Canadian Online Publishing Awards
PRESENTED BY:
Masthead Online
GOLD SPONSOR:
Readers Digest
SUPPORTERS:
Inovva
Digital Reno
CCAB
CNW
Digital Reno
Newspapers Canada
Universities Canada
Competition Rules

Canadian Online Publishing Awards 2021

The COPA awards program is open to any company or organization that produces content for the digital medium. These companies may include media publishers, associations, corporations, government and advertising agencies. The content to be judged can be for any market and is not restricted to Canadian readers to reflect the global nature of the industry. The awards are open to—but not restricted to, writers, editors, graphic designers art directors, creative directors, web developers, photographers, videographers and digital producers. To qualify a member of team must be Canadian and contributed significantly to the entry.

 

The COPAs is not affiliated with any trade organizations and is an industry neutral awards program for the Canadian Industry that  comprises of volunteer judges from across Canada and are listed the the COPA website. It is also not funded or subsidized by any government agency and is funded 100% by the industry and has become the largest digial awards program in Canada. The COPA's mandate is to be inclusive of all media in Canada in any language. A COPA award has become a badge of honour for the Canadian Media Industry that fosters digital innovation and pride in the community. 

 

 















All winners receive a COPA Awards logo that can be used for marketing and branding purposes. The team members are recognized for their outstanding contribution to online publishing at the COPA Awards Party this February 2022 (Date and Time TBA). All winners receive a COPA Awards logo that can be used for marketing and branding purposes. The team members are recognized for their outstanding contribution to online publishing at the COPA Awards Party.
 

Judging Policy

The work will be reviewed by independent judging panels of highly regarded industry professionals and experts. Some categories have their own specific qualities noted below, but generally, your entry will be judged based on content, design and level of engagement at the time of judging (over an approx. 2 month period during Fall 2021)

 



WHO CAN ENTER

 

Freelance Journalists

Freelance writers, photographers, podcasters and video producers can submit their work for the COPA awards. Freelancers will receive a special pricing of $50 per entry

 

Media Publishers

Open to English, French and other Ethnic language publications and websites, that have offices in Canada. Must have 50% original editorial content and written and/or edited by Canadians living in Canada. Non-Canadian publishers are eligible if the editorial has at least one Canadian on the team that resides in Canada.

 

Corporations/Non-Profit Organizations, Associations, Schools

Corporations, non-profit organizations, schools and associations are eligible to enter the awards program. The site or work must meet the 50% original content requirement and be written and/or created by Canadians living in Canada. All advertising related entries must be produced by a company with offices in Canada.

 

Advertising Agencies/PR Firms

Digital agencies, PR firms and social media firms can submit entries on behalf of their clients if the ads and content submitted are created and submitted by the Canadian office. The entry must have at least one Canadian on the team to be eligible.

 



COPA INCLUSIVENESS POLICY

To ensure that any publisher big, small or even tiny can enter as we have a policies for  publishers to help them take the first step foward in partcipating in the COPAs. We have have used this policy with schools with a free entry program

Independent Publisher (20 Full-time staff or Less)

For the awards evaluation for the Best of Canada Awards “Independent Publisher of the Year” award, an independent publisher will be defined as an organization that produces publications, websites and/ or other digital properties that has less than 20 employees/staff in a full time capacity (does not include part-time freelancers). Publishers that have multi-titles are also eligible if they meet the # of employee’s criteria. Entries can be submitted in any division or category to be eligible and will be considered for the individual awards entered in also.

 

Free Entry Categories - Best Feel Good Story and Best Multi-cultural Story

This year we will have two categories that any publisher can enter for free. This will be the Best Feel Good Story and Best Multi-cultural Story. This will allows companies to participate that would not normally enter an awards program to expand the reach of the COPA Awards program. Please enter promo code – free, when submitting the free entry.

 

One Free Entry for Schools

Any (public or private) high school or post-secondary institution in Canada can submit one student project for no cost in the Students/Schools Division. Additional entries can be submitted for the $50 at the non-profit rate. Please enter promo code – free, when submitting the free entry.
 


DIVISIONS

Business-to-Business Media (Blue)

This is to open to entries that cater to a special B2B niche that includes trade and association magazines, B2B companies and B2B ad campaigns.

 

Consumer Magazine Media (Red)

This is to open to entries that cater to consumer niches in a magazine format for content packaging that includes consumer magazines, radio/ TV stations, digital only brands and B2C ad campaigns.

 

News/Sports Media – (Green)

This division caters to media outlets for news, current affairs, business, sports and entertainment. This division includes community newspapers, news/sports, business magazines, TV, radio stations and digital.

 

Academic - Students/School Projects (Black)

This is open to any (public or private) high school or post-secondary institution in Canada. Each school can submit one student project for no cost.

 

 
































2021 CATEGORIES

There are 19 categories for the 2021 COPAs. Your work will be judged against other entries in the same category and same division. The divisions each have 15 categories with some unique to the division, except the Students/Schools that has 10. You can choose to enter your entry into more than one category as appropriate.

 

Eligibility

All entries must have been published between September 1, 2020 to September 30, 2021 to be eligible for the 2021 awards.

 

1. Best Feel Good Story - Free Entry Category - Promo Code “ free”

In a world with a lot of negative stories, the COPAs want to recognized “Hero” stories that provide a positive story for readers, that may be good deeds, acts of kindness or support of front line workers during the pandemic. This COPA will be awarded to the publisher deemed to best serve its intended audience through digital formats like a traditional word/ pictures column and/or video. Single and multi-contributors are eligible. The entry will be judged on quality of writing, storytelling, use of video, photos, podcasts and multi-platform design.  Please submit examples (links, screenshots and PDFs) of articles in all applicable channels print, mobile, website and social for judging.

This award is available in ALL categories – Business-to-Business , Consumer, News/Sports and Academic

 

2. Best Multi-Cultural Story - Free Entry Category - Promo Code “ free”

To encourage diversity in digital content, this category will look for stories about visible minorities in Canada good or bad. This category will look at stories about Canada’s multi-cultural landscape its past, present and future. The stories can be written by mainstream and ethnic media publishers in Canada. Stories in in this category can help change the narrative of Canada's history and help re-write it. This will be awarded to the publisher deemed to best serve its intended audience through digital formats like a traditional word/ pictures column and/or video. Single and multi-contributors are eligible. The entry will be judged on quality of writing, storytelling, use of video, photos, podcasts and multi-platform design. . Please submit examples (links, screenshots and PDFs) of articles in all applicable channels print, mobile, website and social for judging.

This award is available in ALL categories – Business-to-Business , Consumer, News/Sports and Academic

 

3. Best Blog Column/Videocast/Podcast

Awarded to the blog/column/videocast and podcasts) deemed to best serve its intended audience through digital formats like a traditional word/ pictures column, video or [odcast blog. (Radio DJ blogs can be entered in the 24/7 News division). Single and multi-contributor blogs are eligible. The entry will be judged on quality of writing, storytelling, use of video, photos, podcasts and multi-platform design.  Please submit examples (links, screenshots and PDFs) of 3 sample articles in all applicable channels print, mobile, website and social for judging.

This award is available in ALL categories – Business-to-Business , Consumer, News/Sports and Academic

 

4. Best Industry Feature

Awarded to the B2B publication deemed to best serve its audience through an industry feature article. These stories can include, but not restricted to, case studies, industry report/trends/news and roundtable articles. The entry will be judged on quality of writing, storytelling, use of video, photos, podcasts and multi-platform design. Please submit examples of the article (links, screenshots and PDFs) in all applicable channels - print, mobile, website and social for judging.

This award is only available one (1) category Business-to-Business Media

 

5. Best Company Feature

Awarded to the B2B publication deemed to best serve its audience through a company/product feature article. These stories can include, but not restricted to, profiles, Interview/Q&A and product reviews. The entry will be judged on quality of writing, storytelling, use of video, photos, podcasts and multi-platform design.  Please submit examples of the article in all applicable channels print, mobile, website and social for judging.

This award is only available one (1) category Business-to-Business Media

 

6. Best Service Article 

Awarded to the B2C publication deemed to best serve its audience through a service/educational feature article that can include, but not restricted to how-to, reviews and round-up story formats. The entry will be judged on quality of writing, storytelling, use of video, photos, podcasts and multi-platform design. Please submit examples of the article in all applicable channels print, mobile, website and social for judging.

This award is only available in one (1) category - Consumer Magazine Media

 

7. Best Lifestyle Article 

Awarded to the B2C online publication deemed to best serve its audience through a lifestyle feature article that can include, but not restricted to, recipes, profiles, fashion, trends and travel story formats. The entry will be judged on quality of writing, storytelling, use of video, photos, podcasts and multi-platform design. Please submit examples of the article in all applicable channels print, mobile, website and social for judging.

This award is only available in one (1) category - Consumer Magazine Media

 

8. Best Daily News or Sports Coverage 

Awarded to the publication deemed to best serve its audience through timely and original breaking news and sports reporting. The entry will be judged on quality of writing, storytelling, use of video, photos, podcasts and multi-platform design.  Please submit examples of the article in all applicable channels print, mobile, website and social for judging.

This award is only available in one (1) category - News/Sports Media

 

9. Best Continuing Coverage of a Story

This award goes to the news coverage of a continuing story that may happen over a period time. Multiple articles are to be submitted as part of the coverage. The entry will be judged on quality of writing, storytelling, use of video, photos, podcasts and multi-platform design. Please submit examples of the article in all applicable channels print, mobile, website and social for judging.

This award is only available in one (1) category - News/Sports Media

 

10. Best Investigative Article or Series

Awarded to the publication deemed to best serve its audience through an investigative feature article. The entry will be judged on quality of writing, story telling, social impact, use of video, podcasts, photos and multi-platform design. Please submit examples of the article in all applicable channels print, mobile, website and social for judging.

This award is available in three (3) categories – Business-to-Business, Consumer Magazine, News/Sports

 

11. Best Photo Journalism

Awarded to the online publication deemed to best serve its audience through the use of photo journalism. The entry will be judged on quality of photo storytelling and multi-platform design. Please submit examples of the article in all applicable channels print, digital magazine and website for judging with pdfs and any links.

This award is available in ALL categories – Business-to-Business , Consumer, News/Sports and Academic

 

12. Best Video Content

This award goes to the video content that best exemplifies the use of video for journalistic and entertainment purposes. It can be informative and/or entertaining and the video must not be longer than 30 minutes, but can be as short as 30 seconds. The entry can be, but not restricted to, news clips, features, how-to, interviews, sports highlights, celebrity profiles and documentary depending on the division. The entry will be judged on quality of writing, story telling, cinematography, music and sound. Please submit examples of the article in all applicable channels print, mobile, website and social for judging. 

This award is available in ALL categories – Business-to-Business , Consumer, News/Sports and Academic
 

13. Best Podcast Single or Series (Two categories available)

You can enter in the Single Podcast and/or Podcast Series catgeories as the use of podcasts have increased into many formats. The Podcast Single Category will feature one podcast that can be entered for judging. The Podcast Series is where the story format includes regular interviews or shows/episodes under a single theme. The podcast entry can be in a variety of formats that includes, but is not restricted to, interviews, episodes, radio shows and news broadcasts. Entries will be judged on the creative use of the medium; originality of theme, including reporting; and quality of the podcast, including mixing and editing. Impact of the podcast is also taken into consideration: how well does it engage its intended audience?

This Podcast Single award is available in ALL categories – Business-to-Business , Consumer Magazine, News/Sports  and Academic.
The Podcast Series is available in two categories - Business-to-Business and Consumer Magazine)

 

14. Best Content Marketing Campaign

This award is for companies that have created the best branded content campaign for advertisers via any digital means such as website, email, native app and social media. Entries must be submitted in a case study format and will be evaluated on graphic branding, design and content strategy. Social media content campaigns are eligible in this category. Please submit examples of the content in all applicable channels print, mobile, website and social for judging  and provide PDF file/samples for evaluation including any links.

This award is available in three (3) categories – Business-to-Business , Consumer Magazine and News/Sports 

 

15. Best Email Newsletter Design

Awarded to the best e-mail newsletter produced by a publisher or organization. Elements that will be considered are content, layout, editorial strategy and multi-platform design.  Please include PDF/screenshots sample/with subject header for mobile, tablet and desktop versions of the newsletter in addition to any links.

This award is available in three (3) categories – Business-to-Business, Consumer Magazine and Student/Schools)

 

16. Best B2B Webinar (NEW)

This is new a new category that will showcase digital content in a webinar format. Judges of the webinars will look at graphic branding, webinar presentation  and how it best the webinar serves its target audience through compelling content, multi-platform design and user performance. Please provide event invitation/registration email campaign details (including website screenshots), webinar archive link and an overview of the event them/model used. Entries should be submitted in a case study format in a single PDF with a rationale.

This award is available in one category – Business-to-Business

 

17. Best Virtual Event (NEW)

The Virtual Event category will showcase the creativity of publishers in taking live-in-person events into a virtual model. All type events are eligible that includes industry conferences, corporate retreats, trade shows and workshops that are carried out over 1-3 days. Judges of the virtual events will look at graphic branding, event presentation how it best serves its target audience through compelling content, multi-platform design and user performance. Please provide event invitation/registration email campaign details (including website screenshots), webinar archive link and an overview of the event model used. Entries should be submitted in a case study format in a single PDF with a rationale.

This award is available in ttwo (2) categories – Business-to-Business and Consumer Magazine

18. Best Digital Edition Publication

This award is for the media property that best combines the print reading experience in their digital publication as digital replica or other digital means. The media brand that best exhibits its brand character through its graphic design, editorial strategy, mix of stories and digital savvy will be worthy of this honour. Examples of the various digital channels used by the publication are required and 3 links to back issues. These entry files can through a shared cloud based database file service like WeTransfer, dropbox or google drive for COPA judges entries. Entries should be submitted in a case study format in a single PDF with a rationale.

This award is available in ALL categories – Business-to-Business Media, Consumer Magazine Media, News/Sports Media and Academic

 

19. Best Website 

This is awarded to the media website that best serves its target audience through compelling content, multi-platform design and technical performance. Judges will be looking at the mobile, tablet and desktop versions of your web presence. These versions/channels can include, but not restricted to, email newsletter, website, digital editions, native apps, social media and mobile web. The judges will be looking at the content, graphic branding, multi-platform design and technical criteria (navigation, click fatigue, download speeds and user friendliness) for each entry. Please include PDF/screenshot samples for mobile, tablet and desktop versions in addition to any links and passwords, when applicable.
This award is available in ALL categories – Business-to-Business Media, Consumer Magazine Media, News/Sports Media and Academic

The News/Sports category has two Best website Awards one for News/Sports and Community News.

 

20. Best of Canada Categories

The Best in Canada winners will be from all the entries with the highest scores in the following categories.

a) Best Content of the Year

b) Best Website/Publication of the year

c) Independent Publisher of the Year

 


HOW TO ENTER

Entry fee: $75 for single entry based on one entry per category and the deadline is September 30, 2021.  An early bird discount available for all entries submitted by Friday, August 13, the early bird entry rate is $50. This fee does not include HST.

 
SPECIAL DISCOUNTS

Student Division Entries - First one is FREE

Any (public or private) high school or post-secondary institution in Canada can submit one student project for no cost in the Students/Schools Division. Additional entries can be submitted for $50 at the non-profit rate. Please enter promo code – free, when submitting the free entry.

 

Special discount for Independent publishers, Ethnic Media, Non-Profits and Freelance Journalists

Independent publishers (20 employees or less) , Ethnic Media, non-profit institutions and freelance Journalists are eligible to enter at the early bird discount rate of $50 at any time. They must be registered as an independent publisher/ethnic media/non-profit/journalist when they submit their entry. All publishers will be verified by COPA staff to meet the 20 employee requirements upon registration for independent publishers.

 

FREE Entry Promo - Best Feel Good Story and Best Multicultural Story

Two categories are available for free to any publisher in 2021 - Best Feel Good Story and Best Multicultural Story. To enter please use promo code “free’ to avoid the e-commerce checkout. Please do this separate from any other entries you may have planned to avoid accidental payment.

 

Fees are payable by credit card via the secured online credit card payment site. Receipts will be automatically sent to contact person’s email address. One payment is accepted per entry. Credit Card statements will show “NORTH ISLAND MEDIA”

 

Entries must be submitted using the online entry form.

 

DEADLINE

All entries must be uploaded to the competition website no later than midnight PST on Wednesday, September 30, 2021. The Early Bird Deadline is Friday, August 13.

 


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Here are answers to some of your most asked questions. If your questions aren’t answered here, please contact contact Martin Seto COPA producer at 416-907-6562 copa@masthead.ca.

 

1. How do I submit an entry?

You must complete the online entry form. The entry form will have a space provided for the direct URL of the web page, article, or online piece to be judged. Attached files should be no larger than 5 MB. Please contact to make alternative arrangements. Make sure that this URL is a static link and will not change from the time that you submit the entry to the time that the item is judged.

 

2. How many entries may I submit?

You may submit as many entries as you'd like to any category in any division. You may submit your website in a multiple of categories, as long as it qualifies for that category. An entry fee is charged for each entry.

 

3. How does judging work?

The entry forms are e-mailed to the judging panel, made up of three industry experts. The judges are given several weeks to independently review the websites on their own time, giving a score to each entry. We will total up the scores from each judge at the end and release the list of finalists prior to the awards ceremony.

 

4. What if the links change or content is moved on our website?

You need to make sure that the URLs you provide are static links that will not change from the time that you submit the entry to the time that the item is judged. Judges will view your website independently, and as judging takes place over a long period of time, you must ensure that your URL remains accurate during the entire judging period. 

 

5. What if my content is behind a pay wall, how will the judges get access to my content?

Publishers are asked to provide the judges with a login and password for the content. In case of articles a PDF version is acceptable as a back-up provision for publishers, but direct access to the digital content is preferred. Please provide a contact person in case of trouble logging on. Entries that require payment to access their solution please budget 3 judges per entry and provide the funds the judges to be reimbursed by the COPA staff.

 

6. I submitted my entry and the entry did not go through?

In most cases an entry is blocked if the files attached to the entry are more than 5mb in size please stuff all your files in a zip file or through a shared cloud based database file service like WeTransfer, dropbox or google drive for COPA judges entries.

 

7. What happens when there are less than five entries in a category? Is this a true competition?

The COPAs has a Fair Competition rule where the categories can be deleted  based on the number of entries through a minimum Entry Quorum fair competition rule. All scores that are considered finalists must meet a minimum score of excellence to advance based on scores from 3 judges on the panel out of 100. All entries will be notified if this should happen.

 

8. What is the COPA Mailing Address?

34 Thirty-Six St ,Toronto, ON M8W 3K9 

IMPORTANT DATES
2021 SCHEDULE

May 1: Call for Judges
July 1: Call for Entries
Aug 13: Early Bird Deadline
Sept 30: Entry Deadline - Extended  Friday, October 8
Dec 1: Finalist Announcement
Feb 2022: COPA Awards (TBA)

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