National Geographic was named magazine of the year at the annual National Magazine Awards held Monday night in New York, winning the top trophy in a relatively new category created to honor titles superior in both print and digital.
National Geographic also won a second award, in the single-topic issue category for its April 2010 issue devoted to "Water: Our Thirsty World."
The other titles that won two awards comprise Los Angeles, New York and The New York Times Magazine.
The magazine of the year category returned for a second year -- Conde Nast's Glamour won it first at least year's ceremony -- but this ceremony had a number of its own firsts. Its longtime top categories had been reformulated to pit magazines against editorially similar rivals instead of grouping them by circulation, like fighters being classed by weight.
Even so, some of the new categories included perhaps surprising classifications. New York won for print general excellence among news, sports and entertainment magazines, a category that "honors large-circulation weeklies, biweeklies and general-interest monthlies," while Los Angeles won for print general excellence among special-interest magazines, a category for titles "serving targeted audiences, including city and regional magazines."
The ceremony opened with a tribute by Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter to photojournalists Tim Hetherington and Chris Hondros, who were recently killed as they covered the war in Libya.
It also reintroduced a sit-down meal, five years after leaving behind the old luncheon presentations for a nighttime awards show that organizers hoped would prove more glamorous. The ceremony was hosted by Katie Couric and included the presentation of a creative excellence award to Tom Wolfe by Jann Wenner. It also included the announcement that Mayor Michael Bloomberg had proclaimed May 9 "Magazine Day" in New York City.
Other magazine winners included Poetry, Women's Health, Garden & Gun and Scientific American for general excellence. The New Yorker, which used to clean up with many awards each year, won in the public interest category.
The National Magazine Awards, presented every year by the American Society of Magazine Editors in association with the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, are known as the Ellies, for the Alexander Calder elephant sculptures that serve as trophies.
The Digital National Magazine Awards, an extension of the long-running Ellies, were presented in March, with wins for Epicurious, Esquire and Slate, among others.
Find a complete list of Monday's winners and finalists here.