The American Society of Magazine Editors announced nominations for their annual National Magazine Awards last week, and for the first time included a brand new category: Magazine of the year. The official press release from the Magazine Publishers of America, defines the new award as, “honor(ing) publications that successfully use both print and digital media in fulfilling the editorial mission of the magazine.” Let’s take a look at the first time honorees: The Atlantic; Fast Company; Glamour; Men’s Health; and New York.
Sid Holt, Chief Executive of American Society of Magazine Editors had this to say about this award:
“The best magazines touch their readers in print, on the Web and increasingly on mobile devices. An award just for print or just for digital can’t do justice to the multiplatform achievements of the most successful magazine brands. The Magazine of the Year honors just that—editorial excellence across multiple platforms.”
Following is a collection of titles and explanations of why they deserve this first time, big kahuna of an award!
It makes sense that The Atlantic is on this list, as no other “intellectual” magazine has better embraced the blogging sensibility than they. Sure, many of their competitors have dabbled, but none of them have Andrew Sullivan‘s Daily Dish under their umbrella of content (along with a slew of other great writers.) Further, their smartly edited Atlantic Wire perfectly demonstrates how well they understand how an Internet channel can provide a perfect extension to the larger editorial point-of-view and brand. Of course, it almost goes without saying that the actual print magazine is enjoying its best time ever, under the wise leadership of James Bennett, who has completely reinvigorated the title since taking over in 2006.
There was a time in the not-so-distant past when magazine publishers saw a great editorial opportunity to jump on the new Internet-fueled economy. Sadly, many (if not most) of these titles have fallen by the wayside, ironically because they clearly didn’t understand the new content model that the Internet provided. But not so with Fast Company, who under Editor in Chief Robert Saffian, consistently demonstrates how long-form writing in the print version can still be relevant, entertaining and impactful, and offer a website that offers an original online experience that completely compliments the print-side point of view. The list of smart contributors at Fast Company is legion, though we choose to highlight Adam Penenberg (and his recent book Viral Loop.) Not only a great read, essay and excerpt online, but also a fascinating application on Facebook. So smart.
Wait, what? Surely this must be a mistake! A women’s service magazine getting recognized by ASME? Say it ain’t so! We all know that women’s service magazines are only the commercial lifeblood of the magazine publishing industry; the cash cows at publishing houses that make the money that allow for the boutique and intellectually stimulating brands to exist (hello New Yorker!) Only joking (sort of.) For a variety of reasons, we are very fond of the work of Editor-in-Chief Cindi Leive, who’s efforts to bring Glamour into a complete brand experience, from print to online are an exemplar of how it should be done. (And dare we say how good the the magazine looks these days? Yes we dare.) This title definitely belongs here, and congrats are due not just to Glamour, but to the judges of ASME for finally recognizing that a commercially viable brand can also be smart, cool and innovative.
For reasons that aren’t entirely clear to us, Men’s Health Editor-in-chief Dave Zinczenko‘s place in the industry is somehow considered a provocative discussion. Most see him as the “golden boy” of publishing, but there are still some who somehow don’t feel that his recognition is deserved, perhaps because of an overblown cover line hullabaloo. Well, sorry haters – the proof is in the pudding. Not only is Men’s Health helping to drive the Rodale P&L statement, but all of nearly its digital products have proven to be both smart, pioneering and simply cool. From their website to their iPhone application, to their great selling books. In an email to his staff Zinczenko said “it’s an award for excellence across all channels. And we’re the only men’s magazine to score a nomination. Creating excellence across all channels is something only a great team, working together with one vision and purpose, can accomplish.” Well said.
Oh right. Adam Moss. How can a magazine award exist and not include New York? Well there is an easy answer: because it is awesome, great and deserving of all of its accolades. Sure – its a regional title that has comparatively lower circulation than this categories fellow nominees. But you know what? They STILL deserve the love (and are likely considered by many to be the favorite.) Why? Because week after week, no other magazine nails the cultural zeitgeist better than New York. More importantly? Moss has demonstrated how a weekly magazine can effectively use the Internet experience in a way that makes the print version more viable, relevant and actually great fun. Conventional wisdom in the industry states that weekly magazines cannot exist in the digital age. New York demonstrates how wrong that is, and for that alone, Moss and his team deserve to be paraded around the ASME award ceremony on the shoulders of Jon Meacham, Rick Stengel and Jess Cagle. Please make that happen.
Disclosure – the author of this post is married to Geraldine Hessler, Design Director of Glamour.
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