National Magazine Awards Roundup: New York, National Geographic Among the Big Winners

Last night’s ASME National Magazine Awards had more than a few surprises. The evening began with a cocktail hour for a change, where FishbowlNY had drinks with Graydon Carter, Bethenny Frankel, David Copperfield, and other media celebrities milling around the red carpet. We caught up with a few nominees, such as the editor of Audobon magazine: “We’ve been nominated for 5 years,” he told us, “and we haven’t won once. I wasn’t going to attend, but then I thought, what if we win this year?”

They didn’t. Oh, well! Some other choice quotes: we heard from Bethenny Frankel that she always reads her magazine coverage in nail salons, because she is medicated on planes.

The evening began on a somber note, with Graydon Carter acknowledging the many journalists who had died or been detained while reporting in war areas, and presenting a slideshow of the work of Vanity Fair contributor Tim Hetherington, who died in Misrata, Libya.

But the mood lightened as the awards were announced. Some of the big winners of the night were New York Times Magazine, New York, and National Geographic, each taking home a couple of awards, with National Geographic jubilantly winning “Magazine of the Year.”

Another person feeling victorious this morning is David Zinczenko, whose Women’s Health won in the “Fashion, Service, and Lifestyle” category over major institutions such as Vogue and W, and whose Men’s Health won in the “Personal Service” category. As Michela Abrams tweeted back to us, “@davidzinczenko strikes again!”

One truly well-deserved win was Christopher Hitchens, who won in the “Columns and Commentary” category for Vanity Fair. In accepting the award, Graydon Carter said, “[Hitchen’s] writing has become even better since his illness… since he’s lowered his intake of scotch.”

Katie Couric, the host, was late to the show. When she took over hosting duties partway through, she professed her enthusiasm for the magazine industry, but in particular, her love of Garden & Gun, nominated for the “Food, Travel, and Design” category. When Garden & Gun went on to win, Couric announced, “I know which after-party I’ll be going to!”

Now for some surprises: The “Reporting” award, one of the awards we were most looking forward to, didn’t go to either of our top bets, which were the Rolling Stone article “The Runaway General” by Michael Hastings that led to the resignation of Gen. Stanley McChrystal, and The New Yorker exposé of the Koch brothers by Jane Mayer. Much surprised buzzing around our table when that award was announced. The lucky winner ended up being Harper’s, who won for Scott Horton’s “The Guantanamo ‘Suicides’.”

Another big surprise was that The New Yorker had nine nominations, the most of any magazine, but only scored one win for for Public Interest category, leading some to say, as Adweek did, that the magazine was snubbed.

Late into the evening, after dinner was served (the halibut was a little dry, but the deserts were delicious), Tom Wolfe gave a speech upon accepting the “Creative Excellence Award” where he declared that “in the second half of the 20th century, the great literature has been non-fiction, and so much of that has grown out of magazines.” We certainly agree.

Then National Geographic won for “Magazine of the Year,” and their table erupted in celebration. The night was over, and congratulations to all the winners!

Below is a full list of the winners. We will update with pictures as they come in.

The Winners

General Excellence, for News, Sports and Entertainment: New York
General Excellence, for Literary, Political and Professional Magazines: Poetry
General Excellence, for Fashion, Service and Lifestyle Magazines: Women’s Health
General Excellence, for Food, Travel and Design Magazines: Garden & Gun
General Excellence, for Finance, Technology and Lifestyle Magazines: Scientific American
General Excellence, for Special-Interest Magazines: Los Angeles
Design, Print: GQ
Photography, Print: W
News and Documentary Photography: The New York Times Magazine
Feature Photography: ESPN The Magazine
Single-Topic Issue: National Geographic
Magazine Section: New York
Personal Service: Men’s Health
Leisure Interests: Men’s Journal
Public Interest: The New Yorker
Reporting: Harper’s Magazine
Feature Writing: Los Angeles
Profile Writing: The New York Times Magazine
Essays & Criticism: The Paris Review
Columns & Commentary: Vanity Fair
Fiction: Virginia Quarterly Review
Magazine of the Year: National Geographic