National Geographic wins Magazine of the Year at annual awards gala

Joe Pompeo
Media Reporter
The Cutline

National Geographic won Magazine of the Year at Monday night's 2011 National Magazine Awards, besting The Atlantic, Wired, Foreign Policy, and Backpacker for the top prize at the annual glossy journalism gala. The magazine also took home a distinction for its special April 2010 issue about water, pictured at right.

Several other publications left the swank ballroom of Manhattan's 583 Park Avenue last night with multiple awards in hand: New York magazine (for special section and general excellence among news, sports and entertainment magazines) Los Angeles (for feature writing and general excellence among special interest magazines), and the New York Times Magazine (for news and documentary photography and profile writing).

The National Magazine Awards, distributed by the American Society of Magazine Editors (ASME), are the industry's premier annual event. The New Yorker, a perennial favorite among the judges, was nominated in 11 categories this year but emerged victorious in just one--public interest journalism. The magazine was defeated in the reporting category by Harper's, as was Rolling Stone, which was an odds-on favorite among handicappers since its nominated piece--Michael Hastings' explosive Stanley McChrystal profile--prompted the resignation of the four-star Army general as commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan last summer.

Shortly before the upset, Rolling Stone co-founder and longtime editor Jann Wenner was on stage to introduce this year's recipient of ASME's Creative Excellence Award, the legendary journalist Tom Wolfe, who was dressed in one of his signature white suits. Wenner had donned a similar ensemble for the evening, which Wolfe took due note of before launching into his 15-minute speech.

"I hope everyone noticed just how fabulous Jann looks tonight," he said.

The host this year was outgoing "CBS Evening News" anchor Katie Couric, who arrived a bit late, but delivered a gently sardonic introduction.

"For me, there's nothing better than relaxing after a hard day at the office with my copy of Garden & Gun," she quipped. (Garden & Gun ended up winning for general excellence in the food, travel and design category.)

But there were some somber moments as well. Vanity Fair editor-in-chief Graydon Carter kicked things off by honoring the two photojournalists who died last month while covering the conflict in Libya, Chris Hondros and Tim Hetherington, a Vanity Fair contributor.

"Let us make sure they're not forgotten," he said.

Equally touching was Carter's acceptance of the columns and commentary award, which Vanity Fair won for three essays by Christopher Hitchens. The iconoclastic journalist was diagnosed with late-stage esophageal cancer last year, and has chronicled his illness in the pages of the magazine.

"Christopher is in the fight of his life," said Carter. "Amazingly, I think his writing has become even better."

You can view the full list of ASME's 2011 winners below.


News, Sports and Entertainment Magazines
Honors large-circulation weeklies, biweeklies and general-interest monthlies

New York
Adam Moss, Editor-in-Chief
For April 19, July 12, August 9-16 Issues

Literary, Political and Professional Magazines
Honors academic and scholarly publications as well as smaller-circulation general-interest magazines

Christian Wiman, Editor
Don Share, Senior Editor
For April, September, October Issues

Fashion, Service and Lifestyle Magazines
Honors women's magazines, including health and fitness magazines and family-centric publications

Women's Health
Michele Promaulayko, Editor-in-Chief
David Zinczenko, Editorial Director
For January-February, July-August, October Issues

Food, Travel and Design Magazines
Honors lifestyle magazines as well as shelter titles

Garden & Gun
Sid Evans, Editor-in-Chief
For April-May, June-July, December 2010-January 2011 Issues

Finance, Technology and Lifestyle Magazines
Honors men's magazines as well as business, science and active-interest publications

Scientific American
Mariette DiChristina, Editor-in-Chief
For September, November, December Issues

Special-Interest Magazines
Honors magazines serving targeted audiences, including city and regional magazines

Los Angeles
Mary Melton, Editor
For February, September, November Issues

Honors overall excellence in magazine design, including the use of illustrations and photographs

Jim Nelson, Editor-in-Chief
Fred Woodward, Design Director
For June, August, December Issues

Honors overall excellence in magazine photography

Stefano Tonchi, Editor-in-Chief
For September, October, November Issues

Honors photojournalism and photography that documents news, sports and entertainment events and news-related subjects

The New York Times Magazine
Gerald Marzorati, Editor-in-Chief
For "The Shrine Down the Hall," photographs by Ashley Gilbertson; essay by Dexter Filkins
March 21

Honors portraiture; fashion, travel and nature photography; and food, shelter and other still-life photography conceptual photography; and photo-illustration

ESPN The Magazine
Gary Belsky, Editor-in-Chief
For "Bodies We Want," reporting by Morty Ain
October 18

Honors magazines that have devoted an issue to the comprehensive examination of one subject or topic

National Geographic
Chris Johns, Editor-in-Chief
For "Water: Our Thirsty World"

Honors a regularly published, clearly branded front- or back-of-the-book department or section

New York
Adam Moss, Editor-in-Chief
For "Strategist"
May 24, October 25, December 20-27 Issues

Honors the superior and consistent use of print to serve readers' needs and aspirations

Men's Health
David Zinczenko, Editor-in-Chief
Peter Moore, Editor
For "I Want My Prostate Back," by Laurence Roy Stains; photographs by Nigel Cox

Honors the superior and consistent use of print to provide information about recreational activities and special interests

Men's Journal
Jann S. Wenner, Editor-in-Chief
Will Dana, Editorial Director
Brad Wieners, Editor
For "Five Meals Every Man Should Master," by Daniel Duane; photographs by Marcus Nilsson

Honors magazine journalism that illuminates issues of local or national importance

The New Yorker
David Remnick, Editor
For "Letting Go," by Atul Gawande
August 2

Honors reporting excellence as exemplified by one article or a series of articles

Harper's Magazine
Roger D. Hodge, Editor
For "The Guantanamo 'Suicides,'" by Scott Horton

Honors original, stylish storytelling

Los Angeles
Mary Melton, Editor
For "The End," by Ben Ehrenreich

Honors news or feature stories focused on individuals or groups of closely linked individuals

The New York Times Magazine
Gerald Marzorati, Editor-in-Chief
For "The Man the White House Wakes Up To," by Mark Leibovich
April 25

Honors long-form journalism that presents the opinions of the writer on topics ranging from the personal to the political

The Paris Review
Lorin Stein, Editor
For "Mister Lytle: An Essay," by John Jeremiah Sullivan

Honors short-form journalism that presents the views of the writer or publication

Vanity Fair
Graydon Carter, Editor
For three columns by Christopher Hitchens: "Topic of Cancer," September; "Unanswerable Prayers," October; "Miss Manners and the Big C," December

Honors the best short stories published in magazines

Virginia Quarterly Review
Ted Genoways, Editor
For "Minor Watt," by Paul Theroux

Honors the best magazines published both in print and on digital platforms

National Geographic
Chris Johns, Editor-in-Chief
Rob Covey, Digital Media Editor, For February, April, December Issues
One Cubic Foot
Burden of Thirst
Gaudi's Masterpiece
Water: A Special Issue
Being Jane Goodall
Great Migrations
Tut's Family Secrets
Curious Chimps
The National Geographic Photo Contest
Your Shot
Time for a Sea Change
The Spill