Monday, April 27, 2015

Western Magazine Awards seem to have been suspended

By this time each year, entries are usually being submitted to the Western Magazine Awards, but the event seems to be suspended. The executive director, Kate Cockerill, quietly resigned effective March after barely a year in the job. Its website is closed down. When I enquired, acting president Jennifer Giesbrecht said simply: "Please look for an announcement about this year’s awards in the coming weeks."

Cockerill's resignation followed word from Canadian Heritage that it would no longer be funding "celebrations" of magazines and without that funding, it was apparently not possible to carry on. As far as we can determine, no public announcement has yet been made by the awards foundation. 

Last year the WMAs had trouble getting airborne. The event extended its entry deadlines twice in the spring, citing "technical difficulties", although the awards event did take place in September in Vancouver. 

The annual awards were established in 1983 to honour and celebrate editorial excellence in magazine writing, photography, illustration and art direction in the four western provinces. This is accomplished through the annual awards competition, a gala event where winners are announced and recognized with cash prizes, and The Magazine School, an educational program featuring WMA-winning work.

With the loss of federal funding, the foundation board running the event would have been faced with at least a $25,000 deficit. 

(According to latest Canada Revenue filings , the annual total revenues for the Foundation in 2013 was $136,148, of which $36,710 (26%) came from the federal government, $5,800 from the province of BC (4.2%) and the $93,638 balance (69%) from non-receipted fundraising (presumably entry fees and gala dinner tickets.) Total expenditures were $127,917.) 

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