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 2023

The COPA awards program is open to any individual, company or organization that produces content for the digital medium. These may include freelance journalists, influencers, 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 the team must be Canadian and contribute significantly to the entry.

The Largest Digital Publishing Awards Program in Canada.

The COPAs is not affiliated with any trade organizations and is an industry neutral awards program for the Canadian Industry. The Judging Panel is a “Who’s Who “ of the digital publishing industry with 90 volunteer judges from across Canada. The COPAs are not funded or subsidized by any government agency. Its mandate is to be inclusive of all media in Canada. A COPA award has become a badge of honour for the Canadian Media Industry that fosters digital innovation and pride in the industry. The COPAs are the largest digital publishing awards program in Canada.

 













Make Some Noise for your Brand

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 2023 (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.

 


 

WHO CAN ENTER

Freelance Journalists/Influencers

Freelance writers, influencers, photographers, podcasters and video producers can submit their work for the COPA awards. Freelancers/Influencers will receive a special pricing of $50 per entry. Influencers require a minimum to 1,000- 10,000 followers depending on the division to be eligible to enter. Freelancers/Ifluencers 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/Digital 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.

Independent Publisher (20 Full-time staff or Less)

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.

Inclusiveness Policy - Free Entry Categories

The COPAs 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. The free categories are limited to two (2) entries per brand. 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. Two free Student influencers entries are available to students per school.

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 2023)。

 


DIVISIONS

Business-to-Business Media (Blue)

This is to open to entries that cater to a special B2B niche that includes influencers, 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 that includes influencers, 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 influencers, community newspapers, news/sports, business, entertainment, TV, radio stations and digital only properties.

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 plus 2 free student inflencer entries.

 































2023 CATEGORIES

There are 24 categories below. Your work will be judged against other entries in the same category in the same division. The highest score from a bilingual panel of judges (when applicable) are deemed the winner. The divisions each have 15 categories with some unique to the division. You can choose to enter your entry into more than one category as appropriate.

Eligibility

All entries must have been published between September 1, 2022 to September 30, 2023 to be eligible for the 2023 awards.

1. Best Feel Good Story - Free Entry Category

In a world with a lot of negative stories, the COPAs want to recognize “Hero” stories that provide a positive story for readers, that may be good deeds or acts of kindness. The entry will be judged on quality of writing, reporting, use of video/photos 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. (Publishers are limited to 2 free entries per brand)
This award is available in ALL categories – Business-to-Business Media, Consumer Magazine Media, News/Sports Media and Academic. Sponsored and influencer content is eligible in this category.

2. Best Multi-Cultural Story - Free Entry Category

To encourage diversity in digital content, this category will look for stories about visible minorities in Canada. This category will celebrate stories about Canada’s multi-cultural landscape. The stories can be written by mainstream and ethnic media publishers in Canada. The entry will be judged on quality of writing, reading, reporting, use of video/photos and multi-platform design. Please submit examples (links, screenshots and PDFs) of articles in all applicable channels print, mobile, website and social for judging. (Publishers are limited to 2 free entries per brand)

This award is available in ALL categories – Business-to-Business Media, Consumer Magazine Media, News/Sports Media and Academic. Sponsored and influencer content is eligible in this category.

3. Best Blog Column

Awarded to the blog/column (including video) deemed to best serve its intended audience through digital formats like a traditional word/ pictures column and/or video 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, reading, reporting, use of video/photos 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 Media, Consumer Magazine Media, News/Sports Media and Academic

4. Best Influencer Content (NEW)

This NEW award is given to the influencer that best serves their followers on any social media media channel that may include Tok Tok, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and Linkedin. The posts must cover a 1 month period so judges can see the storytelling capability of the influencer. The entry will be judged on quality of writing, use of video/photos and follower engagement. Please submit examples (links, screenshots and PDFs) for judging.

This award is available in ALL categories – Please follow the criteria for the different divisions.
a) Business-to-Business Media - Minimum 2,000 followers
b) Consumer Magazine Media - Beauty, Hair, Fashion, Travel, Food, Health, Finance, Parenting, Cars/Boats, Pets, Art, Home, Drink, Cannabis, Outdoor, Tech - Minimum 10,000 followers
c) News/Sports/Entertainment Media - News, Entertainment, Celebrities, Sports, Music, Video Gaming - Minimum 10,000 followers
d) Academic. - Free to any Student entry (minimum 1,000 followers), maximum 2 per school

5. Best Product Story

Awarded to the B2B publication deemed to best serve its audience through a product feature article. These stories can include, but not restricted to, product reviews, testimonials and videos. The entry will be judged on quality of writing, reporting, use of video/photos 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. Sponsored and influencer content is eligible in this category.

6. 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, reporting, use of video/photos 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. Sponsored content is eligible in this category.

7. 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, reporting, use of video/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 only available one (1) category Business-to-Business Media. Sponsored and influencer content is eligible in this category.

8. Best Service Article or Series

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 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. Sponsored and influencer content is eligible in this category.

9. Best Lifestyle Article or Series

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 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, Sponsored and influencer content is eligible in this category.

10. Best Daily News/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 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

11. Best Continuing Coverage of a News and Sports Story

This award goes to the news coverage of a continuing story that may happen over a period of 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 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

12. Best Local Community News/Sports
Awarded to the local community website/publication that provides grassroots community news and sports coverage for neighbourhoods. The entry will be judged on quality of writing, storytelling, use of video/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 only available in one (1) category - News/Sports Media

13. Best Feature Article

This category is open to students that may have a story fitting to be a feature/cover article that may be a how-to, service, profile, lifestyle, interview etc. The entry will be judged on quality of writing, storytelling, use of video/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 only available in one (1) category - Academic

14. Best School Focused Story

Awarded to the student entry the delves into in the issues of school and education life that help improve life on campus. The entry will be judged on quality of writing, story telling, school impact, use of video/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 only available in one (1) category - Academic

15. Best Campus Coverage

Awarded to the campus newspaper/website that provide the best coverage about daily school life. Submissions should include at least 3 articles for consideration The entry will be judged on quality of writing, storytelling, use of video/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 only available in one (1) category - Academic

16. 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/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 ALL categories – Business-to-Business Media, Consumer Magazine Media, News/Sports Media and Academic

17. Best Photojournalism

Awarded to the online publication deemed to best serve its audience through the use of photojournalism. 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 Media, Consumer Magazine Media, News/Sports Media and Academic. Sponsored and influencer content is eligible in this category.

18. 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. Sponsored content is eligible in this category. The entry can be, but not restricted to, news clips, features, how-to, interviews, sports highlights, celebrity profiles and documentaries 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 Media, Consumer Magazine Media, News/Sports Media and Academic. Sponsored and influencer content is eligible in this category.

19. Best Podcast

This award is for the best use of the audio format in the form of a podcast that meets journalistic or entertainment standards for their intended audience. The podcast entry can be in a variety of formats that includes, but is not restricted to, interviews, episodes, radio shows and news broadcasts. The entry will be judged on quality of writing, story telling, music and sound.

This award is available in ALL categories – Business-to-Business Media, Consumer Magazine Media, News/Sports Media and Academic. Sponsored and influencer content is eligible in this category.

20. 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 (Note: the entry does not need to have all channels) and provide PDF file/samples for evaluation including any links.Note: Sponsored content is eligible in this category.

This award is available in ALL categories – Business-to-Business Media, Consumer Magazine Media, News/Sports Media and Academic. Sponsored and influencer content is eligible in this category.

21. Best Email Newsletter Design

Awarded to the best email newsletter produced by a publisher or organization. Elements that will be considered are content, layout, editorial strategy and multi-platform design. Engagement metrics can be provided as part of the submission that will include list size and open rates. 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 Media, Consumer Magazine Media and Student/Schools

 22. Best Virtual Event/Webinar

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 include industry conferences, corporate retreats, trade shows and workshops that are carried out over 1-2 days. Webinars are eligible in this category.

Judges of the virtual events will look at graphic branding, event presentation that 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 two (2) categories – Business-to-Business Media and Consumer Magazine Media. Sponsored content is eligible in this category.

23. 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 two categories – Business-to-Business Media, Consumer Magazine Media. Sponsored content is eligible in this category.

24. 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. Sponsored content is eligible in this category.


HOW TO ENTER

Entry fee: $75 for single entry based on one entry per category and the deadline is September 30, 2023. An early bird discount available for all entries submitted by Friday, August 18, the early bird entry rate is $50. This fee does not include HST. Please provide a screenshot of your entry so we can post it on the COPA website in case you make it to the finalists stage. We link this screenshot to your entry link on your website. Attached files should be no larger than 5 MB.

 
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. In addition Student influencers entries for any student are also free and will not count against the school entry. Maximum of 2 per school for student influencers..Please enter promo code – free, when submitting the free entry.

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

Independent publishers (20 employees or less) , Ethnic Media, non-profit institutions, freelance Journalists and influencers 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/influencer 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 2023 - Best Feel Good Story and Best Multicultural Story. Please do this separate from any other entries you may have planned to avoid accidental payment. (Publishers are limited to 2 free entries per brand). 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 Saturday, September 30, 2023. The Early Bird Deadline is Friday, August 18. Please provide a screenshot of your entry so we can post it on the COPA website in case you make it to the finalists stage. We link this screenshot to your entry link on your website, Attached files should be no larger than 5 MB.


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. Your are limited to 2 free entries per brand in the free categories,

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
2023 SCHEDULE

May 1: Call for Judges
July 1: Call for Entries
Aug 18: Early Bird Deadline
Sept 30: Entry Deadline 
Dec 1: Finalist Announcement
Feb 2024 : COPA Awards Party

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