Thursday, March 24, 2011

Everyone's a Winner, Baby! Well, internally speaking...

Okay, so not everyone can win. But that doesn't mean we can't all have a good time. And that's precisely what happened tonight at the Alberta Magazines Conference gala where winners of the Alberta Magazine Awards were announced to a full house amid swanky live jazz tunes and prime rib dinners. For those of you who weren’t able to attend (and you better have a good excuse like having a five-month-old on your boob!), here’s who came out on top. 

Alberta Venture cleaned up taking the Best Cover, Best Photo, and Best Illustration categories. Way to go Team AV. Best Feature Design went to Wine Access magazine while IMPACT took Best Editorial Short. techlife took the win in the new Best Alberta Story category with a story by Scott Messenger—woot, woot, Scott! He didn’t even have to serve as a conference volunteer to get props this year.

Editorial judge Malwina Gudowska emphasized how the editorial panel looked first and foremost at the writing. “You can tell from the lead what the article will be like in terms of quality. And then of course if it holds my attention, that's a good sign. The idea is important, but I've read articles that I thought had so much potential in terms of a fresh new idea that in the end, just didn't work because of the writing. On the flip side, I've read stories that have been done a number of times but there was something new and interesting about it, maybe a different angle. It all worked because the writing was solid.” So remember folks, quality of writing is the only surefire way to a win at next year’s awards!

For Best New Magazine, 18 Bridges, the brainchild of writer Curtis Gillespie took top honours. Volunteer of the Year went to Dandelion’s Claire Lacey.

No Lucci for Lemon as Avenue Calgary’s Käthe Lemon finally claimed the Editor of the Year title and won one for the ladies. As Melanie Jones, one of the EYA judges, put it: “Käthe's editorial has a way of going beyond the surface level 'story idea' into the deeper DNA-level realms of exploring and trying to articulate something about what it means to live in Calgary now.”  

Fellow EYA judge Tom Gierasimczuk also added, “Käthe displays a rare dedication to her craft both as a storyteller, devoted volunteer, and a leader. The fierce devotion of her team as well as the products she oversees are testament to this.” A giant congrats to Käthe who I know personally to be a great editor and an even better human. You deserve it, chicka!

Tom also noted that “both Birthing magazine and Westword are riveting reads that serve their audiences admirably with limited resources.”
Finally, the Achievement in Publishing award went to one of my favourite people in publishing: Rob Tanner of TannerYoung Publishing (which publishes Where Edmonton and Canadian Cowboy Country). What a tribute to this most-deserving publisher to receive the recognition and acclaim of his peers. 

Rob has many years of magazine publishing experience and has also successfully crossed mediums creating his award-winning Cowboy Country TV show. He’s served in countless volunteer capacities including the ACIA board and of course, the AMPA board (in fact, he won Volunteer of the Year last year). For AMPA, he worked tirelessly for nearly a decade, and luckily for me, was president for part of the time I was E.D. Working closely with Rob proved to me that it’s not just his business savvy that makes him successful, but his willingness to learn and to share his knowledge with his fellow publishers. 

Rob has generously contributed both time and ideas to ensure the sustainability of Alberta’s publishing community not only for personal gain, but because he genuinely cares about fostering an environment where all hardworking independent publishers can survive and thrive. If that’s not an achievement in publishing, I don’t know what is. Yay Rob! I am thrilled for you!

Congrats again to all our winners and finalists. Yet another great year in Alberta magazines. Hurray! And enjoy the rest of the conference too! I can’t wait to hear how the rest of the event goes, especially the “after-party.” Peanuts pub, anyone? :P

--- Colleen Seto
AMPA Blogger-in-Residence