickets, stage design, and our social media design. We loved working with you!
Thank you to our three wonderful co-hosts–Kim Pittaway, Michael de Pencier, and D.B. Scott–for leading the show and delighting the audience with their wit and honouring the nominees and winners with such grace.
Thank you to Alicia Elliott for delivering a bold and timely keynote address on the issue of cultural appropriation and the role of magazines in educating Canadians.
Thank you to our Special Guests at the 40th anniversary National Magazine Awards gala and those who sent special video messages to our nominees and winners:

  • Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada;
  • His Worship John Tory, Mayor of Toronto;
  • Sally Armstrong, UNICEF Special Representative to Afghanistan, Amnesty International-recognized human rights journalist, and former Outstanding Achievement Award winner;
  • James Ireland, legend of Canadian magazine design and former Outstanding Achievement Award winner;
  • Ken Rodmell, legend of Canadian magazine design and former Outstanding Achievement Award winner;
  • Lynn Cunningham, Ryerson University Journalism School instructor and former Outstanding Achievement Award winner;
  • Stephen Trumper, Ryerson University Journalism School instructor and former Outstanding Achievement Award winner (and his daughter Hannah);
  • Al Zikovitz, CEO of Cottage Life Media and former Outstanding Achievement Award winner;
  • Paul Jones, long-time Maclean-Hunter and Rogers publisher, and former Outstanding Achievement Award winner;
  • Desmond Cole, 3-time National Magazine Award winner and Newstalk 1010 host;
  • Jennifer Varkonyi, publisher of Maisonneuve;
  • Peter McNeill, national director of KPMG Enterprise;
  • Hon Lu, National Magazine Award-winning writer;
  • Min Gyo Chung, National Magazine Award-winning illustrator;
  • Gilbert Li, award-winning art director and NMA judge;
  • Arjun Basu, senior vice president of Bookmark Content, NMA judge, and former NMAF president;
  • Marcel Courville, senior vice president of marketing at TC Transcontinental Printing;
  • Anna Principe, business development manager at Rolland Enterprises;
  • Jack Illingworth, literature officer at the Ontario Arts Council;
  • Laurie Smith, customer marketing manager at CNW, a Cision Company.

Thank you to our Judges–the 112 individuals who volunteered their time as peer experts in Canadian magazines, serving on our juries for the 40th anniversary awards.
Thank you to the 40 National Magazine Award winners who participated in our #40at40 anniversary story, where we asked 40 people to tell us about a magazine, a creator, or a magazine story that has had a big impact on their careers. [ See Twitter version | Download PDF version ]
Thank you to our Table Patrons who generously provided discounted tickets for nominated freelance creators:

Thank you to all our Sponsors and Partners for their enthusiastic support of the National Magazine Awards and Canadian magazine creators.
Thank you to the team at CCR Solutions for their production of the gala multimedia show.
Thank you to the team at Very Good Studios for their production of the nominees video.
Thank you to our wonderful staff and our Board of Directors for their hard work and guidance.
Thank you to Steven Goetz, our event photographer for this year’s National Magazine Awards. Check out the 2017 NMA photo gallery on our Facebook Page.



Check out all the photos here


Thank you to all our contributors to the 40th anniversary gala:
Program Editor: Richard A. Johnson
Program & Gala Art Direction & Design: Studio Wyse
Printing: Transcontinental Printing
Paper: Rolland Enterprises
Translation: Sophie Lecomte, Émilie Pontbriand
Copy Editing: Leah Edwards, Krista Robinson
Volunteer Coordination: Leah Jensen
Audiovisual Production: CCR Solutions
Nominees Montage: Very Good Studios
Production Interns: Eny Kuen, Leah Edwards
Outstanding Achievement Award Photography: Daniel Ehrenworth
Event Photography: Steven Goetz
News Release Distribution: CNW, a Cision Company
Chartered Accountants: Beckett Lowden Read, LLP
Caterer: Oliver & Bonacini
Venue: The Arcadian Court, Toronto
Special Thanks:

  • To our 40th anniversary Program Advisory Committee: Curtis Gillespie, Danielle Groen, and Kim Pittaway
  • To the Town of Huntsville, where Roy MacGregor’s original 1978 NMAF President’s Medal is now on display at the Canada Summit Centre Sports Memorabilia Collection.
  • To our hardworking event volunteers.

Congratulations to the participants, nominees and winners of the 40th anniversary National Magazine Awards. We look forward to seeing you next year!

Penny Caldwell's speech at the 40th anniversary National Magazine Awards

Penny Caldwell, publisher of Cottage Life, accepts the 2017 Foundation Award for Outstanding Achievement at the 40th anniversary National Magazine Awards gala in Toronto, 26 May 2017 (Photo by Steven Goetz / NMAF)

At last Friday’s 40th anniversary National Magazine Awards gala, the NMAF presented Penny Caldwell, publisher and vice-president of Cottage Life Media, with the Foundation Award for Outstanding Achievement, the highest individual honour presented in Canadian magazines.
We asked Penny to compose a message to the industry, which was presented in the 40th anniversary NMA gala program and comprised the basis of her acceptance speech at the gala. Here are Penny Caldwell’s complete remarks.


The Space Between

Our urgent need for innovative ideas and talented creators
by Penny Caldwell
I am honoured to receive this award and extend my sincere thanks to the National Magazine Awards Foundation, to my colleagues who nominated me, and to the many people who have contacted me since the news was announced.
Recently, a student at Cottage Life asked me what I have learned over the nearly forty years that I have worked in publishing. The best advice, I told her, was to manage your expectations but keep dreaming, work hard, be patient, and be adaptable.
That advice came to me from Doug Creighton, the founding publisher of the Toronto Sun when, fresh out of university, I was looking for a job. A family friend had arranged the interview, and Doug said he could probably get me a job on the copy desk working the night shift. What a thrill to imagine being part of a big daily newspaper, even as a proofreader on the night shift. Then he advised me not to take the job. Go out, he said, and find a place at a small newspaper where you will learn to do everything. So I went home and applied to every community newspaper across Canada, and I got a job as a sports reporter and columnist at the Whitby News Advertiser in Ajax.
The newspaper’s editor and senior reporters taught me a lot about crafting compelling stories. When one of the girls on the basketball team was fatally attacked by another student, I even covered a murder. But I recall the day I heard some surprising news: that the purpose of the stories we poured our hearts into was to fill the space between the ads.
If only it were that simple.
Fast forward. Most of us here tonight are still inescapably seduced by the power of storytelling. And while we can’t lose sight of the reality that, yes, in our legacy business the stories have traditionally been what fill up the spaces between the ads, we comfort ourselves that good content comes out on top. Content is king. Our readers pay for the content. Our advertisers pay to be close to the content. How close? Well, that’s the million-dollar question, isn’t it?
Ads are no longer simply adjacent to content,. Now they pop up in the middle of the stories—online and on our TV screens. Not that this is new. Who here remembers the issue of Saturday Night magazine in the late ‘90s, in which an excerpt of Mordecai’s Richler’s “Barney’s Version” was typeset to wrap around a vodka bottle? “Absolut Mordecai.”
While the business model for paid advertising evolves, so does our distribution method. Our world now includes an audience that doesn’t expect to have to shell out for content. And so, in an effort to attract the big numbers—not to mention big data—we give away our valuable content for free on our websites, on other digital channels, and in e-newsletters. Our advertising partners, who in the past clamoured to be close to the content, now want to be the content. Our industry has survived the inventions of radio and television, but I don’t know of a time in which magazines have been under more pressure to reinvent themselves—because with new technology we can, and because with new technology we have to. We now compete in more places and in more ways than ever for our customers’ time and money.
My twenty-year-old, idealistic, sports-reporter self says, what has the world come to? My present, practical business self says disruption happens, get on with it. The magazine industry must adapt—all of us here—in order to keep growing. We are going to have to find new sources of revenue, new innovative ways to engage our audiences that they will pay for. And that means learning everything possible about our customers. We’re going to have to find out what’s important to them, and tap into that passion.
My optimistic self says, we can do this. Yes, because we don’t have a choice if we want to survive. But also because as magazine creators we are very, very good at captivating audiences with compelling stories. Magazines are still a highly authentic, trusted platform whose halo has already enabled our industry to expand far beyond print into mega media brands comprising digital, social, video, audio, events, stores, merchandise, and even restaurants. If we continue to tell compelling, relevant stories, in whatever form, the audience will be there and they will pay. We still need good, high-quality content and the talented creators behind it. We still need to recognize its value in our business.
Tonight, we celebrate excellence. Tonight, we celebrate the creators. And tonight, I offer congratulations to those of you—editors, art directors, writers, photographers, illustrators, and publishers—who know how to tell the powerful Canadian stories that have such a profound influence on our society.
Finally, I would like to end with a thank you to Cottage Life, and particularly to Al Zikovitz, my mentor, friend, and long-time boss, who every day teaches me something new about hard work, being adaptable, and chasing your dreams.
Thank you.


Penny Caldwell (@PennyCaldwell) is the publisher and vice-president of Cottage Life Media. At this year’s 40th anniversary National Magazine Awards she was presented with the Foundation Award for Outstanding Achievement. Read her complete National Magazine Awards bio here
ABOUT THE OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
The NMAF’s most prestigious individual prize  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. The annual deadline for nominations is March 1.
For more information and previous winners, visit magazine-awards.com/oa.

Alicia Elliott's speech at the 40th anniversary National Magazine Awards

Host Kim Pittaway (right) greets Alicia Elliott on the stage of the 40th anniversary National Magazine Awards in Toronto, 26 May 2017 (photo by Steven Goetz / NMAF)

At last Friday’s 40th anniversary National Magazine Awards gala, the NMAF invited Tuscarora First Nations writer Alicia Elliott to deliver a keynote address, reflecting on the recent controversy in the Canadian magazine industry surrounding cultural appropriation and the roles that magazine media and creators play in contextualizing the debate and educating Canadians.
The NMAF is very grateful to Ms. Elliott for accepting this invitation and addressing the 300 guests gathered at the NMA gala on Friday.  Here are Alicia Elliott’s complete remarks, published with her permission:


She:kon.
Don’t worry, everybody. I promise I’m not here to take away your free speech. I’ve got maybe a handful and a half of publications, so I’m pretty sure I don’t have that kind of power. But you’re all writers, editors and publishers with some of the most prestigious publications in Canada. You have considerable power: to say what you want and know people will listen, to amplify any voice or perspective you want, to edit out or repress any voice or perspective you want. I hope after the past few weeks, you’ve all been reflecting on that responsibility.
This is not a responsibility to be taken lightly. Once a citizen reaches adulthood, Canada officially washes its hands of educating them. Your magazines are what fill that void. Each and every page of your publications are like classrooms: sometimes teaching readers new ideas, sometimes reinforcing old ones. Take a moment and think about that. What are you teaching Canadians? What are you refusing to teach Canadians? And who are you letting do that teaching?
The fact is many marginalized communities do not feel you’re doing a good enough job telling their stories. I know there have been efforts at diversifying the workplace to counteract this. People from many more identities and cultures are part of newsrooms and magazines than twenty years ago. There’s some progress. But are they in leadership positions? Are they listened to by their leaders? Are they supported by those leaders when fighting for their right to speak, to exist?
I’m sure many of you would like to think the establishments you work at are safe havens for marginalized writers. Otherwise, why would they work there, right? But I’d like to share with you a quote from journalist, activist, novelist and all-around bad ass James Baldwin. In his introduction to his essay collection Nobody Knows My Name, he wrote, “Havens are high-priced. The price exacted of the haven-dweller is that he contrive to delude himself into believing that he has found a haven.”
As many have pointed out, and as the continued ignorance displayed in national political cartoons and columns have shown, the media and literary communities in Canada are not havens. We are collectively deluding ourselves to believe otherwise. It only took the smallest pushback from indigenous people for those who have always had access to free speech to derail conversation, shake off all accountability and put us back in our place. When you exalt their voices by publishing their articles and columns, what are you teaching Canada? What are you saying to marginalized communities about their issues and your coverage of them? What are you saying about yourself?
Because it’s not just the marginalized who are searching for havens. Those in power are searching, too. Sometimes they want a haven from criticism and accountability, from hard questions and harder answers. And for some, when that haven is snatched away and the full extent of their responsibilities is made crushingly apparent, it’s too much. They don’t reflect and make real change. They search out the closest haven and run.
I’m here tonight to ask you NOT to run. I’m asking you to do hard work, to examine your own complicity in perpetuating these problems, to be vulnerable with us, to have difficult conversations with us, to offer us a hand up instead of another push down. I’m here tonight to ask you to admit you don’t know it all, to ask questions, to learn and to do better.
We’re currently creating the world our children and grandchildren will grow up in, which means all of our actions and our inaction carry immense weight. Are you going to make future generations proud? Or are you going to make their work harder? Ultimately, that decision is your responsibility. There is no haven from that.
Nya:weh’kowa.


Alicia Elliott is a Tuscarora writer from Six Nations currently living in Brantford, Ontario. Her writing has most recently been published by CBC Arts, Room, Grain, The New Quarterly and The Malahat Review. She’s on Twitter @WordsandGuitar
Read Alicia Elliott’s short essay on CBC.ca about why “The cultural appropriation debate isn’t about free speech — it’s about context.”
Read Alicia Elliott’s National Magazine Award-winning essay “A Mind Spread Out on the Ground” (The Malahat Review).
The 40th anniversary National Magazine Award winners were announced on Friday, 26 May at the Arcadian Court in Toronto. Catch up on all the news and winners here.

Photo Gallery of the 37th annual National Magazine Awards


Images of last Friday’s 37th National Magazine Awards gala are now online. Photography by KlixPix for the National Magazine Awards Foundation.
The NMAF wishes to thank all of its sponsors, judges and guests for another wonderful event. Congratulations again to the winners of the 37th National Magazine Awards.
Click to view the photo gallery.