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