In a media year dominated by coverage of the presidential campaigns and the election of Donald J. Trump, the unapologetically progressive monthly Mother Jones, edited by Clara Jeffery, was named Magazine Of The Year today by the American Society Of Magazine Editors. And in an equally stunning awards ceremony, ASME sent The New Yorker home empty-handed despite nominations in five categories and its full-on coverage of the Obama Administration and the transition to the Trump era.
(Last spring The New Yorker, edited by David Remnick, was awarded two Pulitzer Prizes, marking the first time the traditionally newspapers-only top prizes had gone to a magazine. The ASME Awards are generally regarded as the magazine equivalent of the Pulitzers.)
“In a year that rocked our country and challenged our industry, Mother Jones found new ways to engage audiences and continue its practice of fearless journalism,” the ASME Magazine Of The Year citation read. Mother Jones also won the highly competitive Reporting category, for “My Four Months as a Private Prison Guard,” by Shane Bauer.
The awards are informally called The Ellies, in honor of the Alexander Calder-designed statuettes resembling an elephant that the winners receive.
The award for General Excellence: News, Sports and Entertainment – the second-most coveted Ellie – went to ESPN The Magazine for “Unfailingly ambitious, deeply reported, imaginatively designed, ESPN The Magazine’s transcendent sports coverage sheds light on politics, society and culture.”
New York magazine and The New York Times Magazine – perennial favorites – each came away with three Ellies. The Adam Moss-edited New York won for Best Magazine Section (its “Culture Pages”), Single Topic issue for an issue devoted to a look back at the Obama years) and Video (for “Guns & Empathy,” co-produced with Narrative 4 in December). The Times Magazine, edited by Jake Silverstein, won for Feature Writing (“I Have No Choice but to Keep Looking,” by Jennifer Percy, ), Essays & Criticism (“David’s Ankles,” by Sam Anderson) and Public Interest (“Worlds Apart,” by Nikole Hannah-Jones).
National Geographic won the Ellie for best website, another highly competitive category. California Sunday won the awards for Design and Photography.
Here’s the complete list of winners:
Magazine of the Year
Honors magazines for print and digital editorial excellence; audience engagement; and the success of branded content and services, including conferences and events
Winner: Mother Jones
Award Citation: In a year that rocked our country and challenged our industry, Mother Jones found new ways to engage audiences and continue its practice of fearless journalism.
General Excellence: News, Sports and Entertainment
Winner: ESPN The Magazine
Award Citation: Unfailingly ambitious, deeply reported, imaginatively designed, ESPN The Magazine’s transcendent sports coverage sheds light on politics, society and culture.
General Excellence: Service and Lifestyle
Winner: Bon Appétit
Award Citation: Despite the ever-growing number of food-related publications, Bon Appétit rises above the competition to deliver perfectly seasoned content both in print and online.
General Excellence: Special Interest
Winner: Modern Farmer
Award Citation: For the community of readers centered on Modern Farmer, dinner is politics, and the editors of the magazine are ready to serve. For them, food is not only about consuming but also about producing.
General Excellence: Literature, Science and Politics
Winner: The Marshall Project
Award Citation: With zealous investigations, superb storytelling and the creative use of digital technology, The Marshall Project is changing the face of criminal-justice reporting.
Winner: The California Sunday Magazine
Award Citation: The California Sunday Magazine celebrates the visual culture of the American West while exuding utter confidence in the power of print. This is what visual storytelling can and should be.
Winner: The California Sunday Magazine
Award Citation: Whether the subject is hip hop musicians or desert wildflowers, the effect painterly or surreal, The California Sunday Magazine’s pursuit of excellence is unrelenting.
Winner: Pacific Standard for “Adrift,” photographs by Francesco Zizola, July/August
Award Citation: Sensitively paced and complemented by elegant typography, Francesco Zizola’s photographs of migrants attempting to cross the Mediterranean combine a strong visual perspective with a powerful narrative voice.
Winner: New York for “The Culture Pages”
Award Citation: New York’s “Culture Pages” are wildly inventive—a kaleidoscopic inventory of new movies, music, literature and art. No matter the subject, “The Culture Pages” jump on it with smart, wisecracker voices.
Winner: GOOD for “What Can He Really Do? What Can We Do About It?,” Winter
Award Citation: The editors of GOOD channeled their post-election shock, frustration and anger into a piece of journalism that is not only useful in these uncertain times but also optimistic and hopeful.
Winner: Eater for “The Eater Guide to Paris,” by Eater Staff, October 19 at eater.com
Award Citation: A comprehensive guide to eating well in the best city for eating well, Eater’s comprehensive, easy-to-navigate package is guaranteed to make first-time visitors to Paris feel like not-so-world-weary boulevardiers.
Winner: New York for “Eight Years in America,” October 3-16 print issue and nymag.com
Award Citation: From President Obama’s own account of his eight years in the White House to an especially moving photo essay featuring the siblings of shooting victims, this special issue of New York made history of its own.
Winner: National Geographic
Award Citation: The National Geographic website consistently inspires a sense of wonder—a highly predictable result when a magazine with a rich visual tradition that dates to the 19th century embraces 21st-century technology and sets off on digitally enabled journeys across our planet and those nearby.
Winner: Huffington Post Highline for “The 21st Century Gold Rush,” by Malia Politzer and Emily Kassie, December 21 at highline.huffingtonpost.com
Award Citation: For “The 21st Century Gold Rush,” the small Highline team used time-honored reporting techniques combined with digital storytelling tools to document the ways criminals and bureaucrats are profiting from the global refugee crisis.
Winner: New York With Narrative 4 for “Guns & Empathy,” December 26 at nymag.com
Award Citation: New York’s “Guns & Empathy” chronicled an intriguing, tension-filled social experiment in which gun lovers and gun haters exchanged stories one on one. The results were dramatic, sometimes cathartic and always affecting.
Winner: Mother Jones for “My Four Months as a Private Prison Guard,” by Shane Bauer, July/August print issue; June 23 at motherjones.com and youtube.com
Award Citation: With this 40-page account of life in a private prison—a dark, violent domain almost wholly shielded from public view—the editors of Mother Jones reinvigorated the muckraking tradition.
Winner: The New York Times Magazine for “‘I Have No Choice but to Keep Looking,’” by Jennifer Percy, August 2 at nytimes.com
Award Citation: Time stops and memory is suspended as Jennifer Percy–in spare, elegant prose–explores the impact of the 2011 tsunami on survivors who still search for those they lost.
Essays and Criticism
Winner: The New York Times Magazine for “David’s Ankles,” by Sam Anderson, August 21
Award Citation: Thoroughly reported and deeply personal, “David’s Ankles” considers the enduring appeal of Michelangelo’s “David.” The result is a wide-ranging study of the inevitability of deterioration in the lives of both artworks and magazine writers.
Columns and Commentary
Winner: Harper’s Magazine for three columns by Rebecca Solnit: “Bird in a Cage,” March, “The Ideology of Isolation,” July, and “Giantess,” September
Award Citation: Rebecca Solnit’s touch is humble and light, yet there is nothing easy about these “Easy Chair” columns from Harper’s Magazine. Harper’s “Easy Chair” may date to 1851, but Solnit fills these pages with vital stories about the world today.
Winner: The New York Times Magazine for “Worlds Apart,” by Nikole Hannah-Jones, June 12
Award Citation: Nikole Hannah-Jones deftly blends solid reporting and thorough analysis with her own experience as the mother of a young child to show how, 50 years after “Brown v. Board of Education,” American schools remain separate and unequal.