On May 1st magazine industry types gathered at Jazz at Lincoln Center for ASME's National Magazine Awards. I don't do much more than glance over the list every year because it has little to do with the magazines I love or even the ones I just read regularly. This year was no exception. New York Magazine won 5 (5?!) awards. Maybe I'm just not getting something but in what universe is NYM actually an excellent magazine? I mean, sure, the site is helpful and I use it when I'm hungry and need to know about a restaurant and there's some funny dumb stuff on there like the look book, and I have no idea why but I like looking at the shopping section. But these things do not make the print magazine worthy of an award or five. Esquire also always wins. Esquire? This magazine hasn't been good since the 1970s. I constantly forget it's still publishing. My eyes pass over it every time I cruise the newsstand. The covers are ugly confused messes. The mag has totally lost its focus. So many formerly great magazine giants have this problem and the ASME seems happy to give them awards for it. Some of this list reads more like the Magazines Who Should Have Stopped Publishing Years Ago awards. I mean, Rolling Stone got one. I'm glad to see The Nation win for reviews and criticism. I think The Believer should have won for their music issue. I have some different ideas for the design nominations but if I had to choose from the ones on the list here, I'd go for The Believer for that too. Definitely not NYM or GQ (grode).

The full list of nominees and winners is here. Read it and feel free to snark and/or add your own opinions in the comments!

Comments (4)

as a lifetime subscriber, I'm glad to see McSweeney's take Fiction. I'm glad to see Seed among the finalists, but disappointed that it didn't take home the prize; the astonishing work Bly and his team are doing to humanize science deserves more than a nomination. I should be baffled to see Wired win again, but instead I just wish the ASME would establish a separate "We Were Great Once" category, and let Wired, Esquire and The Rolling Stone fight it out for which one saw their once genuinely great contribution to American journalism overshadowed most by how much further they slid this year towards becoming a tedious parody of what used to make them so brilliant.

venerable magazines can deserve these awards; I'm delighted to see Vanity Fair pieces carry the Public Interest and Columns and Commentary categories for their incredibly ballsy work lately.

I understand that the ASME's focus isn't on emerging periodicals, but as magazine circulations decrease with the rise of the web, and subject specificity becomes greater and greater, these awards become less and less meaningful, even to those with more general interests than print fetishists.

There is just a low, low level of taste here. Mostly applauding the kind of mediocrity that the voting editors themselves can relate to. Obviously they don't actually read very much. The few magazines of worth that were nominated, such as The Believer, McSweeny's and Seed, have just done a good job of actually being noticed by these mundane editors.

Ny Magazine is actually a really great print magazine. It has excellent photo editing and the articles are often very rich and don't seem to come from the voice of a major publishing house like most magazines of it's scale often have. I like they are risky in their editorials but not in design, which shoud have gone to something that wasn't even nominated. I can't even believe that GQ was nominated for design. For features writing it's again, crazy that GQ was a winner. Details is way better and wasn't even nominated. The whole things is rigged in my opinion. Like you said they don't read much and believe that true magazines worth voting for can only come from Condé Nast, Time Warner or Hearst. They should start a special independent category and then the true design and writing will surface. It's all the same, like network television for publishing...

Wow, I couldn't disagree more about NY mag - I think it's actually down right trashy. It's on my list of Magazines to Read Only When Found in the Trash. New York magazine is the pinnacle of mediocrity.

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