Ellies Go to Publications Besides The New Yorker

What Everyone Is Talking About

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Some years, the National Magazine Awards amount to a heap of accolades for The New Yorker, while last year emerged as a five-win coronation for New York. The 2008 awards last week seemed to cover a wider range, giving National Geographic the most wins, "just" three.
Big winner: A sweep -- if three awards counts as a sweep.
Big winner: A sweep -- if three awards counts as a sweep.

Don't get us wrong: The New Yorker still triumphed. It rebounded from its unusual shutout last year by snapping up the general-excellence prize for magazines with paid circulations between 1 million and 2 million. It remained the all-time leader with a new total of 47 victories over the years. And women's magazines, on the other hand, didn't win a thing, as usual, despite the preponderance of women among magazine consumers.

But many of the winners don't quite have a pocket on every newsstand. Print magazine, a title about graphic design, won general excellence for magazines with circulations below 100,000. Mother Jones won general excellence for the next-largest category. The Nation snared the public-interest prize. Atlanta magazine took the trophy for feature writing. New Letters, which is published by the University of Missouri-Kansas City, won in the essays category. Virginia Quarterly Review, meanwhile, returned to the winner's circle for the best single-topic issue.

Virtually all the better-known winners came from one company, Condé Nast Publishing. There was The New Yorker, of course, but also GQ for general excellence in the 500,000 to 1 million circulation category; Vanity Fair for profile writing and photo portfolio; Wired for design; Gourmet for photography; and Portfolio for magazine section.

The awards, nicknamed Ellies for the Alexander Calder elephant sculptures that serve as trophies, are presented annually by the American Society of Magazine Editors in association with the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

Last year Adam Moss, editor in chief of New York, accepted so many awards on behalf of his magazine that, feeling self-conscious, he told the crowd, "You will never give us one of these again." He was wrong: New York won the leisure-interests category for a feature mapping New York City's street food.
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