There were two clear winners at Monday night's National Magazine Awards: New York magazine and departing Esquire editor David Granger.
New York took home four Ellies -- General Excellence in the News, Sports and Entertainment category, Magazine Section, Multimedia
But the sentimental standout was Mr. Granger, who is leaving Esquire at the end of March after 19 years editing the magazine. Several award-winners paid tribute to Mr. Granger, and he received a standing ovation when Esquire took home the Essays and Criticism category.
"I'm so happy about this that I'm just going to quit," Mr. Granger said to healthy applause.
Early in the night, New York magazine Editor in Chief Adam Moss said, "While I'm up here, I just want to give a salute to David Granger." Janice Min, who accepted a General Excellence prize for The Hollywood Reporter, said to Mr. Granger: "You have been a great inspiration throughout my career."
The Atlantic took home Magazine of the Year honors, and The New Yorker won the prestigious Feature Writing category for an earth-shattering essay by Kathryn Schulz ("The Really Big One"). Bloomberg Businessweek won the Single-Topic Issue category for a 38,000-word essay about code.
But it was New York magazine that won the night.
Mr. Moss, after the ceremony, told Ad Age that he was "totally surprised" by New York's healthy award tally.
"It's nice for the people you work with who work so hard to get honored. And to get some recognition," he said. "To me, the hard part, having been a judge, the hard part is to get into the five. So just to be in the five is great. And if you win, it's like gravy. So it was a nice night of gravy."
When asked if the magazine's performance set a high bar for next year's contest, Mr. Moss laughed, and said: "It's just an award. But it's nice." (He then called for Mr. Granger, who was standing nearby.)
It was also a successful night for digital media startups. BuzzFeed News won the Public Interest category; Vox Media's Eater won the Leisure Interests category; Matter, from Medium, won the Reporting category; and First Look Media's The Intercept won the Columns and Commentary category for three pieces that were submitted by imprisoned journalist Barrett Brown.
"Whatever happens in Iowa, it sounds like the magazine establishment was overthrown at the #ellies tonight," wrote Andrew Golis, a veteran of The Atlantic, on Twitter. "I feel bad for every magazine that hasn't made digital its priority tonight," said former Bloomberg Digital editor Joshua Topolsky.
When accepting the company's prize, BuzzFeed News Investigations & Projects Editor Mark Schoofs said: "It is kind of overwhelming to be recognized along with some of the magazines I've admired all my life."
He then thanked Jonah Peretti, BuzzFeed's founder and CEO, for creating the company as a laboratory for viral content. "Thank God that includes investigations," Mr. Schoofs added.