Since 1977, the NMAF has promoted and honoured excellence in journalism, writing, and visual creation in the Canadian magazine industry. In 2021, almost 2,000 entries across all three of our awards programs were evaluated by a dedicated roster of more than 230 volunteer judges from all areas of the magazine and digital media industries.
We welcome applications from people who bring different perspectives to the judging process—from established industry leaders to celebrated emerging talents. We are also committed to addressing systemic racism and structural biases in Canadian media by ensuring that our judging panels are reflective of Canada’s cultural diversity.
Judging will take place in February and March, 2022. To volunteer as a judge, please apply using the form on our website. If you have any questions about how to apply or the rest of the judging process, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’re proud to have had some of the finest Canadian journalists, writers, and industry experts serve on our past juries.
The National Magazine Awards have been a major component in the growth of my writing career, and I am inestimably grateful not just for their financial support, but for the recognition from my peers and idols which they represent. Adjudicating the Best Personal Journalism category in 2020 was a deep dive into the breadth and depth of Canada’s masters of the form at the absolute state of the art of contemporary writing, for which I am immensely grateful. It made me a sharper reader, and a sharper writer.
— Anthony Oliveira, writer and culture critic, and PhD with the University of Toronto, Toronto, ON.
It was such an enriching experience to be a judge for the NMAs. Being able to appreciate the work of my peers, and discuss their work with the other judges, made me feel like even more a part of the literary community that has supported and nourished me.
— Alicia Elliott, award-winning Tuscarora writer from Six Nations of the Grand River, Brantford, ON.
Getting your hands on a B2B magazine can be tricky if you don’t belong to a particular profession. As an NMA: B2B judge, I had the pleasure of reading new publications and discovering the rich journalistic and artistic talent behind them.
— Luc Rinaldi, freelance journalist and former editor, Pivot magazine, Toronto, ON.
I enjoy the process because it gives me the opportunity to contribute both individually and collectively. Entering my own scores for each entry validates the time I spend reviewing and assessing each submission; discussing my assessments with the other judges during our conference call provides the opportunity to weigh the value of those assessments against the opinions of other industry experts and (on occasion) to argue in favour of work which I feel may have been undervalued.
— Dawn Chafe, executive editor, Atlantic Business Magazine, St. John’s, NL.
It’s a great honour to judge the NMAs and see some of the best magazine work happening in Canada. I love editorial design and it’s wonderful when some of the winning entries are small, independent publications that understand great design is integral to their success.
— Fidel Peña, creative director and co-founder of Underline Studio, Toronto, ON.
Judging the NMAs allows you to keep tabs on industry leaders, validate someone’s hard work, and boost a worthy talent’s own career. It’s also an easy way to give back to a community that has given all of us so much.
— Arjun Basu, senior vice president, Product at Bookmark Content and Communications, Montreal, QC.
The NMAs focus on creators, the people who are create the work that makes everything else possible. Given all of the challenges that creators face in earning a living, participating in a process that recognizes and rewards their efforts is, I think, important and valuable work.
— Kim Pittaway, former editor, Chatelaine, and journalism teacher, Dartmouth, NS.
Serving as a judge for the National Magazine Awards, which I have done for at least ten years, is always a highlight of my reading year. It’s like receiving an engaging anthology of great writing by exciting emerging writers, masterful old pros, and hidden treasures. And you get the honour of choosing the best of a wonderful bunch! What could possibly be better?
— Stephen Trumper, writer, editor, teacher, volunteer, Toronto, ON.
I think the NMAs themselves are a valuable measure of the accomplishments of Canadian magazine writers and editors. As to the process, we were given sufficient time and a workable structure both leading up to and in the conversation itself. My fellow judges offered interesting insights into the work considered and the process was both engaged and congenial.
— Kim Jernigan, former editor, The New Quarterly, Waterloo, ON.
Volunteering as a judge with the National Magazine Awards was a great experience, it really gave me a chance to see the depth and variety of voices being published in Canadian magazines right now, this flourishing of diverse perspectives and thoughts make right now a very exciting time for Canadian media.
— Ossie Michelin, award-winning Inuk journalist and activist from the community of North West River, Labrador.
Having been involved since the 1980s, as a board member, president (1991) a member of a special review committee (Strategic Speculation) and a frequent judge, I have a real investment in the event. What I like most of all is the emphasis the awards have nurtured of rewarding the effort of individual creators (rather than the publications, which get to bask in the reflected glory anyway). Some no longer seem to value, or understand, this. But it is one of the things which makes the Magazine Awards special.
— D.B. Scott, publisher, Canadian Magazines blog, Cambridge, ON.