Forty years ago a gentleman by the name of Andrew MacFarlane, who was Dean of Journalism at the University of Western Ontario, set about building a coalition of institutions to form the foundation of what would become the National Magazine Awards. The goal was to create a truly national program that would recognize individual excellence in the many aspects of the magazine industry.
Forty years later that legacy has endured. As one creator told me, winning a National Magazine Award is regarded as the pinnacle of professional achievement in our industry.
Friday evening we will welcome many of Canada’s top creators to the 40th anniversary National Magazine Awards to recognize the phenomenal achievements of this year’s nominees and winners. As we pay tribute to the outstanding effort, professionalism, and raw talent of the individual creators, it is also a celebration of the broader magazine community and a nod to the people who trained the winners, mentored them, inspired them, gave them opportunities and, in many cases, took a chance on them. Our ability to nurture great Canadian creators reflects on us all.
It would have been hard for the NMAs’ founders to imagine the changes faced by the magazine industry in recent years and the impact that technology and data would play. Consumer audiences are being asked to be more savvy about the source and integrity of the media they consume, and there has never been so much competition for their time. But the principles of quality journalism and compelling art endure. All the while, magazines and the craftspeople who create them have been at the forefront of our society and culture. The diversity and breadth of this year’s nominees are a tribute to the role they play as the tastemakers, opinion-formers, trendsetters, style-shapers, curators, investigators, and artists who help to shape our national narrative and our identities as Canadians.
On the topic of change, this year’s program represents a significant renewal for the NMAs. In response to our industry consultation, we revised the categories to be much more focused on the craft that goes into creating work for a magazine and less focused on the subject matter. This enabled us to reduce the number of awards by 30 percent (making winning one an even tougher feat!). Although, with 25 awards, we still have almost double the 14 that were presented in 1977! Among other changes we have introduced, it’s exciting to think that the winners tonight were judged in part by judges from Yellowknife to St. John’s, San Francisco to New York, London to Paris—proudly elevating Canadian work on the global stage.
An enormous thank you to our sponsors and the hundreds of people who have helped bring this year’s awards to life, from the entrants to the volunteer judges and the board of directors. I’d like to add special thanks to the NMAF executive team who bring such rigour and passion to making the awards happen—Barbara Gould, Richard Johnson, Émilie Pontbriand, Leah Jensen, and Krista Robinson.
Enjoy the show! If you can’t join us, follow all the action on Twitter @MagAwards.
Nino Di Cara
The NMAF is proud to present the 2017 Foundation Award for Outstanding Achievement to Penny Caldwell, publisher and vice-president of Cottage Life Media.
Penny began her career in magazines as a freelance journalist, writing for sports and boating magazines at a time when it was rare for women to cover those topics. In the summer of 1988, a spirited new publication called Cottage Life debuted, and Penny was tapped to write a feature for the inaugural issue about how to buy a windsurfer.
“There’s no doubt about it,” wrote Penny in the opening lines of her first Cottage Life story, “those hot, lazy days of summer are better at the cottage—and best when you can spend most of your time in and around the water.” She still feels that way.
From her modest start as a freelance writer, Penny began to develop and hone the panoply of journalism and leadership skills that she has come to embody today. In 2000, she was named editor-in-chief of Cottage Life, where she quickly earned a reputation as an editor of considerable passion and frequent praise. In her 15-year tenure as editor, the Canadian Society of Magazine Editors named her its Editor of the Year a record four times, while Cottage Life won Magazine of the Year at the National Magazine Awards in 2003 and again in 2014.
“The hallmarks of Penny’s style are conscientiousness, diplomacy, and kindness. There are never any questions she won’t take the time to answer. No matter how tight the deadline, there is always time to adhere to the tight standards she sets for herself and inspires in her colleagues.”
—Cottage Life Media CEO Al Zikovitz
Consistent with the evolving roles of a modern magazine leader, Penny was named brand manager and later vice president of content strategy and development before assuming the mantle of publisher in 2015, succeeding Al Zikovitz. That year, the NMA jury named Cottage Life Canada’s Best Magazine Brand for demonstrating a level of innovation that sets the standard for the industry and represents how a magazine can succeed beyond print with dynamic and thriving extensions.
“As a publisher, Penny has demonstrated her adaptability to changing circumstances and serving readers across multiple platforms. This includes print, digital, television, e-commerce, and live events.”
—D.B. Scott, magazine consultant and publisher of Canadian Magazines
Today, Cottage Life reaches over six million Canadians every year as perhaps the savviest magazine brand in the country.
Beyond the walls of Cottage Life’s old cozy HQ at 54 St. Patrick Street in Toronto, Penny has made an indelible mark on the wider magazine industry as a mentor, teacher, volunteer, and advocate for a stronger magazine community. She was a member of the original Magazines Canada task force that developed the industry’s advertising-editorial guidelines, and has sat on the curriculum development committees of MagsU and MagNet.
“Penny’s insights and thoughtful contributions have always put the interest of readers first. Her calm, cool, and collected demeanor informs her success as an editor and publisher.”
—Patrick Walsh, editor-in-chief, Outdoor Canada
At Ryerson University’s Magazine and Web Publishing Program she taught students the finer points of building a career in magazines. Many colleagues have noted her interest in learning about new talent in the industry and looking for opportunities to mentor others.
“Penny seeks connections for everyone she meets. She sees that if she fosters this talent within our industry, our collective chances at success—at having healthy, thriving Canadian magazines—are so much greater.”
—Jess Ross, multiplatform content director at TVA Publications
All the while, Penny has frequently volunteered her time to sit on panels, juries, and boards of directors (including the NMAF from 2004 to 2010). Currently she serves as president of the International Regional Magazine Association (IRMA), where she has chaired awards committees, led numerous conference sessions, and developed the IRMA Connection initiative to improve communication and learning between members. “Penny is incredibly hard-working and an impressive problem solver who always has time for those who need her help,” says Tara Flint, executive director of IRMA. “She fosters positive discussions and brings out the best in others.”
Last year’s Outstanding Achievement Award winner, Kim Pittaway, sums it up aptly:
“Penny’s career exemplifies the best of what it means to lead a magazine: a deep respect for the audience, a commitment to the highest quality, a desire to innovate, and a dedication to respecting and fostering the talent of those with whom she works.”
For her commendable leadership in every role she has assumed, the NMAF is proud to honour Penny Caldwell with the 40th anniversary Foundation Award for Outstanding Achievement. Penny will receive her award and recognition at the 40th anniversary National Magazine Awards gala on May 26 in Toronto.
Tickets go on sale Thursday April 20 at magazine-awards.com.
The nominees for the 40th anniversary National Magazine Awards will be announced on Thursday April 20.
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 Judging Committee of the National Magazine Awards Foundation will consider the nominations, along with nominations from members of the Committee itself. The Board of the National Magazine Awards Foundation will select the winner.
For more information and previous winners, visit magazine-awards.com/oa.
Photo of Penny Caldwell by Daniel Ehrenworth
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.
The National Magazine Awards Foundation is pleased to announce a partnership with Studio Wyse for the creative design of the 40th anniversary National Magazine Awards. Art Director Vanessa Wyse and her team are the talent behind the new NMA40 logo, and will be creating the look and feel for the anniversary year creative, including the gala program and event material.
We are thrilled to have Vanessa overseeing the creative direction for our 40th anniversary. She’s an NMA winner and has a superb eye for design excellence. The NMAF is fortunate to have someone with such a great feel for Canadian magazine creation working with us for this milestone year.
— Nino Di Cara, President, NMAF
Vanessa has been nominated for 21 National Magazine Awards for her distinguished work at Chatelaine, Report on Business and, of course, The Grid. In 2012 she became the first Canadian art director in a dozen years to win the triple gold in Art Direction of an Entire Issue, Art Direction of a Single Article, and Best Magazine Cover. She has won 5 Gold Medals and 2 Silver Medals at the NMAs since 2004.
Check out StudioWyse.com for more.
“Studio Wyse has a long history with the NMAs and are thrilled to be involved in celebrating 40 years of editorial excellence. For this years visual direction we went back through the archives and took design cues from when the NMAs were established in 1977. We couldn’t resist the fun, colourful and quirky nature of magazines in this era. We built the design around Philip Kelly’s font, Pump, drawn for Letraset around this time, which had the perfect amount of character and sophistication for this special anniversary.”
The NMAF is getting ready for a huge year celebrating Canadian creators. We’ve announced our Call for Judges. And coming up on November 16, it’s Winners’ Circle–a networking event exclusively for NMA winners and nominees. RSVP to attend.
Stay tuned for updates on what’s new this year, and the Call for Entries for the 40th anniversary National Magazine Awards.
[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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.