Nominations are closing soon for the 2019 Australian Magazine Awards (AMAs), organised by niche publication AdNews Australia. NPN spoke with AdNews Associate Publisher Nicola Riches about how the AMA’s have evolved and their focus on encouraging small publishers to get involved.
Launched in 2009, the AMAs provide Australian magazine publishers with the opportunity to be rewarded and recognised for excellence. AdNews recently announced new categories for its 2019 AMAs – many of which are suited to niche magazine publishers.
Associate Publisher Nicola Riches explains how the awards have changed over time, and the event’s understanding of and aim to champion Australia’s smaller publishers.
NPN: Why were the AMAs established?
NR: The AMAs were established to celebrate the work done by the Australian magazine publishing business. The focus back then was on the printed work, circulation figures, newsstand numbers and the volume of advertisers. The evening event was renowned for being a luxurious affair with copious amounts of alcohol flowing around. There are plenty of faces in the business that can recall those heady times. Our head of sponsorship is one of them (she’ll kill me for saying this).
NPN: How have the AMAs evolved over time?
NR: The AMAs have evolved with the business itself. Now, we celebrate magazines as the multi-platform brands that they are. We look at how magazine brands partner with their advertisers, so it’s more a case of quality of partnership, as opposed to volume of ads. We also dropped the requirement to supply audited circulation figures as we know that audiences can be measured in so many ways – from core readership through to online attention and social interaction. So many amazing magazine brands are free these days.
The event itself is less debauch – it’s more down-to-earth (our venue is Upstairs at the Berseford in Sydney’s Surry Hills) and close-knit. There’s a warm and welcoming atmosphere with incredible food!
We can’t stress enough how much we want smaller publications to participate. We’re owned by a medium-sized publisher ourselves (AdNews is owned by Yaffa Media), and we know the day-to-day struggles that running a magazine brand involves.Nicola Riches, Associate Publisher, AdNews Australia
NPN: What award categories are most suited to smaller, niche publications?
NR: We can’t stress enough how much we want smaller publications to participate. We’re owned by a medium-sized publisher ourselves (AdNews is owned by Yaffa Media), and we know the day-to-day struggles that running a magazine brand involves.
We have shaped the program to award excellence in this field, so this year we have, for example, created a new “regional magazine” award. The “specialist/hobbyist magazine brand of the year” often appeals to smaller publishing companies, whereas “feature writer of the year”, “editor of the year” and “cover of the year” can literally come from anywhere. We also don’t restrict our entries to paid-for magazines – we welcome the free titles too.
NPN: What are the benefits to niche publications in submitting for the awards?
NR: Recognition! The ability to go out to your advertisers and tell them that your magazine brand is recognised amongst the best in Australia. It’s cause for celebration, but it’s also an opportunity to learn.
The finalists list creates a snapshot of the “best in class” magazines and this always provides inspiration and ideas. It’s also an excuse for a wonderful night out and to meet your peers.
NPN: How are the awards judged to make sure that smaller publications can compete with larger brands?
NR: We ensure that the awards judges are briefed to take everything in front of them at face value. Our judges aren’t bias – they come from creative fields outside of publishing, for example, photographers, marketers and creative directors working at ad agencies. They understand magazine publishing, but they don’t work for, or have involvement with the big three.
How to nominate
Entries must have been published between 1 July 2018 and 30 June 2019. Award submissions must be received by 12pm, 4 October 2019.
For more information about the award categories and how to enter, visit the Australian Magazine Awards website.