UC Observer logo
UCObserver on SoundCloud UCObserver on YouTube UCObserver on Facebook UCObserver on Twitter UCObserver's RSS Feeds

The Observer marks its 185th year with more awards than ever before

Highlights include four National Magazine Awards nominations and Best Magazine awards in two church press competitions

By Observer Staff

We are pleased to announce a series of commendations for editorial excellence in 2013.

The National Magazine Awards, a foundation with a mission to recognize and promote excellence in the content and creation of Canadian print and digital publications, recently nominated The Observer for four awards, giving the magazine first and second place prizes in two different categories.

We were also recognized this spring by two other organizations: The Canadian Church Press (CCP) and the Associated Church Press (ACP), a North American organization. The Observer won 15 CCP awards, including eight first-place prizes and the top award for general excellence in magazine publishing. In addition, we took home 25 ACP awards, including 10 first-place prizes and the “Best in Class” award for denominational magazines. All told, The Observer won more ACP awards than any publication in the competition for the third straight year. 

National Magazine Awards
Presented on June 6, 2014


· Science, Technology & Environment Story: "Losing the hooded grebe" by Alanna Mitchell


· Online Video: "Cold Comfort" by Kevin Spurgaitis and Jill Kitchener

Honourable Mentions

· Short Feature: "Malignant metaphor" by Alanna Mitchell

· Editorial Package: "1988" by Marc Colbourne, Ken Gallinger and Gary Stephen Ross

The Associated Church Press
Best of the Christian Press Awards 2013
Presented on April 25, 2014

Awards of Excellence

· BEST IN CLASS: The United Church Observer, David Wilson, Editor.

· Feature Article, Long Format: “Losing the hooded grebe” by Alanna Mitchell

· News Story: “Did Canadian oil poison this town?” by May Warren (tie)

· News Story: “Standing up to big gold” by Roxana Olivera (tie)

· Letters to the Editor: Patricia Clarke, editor

· Seasonal Article: “The upper room” by Gary Paterson (tie)

· Seasonal Article: “Unexpected gifts” by John T. Harries (tie)

· Professional Resource: “Imagine your church in 2025” by Samantha Rideout and David Wilson, writers; David Turnbull, photographer

· Theological Reflection, Short Format: “Why is the universe so big?” by James Christie

· Column: “Observations” by David Wilson

· Photo Spread with Article or Cutline: “Six days in Vancouver” by David Turnbull

Awards of Merit

· Editorial or Opinion: “The right kind of trouble” by Mardi Tindal

· Design, Entire Issue: “September issue” by Ross Woolford, designer

· Illustration with article or cutline: “New chapter, old tragedy” by Kim Stewart, illustrator; Ross Woolford, designer

· In-Depth Coverage: “Imagine your church in 2025” by Samantha Rideout and David Wilson, writers; David Turnbull, photographer

· Single Photo with article or cutline: “Six days in Vancouver" by David Turnbull photographer; Ross Woolford, designer

Honourable Mentions

· Editorial or Opinion: “Malignant metaphor” by Alanna Mitchell

· Editorial Courage: “Becoming Ruth Wood” by Trisha Elliott

· Feature Article, Long Format: “Making amends with Malawi” by Pieta Woolley

· News Story: “The gospel of secularism” by Samantha Rideout

· Theological Reflection, Long Format: “Death” by Trisha Elliott

· Personally Useful Article: “Death” by Trisha Elliott

· Devotional/Inspirational: “Unexpected gifts” by John Harries

· Biographical Profile: “I just followed my path...” by Gary Stephen Ross

· Personal Experience: “All work and no pay” by Chelsea Temple Jones

The Canadian Church Press Awards
Presented on May 2, 2014

First Place

· The United Church Observer, General Excellence, David Wilson, editor

· News Story: “Standing up to big gold” by Roxana Olivera, author

· In-Depth Treatment of a News Event: “Beyond belief" by David Wilson, Kenneth Gallinger and Trisha Elliot, authors

· Features (Nonfiction): “Living a miracle” by Bill Millar, author

· Media Review: “Thomas King’s moment of truth,” “Silver hair on the silver screen,” “Wild, organic and killed by you” by Julie McGonegal, Patricia Clarke and Pieta Woolley, authors

· News Photo: "Truth and Reconciliation" by David Turnbull, photographer

· Feature Layout and Design: Reader Survey Results by Ross Woolford, designer

· Magazine Front Cover: January 2013 by Ross Woolford, designer

· The A.C. Forrest Memorial Award: “Losing the hooded grebe" by Alanna Mitchell, author

Second Place

· Personal Experience: “Making amends with Malawi” by Pieta Wooley

· Photo Essay: “Truth and Reconciliation” by David Turnbull, photographer

· Edition Layout and Design: “November 2013” by Ross Woolford, designer

· Best Use of Multimedia on Website: “Cold Comfort” by Kevin Spurgaitis and Jill Kitchener

Third Place

· Theological Reflection: “Does human life have a purpose?” by Bruce Sanguin

Honourable Mention

· Interview: “Kathleen Wynne” by Mardi Tindal

Readers’ advisory: The discussion below is moderated by The UC Observer and facilitated by Intense Debate (ID), an online commentary system. The Observer reserves the right to edit or reject any comment it deems to be inappropriate. Approved comments may be further edited for length, clarity and accuracy, and published in the print edition of the magazine. Please note: readers do not need to sign up with ID to post their comments on ucobserver.org. We require only your user name and e-mail address. Your comments will be posted from Monday to Friday between 9:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Join the discussion today!


The biggest threat to women in South Africa is their partners

by Kristy Woudstra

An investigation of why one woman is murdered every eight hours by her husband or boyfriend in this African country — and how advocates are trying to stop it.

Promotional Image


Jocelyn Bell%

Observations: My last conversation with Nanny

by Jocelyn Bell

Editor Jocelyn Bell reflects on the power of our final words with loved ones.

Promotional Image


ObserverDocs: Playing by Heart

by Observer Staff

Kara Shaw was born prematurely, became almost totally blind and was later diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. The 28-year-old also has a unique musical ability, serving as a United Church music director, and performing piano on local and national stages.

Promotional Image


March 2018

Egerton Ryerson: The legacy of a tarnished hero

by Mike Milne

He founded public education in Ontario — and this very magazine — while also promoting residential schools. How should we judge Ryerson today? Some students want his name and image gone.


March 2018

Church organist has been leading worship for 86 years

by Wendy Lowden

And Louise Pelley is still going strong at 98 years old.


February 2018

Pro-choice advocates still at risk despite Ontario’s new abortion law

by Jackie Gillard

Threatening messages spray-painted on their doors and lawns won’t stop those advocating for reproductive rights. If anything, they feel even more determined to help protect those seeking an abortion.


March 2018

The biggest threat to women in South Africa is their partners

by Kristy Woudstra

An investigation of why one woman is murdered every eight hours by her husband or boyfriend in this African country — and how advocates are trying to stop it.


March 2016

The fighter

by Richard Wright

When he was 13 years old, Willie Blackwater stood up to his abuser at a B.C. Indian residential school. His defiance would eventually help change the course of Canadian history.


March 2018

14 writers share their moving final conversations with loved ones

by Various Writers

These stories will make you laugh, cry and rage. Maybe they’ll spark a fond memory. Or perhaps they’ll prompt you to consider the things you need to say now, before it’s too late.

Promotional Image