The Foundation Award for Outstanding Achievement is the most prestigious individual honour granted by the National Media Awards Foundation. While the 44th annual call for entries has closed, applications for this award remain open until March 2, 2021.
The award honours innovation and creativity, and is open to nearly everyone in the Canadian magazine industry: creators, editors, publishers, art directors, circulation experts, marketing, sales and promotion professionals, and production managers. Don Gillmor, Linda Spalding, Joyce Byrne, Penny Caldwell, and Kim Pittaway are just a few of the recent OA winners. For a full list of recipients—dating back to 1989—visit the Outstanding Achievement section of our website.
To submit a nomination, please include a cover letter indicating the candidate’s name, title, and a summary of their career achievements, including links to or examples of their work, as well as at least two supporting letters from other individuals. Email the entire nomination (as one PDF file) to email@example.com.
Our sister programs are also seeking nominations for a number of special awards. If you would like to nominate a colleague or peer for the DPA’s Digital Publishing Leadership Award or the Emerging Excellence Award, you have until March 2, 2021.Last year’s winners were Dmitry Beniaminov and Jane Lytvynenko, respectively.
On the NMA: B2B side, the B2B Leadership Award—recognizing outstanding career achievement, contributions to the industry, and overall leadership of a member of the Canadian B2B media industry—is accepting applications until March 2, 2021.
Gillmor grew up in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and graduated from the University of Calgary in 1977. He is a novelist, journalist, and children’s book author, and is the recipient of 11 National Magazine Awards medals and 41 National Magazine Awards honourable mentions.
His collection of NMAs began in 1991, when he won a silver medal for “Dangerous Liaisons,” published in Saturday Night. Most recently, in 2016, he received a silver medal for “A Poet Self-Destructs,” published in The Walrus. In the 25 years between, Gillmor has earned honourable mentions “in categories ranging from Essays to Profiles to Personal Journalism to Arts and Entertainment to Travel to Short Feature to Politics and Public Affairs to Editorial Package to Humour to Lifestyle to Business to One of a Kind to Sports and Recreation to Social Affairs to Investigative Reporting to Fiction to Environmental Journalism,” notes Dianna Symonds, freelancer editor, former managing editor of Maclean’s, and editor of Saturday Night. She goes on to ask, “Is there any category in which he hasn’t had a nomination? Perhaps Poetry.”
Aside from Gillmor’s remarkable NMA track record, Gillmor was involved with The Walrus as contributor and editor, and was a longtime contributing editor at Saturday Night—two of Canada’s most recognizable magazines. He has written “for Maclean’s, Legion magazine, Toronto Life, Report on Business, enRoute—and that’s leaving aside his stories for the Toronto Star and The Globe and Mail” says Symonds.
So, what is it about Gillmor’s writing and stories that resonate so widely? Perhaps it’s the “[c]alm and uncluttered prose. Sober-minded assessment of the facts without judgment. A bone-dry trace of humour. A skeptical but not cynical intelligence that generously presumes the same of the reader,” says Curtis Gillespie, author, journalist and board member of the National Media Awards Foundation. It could be “his empathy and understanding of even the reprehensible among us—his appreciation of human foibles and failings, ego and desire” says Anne Collins, Publisher at The Knopf Random Canada Publishing Group. Consider, too, “the deft storytelling, the sly sense of humour, and the occasional sentence that has the reader come to a full stop in order to absorb what’s on the page or screen” adds Symonds.
This masterful storytelling extends beyond the magazine world. Collins—impressed by Don’s “magic, on display for us in print and now online for more than 30 years”—continued to work with Gillmor after she left the field. She published two of his novels (Long Change in 2015 and Mount Pleasant in 2013) and two works of non-fiction. The most recent of which is To the River (2018); that book went on to win the 2019 Governor General’s Literary Award for non-fiction and was a CBC Best Book of 2019.
Gillmor has also mentored emerging writers at The Banff Centre’s Literary Journalism program, and currently teaches creative writing courses at the University of Toronto’s School of Continuing Studies. He has consulted on methods of long-form journalism for Legion Magazine, and since 2017, “has been writing the magazine’s back-page column “O Canada” says Eric Harris, Editor of Legion Magazine.
In his letter of nomination, Gillespie posed a series of questions: “Who has mentored countless other writers? Who has been part of the founding and/or editorial team of nearly every major general interest magazine in Canada? Who never, ever mails it in? Who is the gold standard in Canada? Who deserves the Outstanding Achievement award for 2020? Answer: Don Gillmor.”
The National Media Awards Foundation concurs with that answer. For Gillmor’s incredible contributions to the Canadian magazine industry, we are proud to present him with this prestigious award. Congratulations, Don!
Though the 2020 Call for Entries has closed, we are still accepting submissions for the prestigious Outstanding Achievement Award. Since 1990, this award has recognized an individual’s innovation and creativity through contributions to the magazine industry.
The award is open to nearly everyone in the industry—circulation experts, editors, marketing, sales and promotion professionals, publishers, creators, designers, production managers. Please note that it cannot be given posthumously.
What do I need to enter?
A letter of nomination, including a brief bio of the nominee and a summary of their career achievements.
At least two (2) supporting letters from other individuals in the Canadian magazine industry or colleagues of the nominee.
“Joyce doesn’t look for easy,” notes Penny Caldwell, former editor and publisher of Cottage Life. “Since bursting onto the magazine publishing scene, she has consistently reached beyond her own sphere to help others.”
Just before launching her career in the early 2000s, Joyce took a publishing course with D. B. Scott at Ryerson University. There, she met Anicka Quin, who is now editorial director of WesternLiving and Vancouver magazines. Quin recalls the meeting: “[Joyce] was there with her wicked sense of humour, and she quickly stood out as one of the only ones there who was really ready to be a part of this industry.”
And ready, she was. During her tenure as publisher of This Magazine, from 2001 to 2005, the publication excelled on the business and editorial side.
“This Magazine has only been nominated once in its 52-year history for Magazine of the Year at the National Magazine Awards and it was during Joyce’s time as publisher, a testament to her leadership and the excellent magazine it produced,” notes Lisa Whittington-Hill, Joyce’s successor and current publisher of This.
In 2005, Joyce left This Magazine in the capable hands of Whittington-Hill and moved to Edmonton, joining award-winning Venture Publishing as vice-president and associate publisher. There, she focused her work on Alberta Venture and unlimited magazines. In 2008, unlimited became the first Alberta-based magazine to win a National Magazine Award for Art Direction of an Entire Issue, a remarkable achievement for the team of the newly launched publication. During that time, Joyce also helped launch Eighteen Bridges, a literary magazine with an impressive collection of National Magazine Awards.
In 2014, Joyce moved some 300 kilometers south and became publisher of yet another celebrated magazine: Avenue Calgary. So brilliantly has she led the team of the award-winning lifestyle publication that her role was recently expanded to group publisher.
As a publisher, Joyce favors a collaborative approach.
“While she knows so much about the industry and magazines—from an encyclopedic knowledge of cover concepts published around the world to an up-to-the-minute grasp on the leading ideas about where the industry is going and how to improve sales—she is a great collaborator and listens to ideas and input from all levels of her staff,” affirms Käthe Lemon, editor-in-chief of Avenue Calgary.
“Of all the people I’ve worked for or with, I have rarely if ever had the opportunity to work with anyone more dedicated to the magazine publishing industry or who loves magazines more—indeed, I’m not sure such a person exists,” Lemon adds.
A quick glance at her career illuminates Joyce’s commitment to magazine publishing. Throughout the years, she has worked with magazines ranging in topics from trade, politics and literature to business and city life, and remains as passionate as ever about magazines. In addition to her role as publisher and her various pro bono commitments, Joyce still lends a hand as a proofreader for the semi-annual literary magazine Taddle Creek.
“Volunteering is something we’re all supposed to do, to give something back to our community and our industry,” observes veteran magazine writer David Hayes. “Most of us have the best intentions. Some of us manage one or two commitments around our busy lives. Joyce is a tireless volunteer for countless causes, mostly associated in some way with magazine publishing or writing, in addition to all her paid duties.”
“I would be hard pressed to find a publishing professional more enthusiastic, engaged and knowledgeable about the magazine media industry than Joyce Byrne. She is a champion of the industry—its people, products and readers,” says Suzanne Trudel, executive director of the Alberta Magazine Publishers Association.
Earlier this year, AMPA recognized Joyce’s publishing expertise by awarding her its Achievement in Publishing Award.
For her dedication and enthusiasm for a stronger and more inclusive Canadian magazine industry, her tireless advocacy for service and volunteerism, and her inspiring leadership in magazine publishing, the National Media Awards Foundation is proud to honour Joyce Byrne, a self-proclaimed “magazine junkie,” with the 2018 Foundation Award for Outstanding Achievement.
NOMINEES – 41st NATIONAL MAGAZINE AWARDS Finalists for the 41st National Magazine Awards will be announced tomorrow, May 1, 2018 at 10am ET on www.magazine-awards.com, blog.magazine-awards.com and on Twitter at @MagAwards. The 41st National Magazine Awards gala is set for June 1, 2018 at the Arcadian Court. Join us to Celebrate Canadian Creators. Tickets will be on sale on Tuesday, May 1.
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 Media Awards Foundation considers the nominations, along with nominations from members of the Committee itself. The Board of the National Media Awards Foundation selects the winner. For more information and previous winners, visit magazine-awards.com/oa. Photo of Joyce Byrne by Jared Sych.
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.
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.