2012 NMAs: How-To

I must come clean: I am  the managing editor of Canadian Home Workshop magazine. It says “Canada’s do-it-yourself magazine” right on the cover of each issue that goes out. Do-it-yourself magazine, people! The magazine tells you how to do things. It should effin’ pwn this freakin’ category but—

Pardon me. I’m sorry for that outburst. You can see I have a few things still to work out in light of my magazine’s absence from this list of nominees. My therapist says things are progressing quite well…and the judges for this category all have restraining orders against me. Yes, things are going quite well.

So, I feel strongly about this category not only because of my job, but because this category celebrates the most poetic writing in journalism. I’m talking poetic in the Horatian sense, Ars Poetica. The old Roman wanted plays to instruct or delight. To do both, of course, is better. Really, all non-fiction writing must do both. With how-to writing, you might think the delight part could get a pass. But no. No! If your article is going to win this category, it must be firing on both Horatian rockets. I will look at all the how-to stories by how instructional they are, as well as how delightful. Each article will get a score out of 10 for its instruction and 10 for its delightfulness. Very scientific, no?

“How are you managing?”
Deena Waisberg gives us tips for becoming a better manager.
Instruction: 4
Delight: 3
Total: 7

“Honey, I Sunk the Boat” [.pdf of story]
Cottage Life
Christine Langlois runs through some boating maintenance and operating mistakes and how to avoid them.
Instruction: 7
Delight: 7
Total: 14

“Hot Spot How-To” [.pdf of story]
Cottage Life
Susan Nerberg tell us how to build the perfect sauna for the cottage.
Instruction: 8
Delight: 8
Total: 16

“Camping 101” [.pdf of story]
Canoeing and camping expert Kevin Callan and Ryan Stuart cover just about everything you need to know about camping.
Instruction: 9
Delight: 9
Total: 18

“The Ultimate Home Maintenance Guide”
Romana King tells you all you need to know to keep your house in good repair.
Instruction: 9
Delight: 8
Total: 17

“75 Whitetail Essentials” [.pdf of story]
Outdoor Canada
Mark Raycroft has 75 [!] tips for hunting deer.
Instruction: 8
Delight: 6
Total: 14

“Camping” [.pdf of story]
Ricardo magazine on camp cooking.
Instruction: 3
Delight: 4
Total: 7

“Gee, Mom, I wanna go home”
Up Here
Katherine Laidlaw sets down the rules of living and working in mining and exploration camps.
Instruction: 3
Delight: 7
Total: 10

“The Grapes of Laugh” [.pdf of story]
Natalie MacLean tells you how to host a wine tasting.
Instruction: 6
Delight: 7
Total: 13

“How to Cook Like a Pro”
Western Living
Cooking tips on tips.
Instruction: 6
Delight: 5
Total: 11

So, there you have it. The numbers are in. explore is favoured to win with “Camping 101.” I have a good feeling about this one. I can picture myself going up to James Little, the editor of explore, after the ceremony on June 7 and congratulating him on his magazine’s win in the how-to category. And then, I’ll punch him on the shoulder for winning in the how-to category. I also see another restraining order coming.

Leave a Comment

You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>