NEW YORK — Magazines mulling over foreign affairs, the war in Iraq and the post-9/11 world in general were the big winners at the 2003 National Magazine Awards held Wednesday at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel.

The Atlantic Monthly and The New Yorker each won two awards, with the former defeating the latter in the General Excellence category (circulation 500,000 to 1 million) for the second year in a row, as the memory of former Atlantic editor Michael Kelly loomed over an audience filled with his colleagues. Kelly, who left the post last fall, was the first American journalist killed in combat during the recent war in Iraq.

This story first appeared in the May 8, 2003 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Foreign Policy rode the same wave to a General Excellence award (circulation under 100,000), but, in the biggest surprise of the afternoon, Newsweek was upset by Time Inc.’s Parenting for General Excellence in magazines with circulations of 2 million or more.

Texas Monthly won in the category of General Excellence in magazines with circulations of 250,000 to 500,000, beating WWD’s sister publication, W, as well as Savuer, Skiing Magazine and National Geographic Adventure. Nylon lost out in General Excellence for titles with circulations of 100,000 to 250,000 to Architectural Digest. In design, Details was a repeat winner from 2002, while National Geographic Adventure beat out Vogue in the Leisure Interests category. Vogue had been nominated for the essays of food writer Jeffrey Steingarten.

Condé Nast won four awards overall, supplementing The New Yorker’s with wins by Vanity Fair in Reviews and Criticism (for James Woolcott’s essays) and by Condé Nast Traveler for Photography. Time Inc. won two with Parenting and Sports Illustrated’s nod for profile writing.

Otherwise, it was a good year for independent magazines — Outside, The American Scholar, The Nation and Scientific American also won awards for everything from Personal Service to Single-Topic Issue.

Asked when editors’ interests might turn back toward domestic affairs, Atlantic managing editor Cullen Murphy mused, “Barring some catastrophe, things will turn domestic and political next year. We’ve done some interesting things when it comes to foreign affairs, but we’re going to do some more things closer to home.”

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