Wait, you thought I was talking about a National Magazine Award? Well, a bunch of NMA's will, in fact, be awarded this week in a fancy Manhattan ceremony. And bully for all the nominees and winners, because the NMA's are, as they say, the Oscars of the industry.
But this NMA is a new, very special award that I'm personally introducing this year. It's the No Magazine Award, awarded to Hachette for its generally excellent work in un-publishing. In shuttering Premiere most recently, and ElleGirl, For Me and Shock before that, Hachette's taken a leadership role in helping the magazine industry transition to its future of publishing no magazines at all. (Hachette barely edged out layoff- and closure-happy Time Inc.)
It's my conviction that the NMA's -- the NMA's proper, that is -- leave a lot of deserving parties out in the cold. So in addition to the No Magazine Award, I'm pleased to announce these winners:
The YWR (You Wuz Robbed) Award
Past NMA nominee Los Angeles Magazine was nominated for nada, nothing, zilch this year. Did it suddenly start sucking? No; in fact, as I recently wrote in this column, it's never been better. Speaking of magazines not published in New York, Texas Monthly is nominated in only one category -- General Excellence -- this year. C'mon! TexMo is generally excellent, but it doesn't even rate in the top five, in, say, reporting, feature writing, design, or photography? (It's deserving in all those categories and more, as is L.A. Mag.) Clearly TexMo Editor Evan Smith and L.A. Mag Editor Kit Rachlis need to spend more time in Manhattan kissing up to the pool of potential NMA judges.
The SYCRSH (Sorry Your Category Rocks So Hard) Award
Past General Excellence winner Dwell (which is truly excellent) just hit its 50th-issue anniversary. Why was it overlooked this year? Because, I suppose, the judges figured the General Excellence category was already overstuffed with design-centric titles (I.D., Metropolis, Print). And I suppose it doesn't help that Dwell is published in San Francisco.
The NTF (Non-Traditional Fiction) Award
Don't get me wrong: I'm delighted that there are still enough magazines publishing fiction to fill out the five finalist slots for the NMA fiction prize. But I'm saddened that Star, In Touch, Life & Style and Us Weekly were overlooked given their tireless efforts in the burgeoning literary genre of celebrity fiction, wherein "sources say" what is going on in various stars' minds as they contemplate love, lust and, especially, makin' babies.
The WWJN (What Would Jesus Nominate?) Award
All I can say about Beliefnet.com is site Editor in Chief Steven Waldman must know someone important upstairs. Because the fact that the not-exactly-brilliant site has been nominated four times since 2002, including this year, in the General Excellence Online category, is otherwise inexplicable. Last week, for instance, BeliefNet was headlining features including "How 'The Secret' Helped You" ("Beliefnet readers say that the best-selling book and DVD 'The Secret' has worked miracles in their lives -- from money for college to a new swingset") and "No Small Act of Kindness" ("A panhandler showed me that nothing is too small or insignificant to effect change"), not to mention -- I'm not kidding you -- a piece titled "Is 'American Idol' Partly to Blame for the VTech Shootings?" Oh, God.
The RGEO (Real General Excellence Online) Award ...
... goes to www.MagazineDeathPool.com. Published anonymously by a magazine-industry insider who refers to himself or herself as the Reaper, this site is, quite simply, visionary. Frighteningly so.