Ellies ’08: NYT Play‘s Editor: ‘We’re Just Enjoying the Moment’

News-NYT-Play.gifIn the first year that the ASME considered newspaper supplements for Ellie awards, Play, The New York Times‘ sports magazine, scored a nod for General Excellence — circulation 1,000,000 to 2,000,000. Mark Bryant, the Play‘s editor, was out of cell phone range, but graciously answered our emailed questions about the nomination, his expectations and the future.

This is the first year ASME considered newspaper supplements. What do you think of the decision?
I think it’s a good move, and we’re grateful that ASME recognizes Play, T and the Sunday Magazine for what they really are: magazines.

Were you surprised by Play‘s nomination?
To a degree, yes, I was. I didn’t expect Play to be a finalist for General Excellence, of all things, in just its second year and in its first year of eligibility. Play aims to be a new kind of sports magazine, and to that end it’s great to have the work of so many talented people acknowledged in this way. When I got the news, I was truly thrilled.

How about the success of all the NYT supplements, which together scored six nods?
The six nominations for the magazines of The New York Times represent a great achievement by Gerry Marzorati [editor of The New York Times Magazine] and the magazine group. It’s been Gerry’s vision and support that have made these magazines what they are, and I’m very happy for him and everyone else involved.

Play‘s up against some pretty stiff competition [Men’s Health, Popular Mechanics, The New Yorker and Vanity Fair]. Any thoughts/predictions about the winner?
Stiff indeed. All I can say is, it’s an honor to be part of a group like this. We’re just enjoying the moment.

What’s up for Play in the coming months? Anything exciting coming down the pipe?
I certainly hope so. Any good magazine is constantly evolving, and never more so than in its early years. Play‘s aim is to cut through the usual sports chatter scores and stats, injury reports and rap sheets, the tidy up-close-and-personals and take a fresh, ambitious look at the people, ideas and forces at work in the world of sports. Given the round-the-clock coverage sports gets these days, that’s quite a challenge. So you could say we’ve got our work cut out for us.