- Last Updated: 1:30 AM, May 4, 2012
- Posted: 11:56 PM, May 3, 2012
In a year when no one title dominated, Time took home top honors as Magazine of the Year, while long-time rivals The New Yorker and New York magazine made the most trips to the dais at last night’s National Magazine Awards.
Time won for editorial excellence in print, where it has managed to keep its circulation at 3.2 million, as well as in digital, where it had 8.8 million unique visitors in March, according to comScore. Managing Editor Rick Stengel was on hand to pick up the awards.
NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams handed out the 18 awards — known as “Ellies” after the elephant statuettes designed by Alexander Calder that are bestowed upon the winners.
Terry McDonell, editor of the Time Inc. sports group that includes Sports Illustrated, was formally inducted into the American Society of Magazine Editors Hall of Fame for a career that included editorships at Us Weekly, Men’s Journal, Smart, Esquire and Sports Afield, as well as top positions at Rolling Stone and Newsweek.
McDonell received the only standing ovation of the evening. New Yorker writer Ken Auletta said, “Terry is rebel in a suit.”
Of the changing magazine world, McDonell said, “Change is going to be very, very good, especially when the choice is change or go home.”
Adam Moss, editor-in-chief of New York, strode to the dais to accept three awards for the weekly: long-form journalism for “Paper Tigers” by Wesley Yang; best regular section for “Strategist” and best single topic issue for “The Encyclopedia of 9/11,” published on the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks.
His trifecta was the most for any magazine last night, edging out his closest rival, David Remnick, editor-in-chief of The New Yorker, who made two trips to the winners circle. Both weeklies had six nominations.
Earlier in the day, New York was also chosen as best cover of the year for a Photoshopped image of a 50-year-old nude woman who appeared to be pregnant.
The image evoked the groundbreaking photo of a genuinely pregnant Demi Moore on the cover of Vanity Fair during Tina Brown era in 1991. The iconic pose has been much copied over the years, most recently by Elle, which put Jessica Simpson on the April cover.
Brown, who now runs Newsweek/Daily Beast, didn’t make any treks to the winners’ circle last night. However, Beast won a digital Ellie last month.
After getting shut out in the digital Ellies, Remnick accepted the award for public service for “The Invisible Army” by Sarah Stillman, about the exploitation of foreign nationals on military bases overseas, and the best reporting award for writer Lawrence Wright for “The Apostate,” a profile of filmmaker Paul Haggis’s struggle with the Church of Scientology.
“Tonight wasn’t just about one or two magazines,” said Sid Holt, chief executive of ASME. “Service and lifestyle titles like, O, the Oprah Magazine and House Beautiful won their first General Excellence awards, but so did business and tech books like Inc. and IEEE Spectrum.”
With noted editor Susan Casey at the helm, Oprah Winfrey’s magazine was honored for general excellence in women’s magazines. It must come as a welcome relief after single-copy sales tumbled 32 percent in the second half. Casey said, “I really want to thank my amazing team. Most of all, I want to thank Oprah.”
House Beautiful was honored for the first time for general excellence in lifestyle magazines.
Bloomberg Businessweek, edited by Josh Tyrangiel, won for general excellence among general interest mags.
GQ was honored for design, giving creative director Fred Woodward his second such award. Vogue bagged an Ellie for overall general excellence in photography.
Other big wins were snagged by Esquire for feature writing; The New York Times Magazine for feature photography; and Inc. for general excellence for active and special interest mags serving targeted audiences.
Late Vanity Fair columnist Christopher Hitchens pulled in top honors for columns and commentary with three pieces: “When the King Saved God,” “Unspoken Truths” and “From Abbottobad to Worse.”
VF Editor Graydon Carter accepted the award, while Hitchens’ widow, Carole Blue, watched from the audience. “He was one of the bravest persons I’ve ever known,” Carter said of Hitchens, who died of cancer in December 2011.
Among smaller titles, Zoetrope: All Story, the literary mag founded by Francis Ford Coppola, won for best fiction for a story by Karen Russell, Saveur won for leisure interests and Dallas title D won for profile writing for “He is Anonymous,” by Tom Rogers.
Glamour nabbed the personal service award for a Liz Brody piece, “The Secret That Kills Four Women a Day” and Harper’s Magazine won for news and documentary photography.
Organizers succeeded in keeping the event to just over two hours at the Marriott Marquis, in sharp contrast to a year ago, when it dragged on past midnight.
Said People Managing Editor Larry Hackett, also the outgoing ASME president,“To those of you who brought sleeping bags, you won’t have to use them.”