Sunday, March 25, 2012

2012 Alberta Magazine Award Winners Announced

Another successful Alberta Magazines Conference has come and gone! Thanks to our generous sponsors and to all those who came out. For those who missed it, you really did miss out. Just teasing (sort of), but we do hope you'll join in next year. Stay tuned for posts in the next few weeks about some of the stellar sessions that took place.

Here's a recap of the 2012 award winners, announced at the Alberta Magazine Excellence Gala on March 22. Congrats to all the winners and nominees. You sure didn't make it easy for the judges this year!

Best Alberta Story: Eighteen Bridges for Omar Mouallem's "Under the Veil"

Best Short Editorial: Western Living for Tyee Bridge's "School of Fish"

Best Feature Design: Western Living for 40th Anniversary Issue; art director Randall Watson

Best Cover: Avenue (Calgary) for October 2011 issue; art director Anders Knudsen

Best Illustration: Alberta Oil  for "Due Diligence" by Dushan Milic; art director Kim Larson

Best Photo: Alberta Venture for "After the Inferno"by Curtis Trent; art director Kim Larson

Best Digital Presence: Avenue (Calgary)

Best New Magazine: WE Magazine by Venture Publishing on behalf of the United Way

Volunteer of the Year: a tie between Kayla Nash with Lethbridge living and Bobbi Beatty with Other Voices.

Editor of the Year: Chris Welner with IMPACT magazine 

Achievement in Publishing: Ruth Kelly with Venture Publishing. (Not surprisingly, Ruth received a standing ovation when she accepted the award. You go, girl!)
--- Colleen Seto
AMPA Blogger-in-Residence

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Alberta Magazine Awards Finalists Announced

So it's awards time in Alberta again! The list of finalists was just released and it shows that the "big guys" continue to do great work with western living, Alberta Venture, Alberta Views, and Avenue (Calgary) each landing a top spot in various categories. 

But it's not all about the bigger mags—a couple of little guys have also made their marks. Eighteen Bridges grabs two of the finalist positions in the Best Alberta Story category with a piece by award-winning Calgary writer Chris Turner and one by Avenue (Edmonton) associate editor Omar Mouallem, while Conservation shines in the Best Photo category. New Trail, U of A's long-time magazine also squeaked in as a finalist in Best Short Editorial category with a piece by well-known Alberta writer/maverick Aritha van Herk

In the Achievement Awards, it looks like near total domination by Other Voices in the Volunteer of the Year category with three of the four nominees (but the fourth nominee, Kayla Nash from Lethbridge living is an equally strong contender). Editor of the Year is another tight race, and yes, last year's winner K├Ąthe Lemon, who's a judge this year, is still working in Alberta although she will be taking a hiatus to have a baby come June. Let's hope this year's winner also keeps their talent here in the province. 

The Achievement in Publishing category is all about girl power with four of Alberta's most experienced and successful female publishers. These four women—Ruth Kelly with Alberta Venture, Elaine Kupser with IMPACT, Sherry Shaw-Froggatt with airdrielife and Merla Thomson with Canine Review—have each built successful magazines using some unique and creative methods. I've had the pleasure of working with all of them, and they each bring valuable ideas to the industry.

That said, I'm going to put my money on Ruth Kelly for this one. At a time when no one at a national level was paying much attention to what Alberta magazines were doing, she single-handedly put Alberta on the radar by making her voice heard by Magazines Canada and Canadian Heritage. As she continues to grow her own magazine business, she never forgets that the magazine industry is built upon community, and as such, she continually advocates for all publishers and gives back by sharing her expertise. On a personal level, I've always admired Ruth's robust approach to everything, challenging those around her to rise to the occasion, myself included. She always pushed me to go that extra mile, and though there were moments when I wasn't sure whether she was going to skin me alive, I know now that we mutually respect and appreciate one another.

So who are you placing your bets on? To find out live, make sure you register for the Alberta Magazine Gala on Thursday, March 22. Today is your last day to do it!

--- Colleen Seto
AMPA Blogger-in-Residence

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Make Money with Magazines: Jacqueline Howe at the Alberta Magazines Conference

Don't miss your chance to hear Jacqueline Howe at the Alberta Magazines Conference on March 22 to 24, 2012, in Calgary. With a 25-year career in magazines, Howe has built, branded and managed some of Canada’s favourite magazines.

Howe will share what it takes to make a magazine a money-making proposition. The key of course is recognizing that your magazine is, in fact, a business. "Creating a great magazine business for ROI will give you the freedom to do what you want: reinvesting cashflow to continue to build your business, creating a business that can thrive without you as the owner with a high performing team or selling as your exit strategy. Putting the discipline in place now will ensure you have what you need [to meet your goal]," she emphasizes.

In her session, ROI ASAP: Build to Sell, Howe will help you do the following:
  • Make your company a stronger competitor
  • Increase efficiency and productivity that will help your bottom line
  • Identify bottle necks in your business process
  • Creating a dynamic team that will allow you to let them run things with confidence
Don't miss out. Just a few more days left to register before the deadline on March 15! Do it now!

---Colleen Seto

AMPA Blogger-in-Residence

Friday, March 9, 2012

Good Old-Fashioned Editing with Charlene Rooke at the Alberta Magazines Conference

I for one am excited for Charlene Rooke's encore presentation at the upcoming Alberta Magazines Conference. She was kind enough to share her wisdom a few years back, and we're thrilled to have her return. Charlene knows a lot about magazines of course, but she also knows a lot about Alberta magazines specifically. She grew up in Edmonton and spent several years in Calgary editing the U of C's magazine, as well as Avenue. In other words, she "gets" it. I learned alot from her back then, and am keen to learn more in a couple of weeks' time.

So what can you expect from her sessions? Her first is called STET: A Return to Good, Old-Fashioned Editing. I asked her what she considered "good, old-fashioned editing." She tells me, "Good editing puts the reader first and respects the writer's voice. Bad editing is creating an article that is subject to the editor's whims!"

She'll offer practical advice that will help you develop what she considers the most important job of editing: creating "reader-friendly magazines. Do the story, photos, packaging elements, display writing, work together to draw the reader in? Sometimes, as editors, we get too obsessed with an insider's view of what we do." She'll also help you keep your editing reader-focused and you'll walk away with "insider information and advice from both sides of the desk (writer and editor), plus concrete tools and tips for editing long-form journalism, a craft most often learned intuitively rather than taught."

Her second session focuses on keeping your editorial spreads varied and appealing. She'll walk you through "tons of examples and inspiration for different story formats to wake up tired magazine pages."

This will be Charlene's first visit back to Alberta in a while and she "can't wait to see that airplane-window view of the Prairies! Praying for a Chinook..."
--- Colleen Seto
AMPA Blogger-in-Residence

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Win Stuff with Alberta Magazines Conference Tweets!

For our twitter-loving blog readers, I thought I'd share the details of our first ever Alberta Magazines Conference twitter contests! But first, be sure to follow AMPA @albertamags #AMC2012 for real-time updates during the conference.

Today through March 9:
1) Put on your contest thinking caps to prepare your 140 character tweet (including #AMC2012) and tell us which conference session you want to attend most and why! Check out conference sessions at
Each of your tweets gets you a chance to win a full Alberta Magazines Conference pass (value $265)!
3) Contest closes March 9 at 4pm.

March 22 & 23:

1) Throughout the conference, tweet the best advice you got or your favourite conference moment (include #AMC2012)
2) Each of your tweets gets you a chance to win a fabulous prize to be announced at the Wine & Cheese event Friday afternoon
3) Contest closes March 23 at 3pm.

Happy tweeting!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Silent Auction Donations by March 20, Please!

As a dedicated member of the Alberta magazine community, Amber Bowerman was a regular at the Alberta Magazines Conference (AMC), participating as an attendee and one year, as a fantastic speaker. Even when she moved on to her job at SAIT, she continued to partake. She always came out to support AMPA industry events, and it was always such fun to be with her.

So it’s only fitting that the Amber Webb-Bowerman Memorial Foundation once again hosts a silent auction at this year’s AMC, running March 22 & 23, 2012. It’s the perfect opportunity for those who annually connected with Amber at this event to show their support.

We’re now making a call for silent auction donations. Proceeds will go towards an endowed scholarship fund at Mount Royal University so that a journalism scholarship will be given in Amber's name in perpetuity.

Thanks so much to those of you who have kindly donated in the past. It’d be great if you could do so again! In the past, the auction has included books, games, gift baskets, event tickets, hotel and restaurant gift certificates, subscription packages and more.

Come on, I know you’ve got some gift card rotting in your wallet that would make a great donation. Don’t worry if you only have one thing; we can get creative and group it with other donations. No donation is too small and every donation helps!

To date, we’ve successfully provided scholarships at Mount Royal, ACAD, Grant MacEwan, the University of Calgary and University of Regina, and have established an endowment scholarship in Amber’s name at SAIT Polytechnic. We also sponsor the Student Writing Award at the Western Magazine Awards and a writing award for the Canadian University Press. We hope to do much more with your help and continue to make Amber proud.

If you have anything donate, please email us at before March 20.
Thank you all for helping us to remember our dear friend and colleague. Come on out to the AMC where we can raise a toast to her!

--- Colleen Seto
AMPA Blogger-in-Residence

Thursday, March 1, 2012

BlogWest in Edmonton in One Week

Attention Bloggers!
BlogWest 2012 takes place next week, March 8 to 10, in Edmonton. It's a comprehensive blog conference showcasing hands-on workshops to give bloggers the skills to build, grow and develop their niche. 

Keynote speakers include:
  • Angela Saclamacis (@asaclamacis), Manager, Public Relations and Broadcast Programming, The Walt Disney Company (Canada), Parks and Resorts
  • Tanis Miller (@redneckmommy), Author, Redneck Mommy
Session speakers feature a mix of local bloggers including Dr. Jared Tabler, Fashion Editor At-Large for Avenue Edmonton magazine whose popular blog is, as well as Calgary author and writer Sarah Deveau (@sarahdeveau). She runs her own blog at and blogs for
--- Colleen Seto
AMPA Blogger-in-Residence