COSMOS wins Magazine of the Year

Dear friends and colleagues: thanks to all our contributors (many of them ASC members) who helped us win the awards below. To have an Australian science magazine recognised against a field of 500 other titles from across Australia is a testament to the quality of the science writing we publish and the quality of science in Australia that we all report on. Thank you!

– Wilson da Silva

*COSMOS wins Magazine of the Year*

COSMOS, Australia’s #1 science magazine, scooped the top honours at Australia’s annual Bell Awards for Publishing Excellence, taking out the coveted Magazine of the Year trophy and six others.

The 2009 awards, given annually by the magazine industry association, Publishers Australia, were held on Friday 13 November before an audience of 500 at a gala ceremony in the harbourside Doltone House at Darling Island Wharf, in Sydney, with comedian and ABC TV host James O’Loughlin compering the event.

Judges said COSMOS “displayed a commitment to publishing excellence and innovation,” and “provided more ways for its’ readers to meaningfully interact with the content, with digital and events … embraced new ways of marketing itself to its readers, including the use of relevant social media and cause marketing … [and] was able to demonstrate success on metrics including subscriptions, readership and engagement.”

The awards, across 25 categories, acknowledge the talent, expertise and outstanding achievements over the past year of print and online publications. They’re judged by a panel of 21 independent industry specialists and academics drawn from advertising, publishing, marketing, editorial, online and audit agencies such as Nielsen and Circulations Audit Board.

*Clearly connected with its readership*

COSMOS also won Best Consumer Magazine and Best Publisher, with judges saying it “clearly demonstrated success in all that they do. Product extensions through engagement with schools and government, and the use of social media initiatives like Hello From Earth, were very clever.

“Their content and design is very friendly despite covering complex issues,” they added. “and clearly connected with its readership community, providing content that plays a meaningful role in their lives.”

Deputy Editor John Pickrell picked up the Best Analytical Writing for “Oceans of Acid”, a feature on the damage climate change is wreaking on the Great Barrier Reef. This is the third year in a row COSMOS has taken out this category.

*Hello From Earth*

Best Digital Engagement Strategy went to the magazine’s innovative Hello >From Earth website, a Science Week initiative in which people were asked to submit messages to be transmitted to Gliese 581d, the nearest Earth-like planet outside our Solar System with the potential to support life. Launched by Australian Science Minister Kim Carr, it had the support of the CSIRO and NASA, who transmitted the message from the Canberra Deep Space Communications Complex in August.

Conceived by Editor Wilson da Silva and executed by the COSMOS team, the website gathered 26,000 messages from 199 countries. In two weeks, with no advertising, it registered 1.25 million page views from 255,000 visitors. It was linked to by 10,723 other sites, written about in more than 9,000 blogs, reported in more than 1,000 newspapers.

Jacqui Hayes, Assistant Editor at COSMOS, also received a Highly Commended certificate for New Journalist of the Year. A physicist by training, she began her publishing career at COSMOS and was previously a finalist in the same category.

*Rewarding brightest minds*

The judges reported that the level of innovation and overall standard of entries had risen in 2009. “We are totally impartial and removed from commercial imperatives,” said Publishers Australia CEO, Alan Sarkissian. “We are focussed only on acknowledging the industry’s brightest minds and most impressive practitioners.”

It’s the second time since COSMOS was founded in 2005 that it has picked up both Magazine of the Year and Best Publisher, the last time being 2006. In all, COSMOS has won an unprecedented 35 Australian and international awards across editorial, design, marketing, sustainability and publishing.


COSMOS is Australia’s #1 science media brand, reaching 400,000 people every month. It was founded in 2004 by four people: Monash University Chancellor and entrepreneur Dr Alan Finkel, magazine publishing executive Kylie Ahern and science journalists Wilson da Silva and Dr Elizabeth Finkel.

Publishers Australia was founded in 1964 and represents Australia’s print and online magazine publishers, with 200 members who produce more than 500 magazines.

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