Virginia Quarterly Review Wins Utne Reader Prize

By Amanda Ernst Comment


Last night, Utne Reader editor-in-chief David Schimke (above) presented the magazine’s 20th Annual Independent Press Awards, honoring excellence in independent magazines.

The big winner of the night was the Virginia Quarterly Review, which took home the prize for general excellence. The Utne Reader‘s editors said they “were especially impressed with VQR‘s dedication to international coverage and long-form journalism, rare in these economic times.”

Lapham’s Quarterly received the award for best new publication while other winners included Mother Jones, The New Republic and The Walrus, a Canadian mag that was named Utne‘s best new publication in 2004.

The nominees for the Utne‘s awards are selected by the pub’s editors based on how well each magazine “fulfilled its stated mission over the past year.”

“The goal is to honor independently minded publications that don’t shy away from tough stories and innovative ideas,” the Utne Reader explained.

The full list of winners after the jump

Utne Reader Honors Top Publications at the 20th Annual Independent Press Awards

Ceremony recognizes innovative, in-depth coverage in magazine journalism

MINNEAPOLIS (May 18, 2009) — Utne Reader presented 12 awards for outstanding journalism in 2008 at the 20th Annual Utne Independent Press Awards, held Sunday, May 17 at the Independent Magazine Conference at the St. Julien Hotel and Spa in Boulder, Colo.

Virginia Quarterly Review won for General Excellence. The Utne Reader editors were especially impressed with VQR’s dedication to international coverage and long-form journalism, rare in these economic times. Canada’s The Walrus took home the Best Writing award, its third nomination and second win. It was named best new publication in 2004, and one of its recent feature stories is on the cover of Utne Reader’s July-August issue. This year’s Best New Publication award went to Lapham’s Quarterly, which builds each of its themed issues around an eccentric cast of writers — living and dead. Rad Dad was honored as Best Zine for its openness about the challenges of parenthood in a multi-ethnic world.

Utne Reader Editor-in-Chief David Schimke presented the awards at a dinner attended by 100 publishers and editors from the independent press. A number of nominees were present including Teresa Stack, president of the Nation, John Mecklin, editor-in-chief of Miller-McCune, and editors from New Mobility, Natural Solutions and High Country News. Utne Reader’s publisher, Bryan Welch, spoke about the future of journalism, as did Schimke, who mentioned that the media is in the midst of a revolution.

“What will that revolution look like?” Schimke asked. “It’s clear no one knows, but what’s certain is that the best content — whether it’s printed, delivered digitally or broadcast — will ultimately be rewarded.”

The 2008 Utne Independent Press Award winners are:

General Excellence — Virginia Quarterly Review

Best New Publication — Lapham’s Quarterly

Best Writing — The Walrus

Best Zine — Rad Dad

Best Arts Coverage — The Fader

Best Environmental Coverage — Mother Jones

Best Health and Wellness Coverage — Psychotherapy Networker

Best International Coverage — New Statesman

Best Political Coverage — The New Republic

Best Science/Technology Coverage — Miller-McCune

Best Social/Cultural Coverage — Bidoun

Best Spiritual Coverage — Geez

For more information on the awards presentation, go to

Rather than requiring entry forms or fees, Utne Reader’s editors select nominees based on their day-to-day interaction with the more than 1,300 periodicals in the Utne library. Each publication is judged based on how well it fulfilled its stated mission over the past year. Magazines published by large media conglomerates are excluded. The goal is to honor independently minded publications that don’t shy away from tough stories and innovative ideas.