Fast Company Wins Magazine of the Year at National Magazine Awards

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Fast Company won magazine of the year at the 2014 National Magazine Awards.
Fast Company won magazine of the year at the 2014 National Magazine Awards.

Fast Company was named magazine of the year at the annual National Magazine Awards on Thursday night, earning the award that honors brands excelling in both print and digital media as well as areas such as events.

It beat out The Atlantic, Bon Appetit, Esquire and New York magazines at the National Magazine Awards, which are presented by the American Society of Editors in association with the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. The awards are known as the Ellies for the Alexander Calder elephant sculptures that serve as trophies.

But it was two weekly (or recently weekly) titles that walked away with the most Ellies. The New Yorker -- a normally reliable honoree that was shut out of last year's awards despite five nominations -- took home the most trophies this year, with four Ellies: for feature writing, fiction, essays and criticism, and columns and commentary.

New York magazine, which this year went from a weekly publishing schedule to biweekly, won three Ellies, including a general excellence award for general interest magazine. Adam Moss, New York's editor, said the award was "poignant" given the magazine's historic shift.

Modern Farmer won its first Ellie, for magazine section, drawing the night's biggest roar of applause from the roughly 600 people in attendance. The quarterly title, published out of Hudson, N.Y., made its debut last March to cover both farmers and the farm-to-table movement.

"We've started to call ourselves the farming magazine for media professionals," Annie Marie Gardner, CEO and editor in chief of Modern Farmer, said about the media world's embrace of the small title.

Joanna Coles, editor in chief of Cosmopolitan, got the biggest rise out of the crowd when she accepted the magazine's award in the personal service category for "Your Cosmo Guide to Contraception."

"We have a sex position called the ASME," she said, referring to the acronym for the American Society of Magazine Editors. You bend over, grab your ankles and "enjoy some slow digital input," she said.

The award was the first for Cosmo, which made its debut in 1965.

Acceptance speeches were, for the most part, kept to one minute upon the advisement of the night's hosts, Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski from MSNBC's "Morning Joe."

During Thursday night's ceremony at the Marriott Marquis in New York, longtime Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter, who also co-founded Spy magazine, was given the Magazine Editors' Hall of Fame Award. His friend and former Time magazine managing editor Jim Kelly introduced Mr. Carter, with some help from a short video with actor Jon Hamm.

"Many days, I would've done the job for nothing," Mr. Carter told the audience.

Earlier in the week, Boston magazine won cover of the year for its May issue with running shoes shaped into a heart.

The September issue of O, The Oprah Magazine
The September issue of O, The Oprah Magazine

Overall, the night belonged to ink-on-paper magazines, with legacy titles beating online publications like Slate, Pitchfork, The Atavist, The Daily Beast and The Verge that have joined the competition in recent years, even in categories focused on digital. National Geographic won in the tablet category and in the multimedia category for Robert Draper's "The Last Chase." The video category went to Glamour for its "Screw You Cancer" series. And New York magazine, winner of last year's magazine of the year honor, earned best website.

That was one of three awards for New York, whose nine nominations were the most going into the evening. New York's other awards came in the design category and for general excellence in the general interest category. Other general excellence winners were Sunset, for service and lifestyle; Bon Appetit for style and design; Field & Stream, in the active interest category; Inc. for special interest; and Poetry magazine for Literature, Science and Politics.

Bon Appetit, which was Ad Age's Magazine of the Year in 2013, also earned an Ellie for photography. W magazine won in the feature photography category for the second year straight, this time for Tim Walker's "Stranger Than Paradise."

The New York Times Magazine won in the reporting category for "The Dream Boat." The recognition comes as the magazine reconsiders where it fits into the Times newsroom, having named Jake Silverstein to the top editor job following Hugo Lindgren's exit late last year. Deputy editor Joel Lovell accepted the award and made sure to thank Mr. Lindgren.

Time magazine won in the public interest category for Steven Brill's cover story "Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us." The story appeared in the Mar. 4, 2013 edition of Time, which was among the magazine's best-selling issues last year, according to the Alliance for Audited Media.

Time's honor will be bittersweet for another magazine, however; Mr. Brill originally wrote 'Bitter Pill' for The New Republic.

The "Hair Extravaganza!" in O, The Oprah Magazine's September issue -- which shows Oprah Winfrey with a large afro and became another top-seller at the newsstand -- won in the leisure interest category.

Bloomberg Businessweek's "Five Years from the Brink," a retrospective on the financial crisis, won for single-topic issue.

Wired magazine, which went into the night with six nominations, walked away empty handed. GQ and Harper's magazine, each with four nominations, were also shut out.

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