MMPA Excellence Awards & Gala

2019 Excellence Award Categories

2019 Excellence Awards Entry Information

Excellence Awards & Award Winners

Magazine of the Year Award

The Magazine of the Year Award was first presented in 2010. This award is designed to recognize consistent, comprehensive, and cumulative excellence in publishing. Like the medal count at the Olympics, it rewards titles for the individual gold, silver, and bronze awards they receive.

American Craft Magazine -- 2018 Magazine of the Year Award Winner

American Craft Magazine -- 2018 Magazine of the Year Award Winner

The Magazine of the Year award is based on a cumulative scoring system whereby points are earned from Excellence Awards won between 1997 (when the Publishing Excellence Awards were founded) through the current year. Gold awards are worth three points, silver awards are worth two, and bronze awards are worth one. 

Once a publication wins the Magazine of the Year award, their cumulative score resets to zero, and they begin accumulating points again the following year in their pursuit of a second Magazine of the Year trophy.

The Magazine of the Year is given out each year at the annual MMPA Excellence Awards Gala. The top five nominees will be notified prior to the event, and the winner will be announced at the Gala in November.

Previous Magazine of the Year Award winners

2017: Exhibitor Magazine

2016: Lavender Magazine

2015: Mpls.St.Paul Magazine

2014: Experience Life

2013: Lake Superior Magazine

2012: Twin Cities Business

2011: Exhibitor Magazine

2010: Minnesota Monthly

A few of the 2018 Excellence Awards Winners

Hedley Donovan Award

Hedley Donovan was born May 24, 1914, in Brainerd, Minnesota. He graduated in 1934 magna cum laude from the University of Minnesota, as a member of Phi Beta Kappa. He was an editor in chief of Time Inc. from 1964 till 1979 and was responsible for all publications at Time Inc., including Time, Life, Fortune, Sports Illustrated, Money, and People. After retiring in 1979 he became a senior adviser to President Jimmy Carter. Hedley Donovan was chosen by Henry Luce, founder of Time Inc., to be his successor. 

Keith Oelke -- 2018 Hedley Donovan Award Winner

Keith Oelke -- 2018 Hedley Donovan Award Winner

The Hedley Donovan Award was created in 1999 by the MMPA to recognize individuals who have shown outstanding lifelong dedication and made exceptional contributions to Minnesota's magazine industry.


  • Should be leaders who have helped the publishing industry grow and receive more recognition.

  • May come from the creative or the commercial side of the business.

  • Should have a history of long-standing, notable contributions to the publishing industry.

Criteria for nominees

  • A person who for many years has demonstrated significant contributions - near the pinnacle of success rather than on the way up in mid career.

  • The nominee should be a publisher, editor or senior magazine executive who has received broad recognition in the magazine publishing arena and has been instrumental in one or more successful magazine enterprises.

  • The nominee should be someone we would all be proud to have represent us and our industry.

  • The nominee should have a record of significant contributions ("giving back") to the publishing industry as a whole, either through industry associations or other voluntary and cooperative forms of service.

Previous Hedley Donovan Award winners

2017: Gary Johnson, MSP Communications

2016: Rebecca Sterner, Publishing Consultant

2012: Steve Hedlund, formerly of GS Media & Events

2004: Steve Fox, Minnesota Monthly

2002: Al and Ron Lindner, founders of In-Fisherman magazine

2001: John Ehlert, formerly of Ehlert Publications Group

2000: Jim Secord, formerly of Bill Communications

1999: Burt Cohen of MSP Communications

*No award was given in 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014 or 2015.

Nominate Someone Today!

Greg Carey Leadership Award

Greg Carey, a former Vice President of North American Media Group in Minnetonka, served on the MMPA board of directors from 1995 to 2000, and was president of the organization in 1998. His dedication and leadership have been instrumental in helping the MMPA to grow. 

Gayle Golden -- 2018 Greg Carey Award Winner

Gayle Golden -- 2018 Greg Carey Award Winner

Carey was particularly responsible for engineering the MMPA Publishing Excellence Awards, founded in 1997. The awards recognize and celebrate outstanding publishing achievements in Minnesota in the areas of Editorial, Design and Overall Excellence. The Awards Program has grown rapidly to become the MMPA's largest event. 

Previous Greg Carey Leadership Award winners

2017: Laura Michaels, Liz Keener and Galynn Nordstrom

2016: Kevin Dunn, MSP Communications

2015: Kathryn Ciesielczyk, Thomson Reuters

2014: Steve Schiffman, Publisher, IFAI

2011: Aileen Hough, CSC Publishing Inc.

2010: Mary Jo Larson, Franchise Times

2009: Hervey Evans, Erasmus, Inc.

2007: Steve Hedlund, Ehlert Publishing Group

2006: Shelly Elmore, Twin Cities Business

2005: Bill Monn, General Mills

2004: Cindy Christian Rogers, Owner, Different Draft, Inc.

2003: Mary Hennessy, Publisher, IFAI

2002: Jennifer Koski, Freelance Writer

2001: Rebecca Sterner, Independent Consultant

*No award was given in 2008, 2012, 2013

Nominate Someone Today!

Innovator Award

The Innovator Award was first presented in 2002. This award recognizes companies that have successfully established and executed a new concept in the magazine publishing business. This new concept could range from a particularly successful publication (or launch) to a more-efficient production technique.

Sherry Shifflet presents the Innovator Award to Jay DeWitt from Ratchet+Wrench

Sherry Shifflet presents the Innovator Award to Jay DeWitt from Ratchet+Wrench

Nominees must presently be MMPA members. A print or online publishing product or service that incrementally or radically changes thinking, products, processes or organizations.



Previous Innovator Award winners

2014: Rat Rod Magazine

2013: Ratchet+Wrench

2012: Rat Rod Magazine and Quad/Graphics

2010: EXHIBITOR Magazine

2007: Woodworker's Journal

2006: Ehlert Publishing

2005: Game Informer

2004: Sales Force XP

2003: North American Membership Group

2002: New Moon, The Magazine for Girls and Their Dreams

*No award was given in 2008, 2009, 2011, 2015, 2016, 2017 & 2018.

Nominate Someone Today!

People's Choice Award

2018 will mark the fifth year of the People’s Choice Award, with Excellence Award gala attendees voting for their favorite magazine cover on site. Submit your best magazine cover for display on the wall inside Aria during the gala and wait for the votes to pile up. We’ll count the votes and the winner will be announced later in the evening - and awarded a beautiful crystal award.

2018 People's Choice Award Winner -- The Growler

2018 People's Choice Award Winner -- The Growler

Entry rules are simple:

  1. Print a full-sized copy of your publication’s favorite magazine cover and mount it on a cardboard or foam core. Submit only one cover per title.

  2. Cover must have been published between July 2017 and June 2018, but it is not necessary to have entered that magazine or cover in any of this year’s official award categories.

  3. Drop off or mail your mounted covers by (date TBD) to the MMPA Office:
    Minnesota Media & Publishing Association
    Attn: Mary Pat Nielson
    5353 Wayzata Blvd., Ste. 350
    Minneapolis, MN 55416

  4. During the evening, we’ll tally the votes and present the winner with the People’s Choice Award. As the gala ends, collect your covers and bring them home with all of your other winnings.

Previous People's Choice Award Winners

2017: The Growler

2016: Minneapolis College of Art and Design

2015: The Wagazine

2014: Delta Sky Magazine

Excellence Awards Gala

Entries were submitted, judges’ scores were tabulated and those gleaming awards were presented during the 2018 MMPA Excellence Awards Gala held November 1 at Aria, in the heart of Minneapolis’ Warehouse District.

The MMPA Excellence Awards Gala culminates with the announcement of the 2018 Magazine of the Year award.