The Buzz

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AS FAR AS self-congratulatory media rites go, the National Magazine Awards loses to the White House Correspondents Dinner in one crucial category: You're not likely to see an unaccompanied Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz lounging around the dessert display at the Ellies. But the National Magazine Awards does have actual awards, which this year, went disproportionately to Hearst Magazines' Esquire.

Earlier last week, all was not well at Esquire. An L.A. Times article neatly laid out the legal woes of its writer John Richardson, arrested in March for trespassing and disabling mountain-lion traps while on assignment profiling an Earth First! activist. (Mr. Richardson denied wrongdoing to the Times.) If found guilty, he faces prison and massive fines. Legal fees? Fuhgeddaboutit. Who's paying `em? That's right!

Esquire's four "Ellies" won't salve that budgetary hole. But by winning four awards in seven nominations, their Ellie Batting Average (EBA) this year is .571, way better than its perennial rival, The New Yorker, which this year batted .273 (three-for-11). In fact Esquire's EBA was the highest for any multiple-Ellie winner since The Atlantic batted .750 (three-for-four) and National Geographic Adventure went two-for-two in 2002. This is especially sweet for Esquire, which in many years posts EBA like The Atlantic this year: .000 (that's oh-for-six.) (For complete list of Ellie winners: AdAge.com QwikFIND aap60e)

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