Hosted by Lester Holt, anchor of “NBC Nightly News” and “Dateline NBC,” the event drew the magazine industry’s stalwarts and newcomers alike, who were all vying for the coveted Ellie award in their given category.
Soggy editors and writers streamed in towards the end of the noon cocktail hour, but the mood was festive considering the dismal weather and early hour. Instead of a night in the windowless ballroom of the Times Square Marriott, as has been the custom in recent years, the ASME organizers opted for a daytime ceremony.
Dana Points, who exited Parents Magazine and currently serves as ASME president, attributed the change to a desire to return to “the camaraderie” of Waldorf lunches of years past. The bellinis, she noted, weren’t bad either.
Sixty-four media organizations were honored as finalists in 20 categories with 14 publications nabbing awards. Categories included Magazine of the Year, Best Feature Photography, Website, Design and General Excellence in a variety of categories such as Service and Lifestyle, News, Sports and Entertainment and Special Interest.
Mother Jones, the politically progressive, nonprofit-backed magazine headquartered in San Francisco, took home the big prize of Magazine of the Year, as well as an Ellie for Reporting for Shane Bauer’s investigative piece, “My Four Months as a Private Prison Guard.”
“The media is under attack. Whether we are magazines that specialize in news and politics, or we are magazines that delight and distract, we’re going to need both,” Mother Jones editor in chief Clara Jeffery said in her acceptance speech. “And I really hope we all stick together in the time to come.”
Other big winners included New York and The New York Times Magazine with three Ellies each. New York won the awards for Magazine Section, Video and Single-Topic Issue, bringing the title’s Ellie tally to 37 since Adam Moss was appointed editor in chief in 2004.
At the end of the ceremony, Moss was seen precariously balancing three of the clunky Elephant-shaped trophies in his arms.
The New York Times Magazine won Feature Writing, Essays & Criticism and Public Interest. The California Sunday Magazine grabbed two awards, one for Design and the other for Photography. First-time winners included Good for Personal Service; Huffington Post Highline for Multimedia, and Bill Keller’s The Marshall Project for General Excellence in the Literature, Science and Politics category.
Modern Farmer editor in chief Sarah Gray Miller called her job the “least cushy gig any of us have experienced.” She name checked her staff of four, including herself. “I’m guessing the cafe car will be pretty rowdy tonight,” she said, of the Amtrak that the staff will take back to Hudson, where the magazine is based.
The two executive editors from Huffington Post’s Highline also emphasized their tiny staff, giving a shout out to the one staffer who was not on stage.
“After 166 years, it might be a good time for a woman to write the front of the book,” Harper’s editor in chief James Marcus said, accepting the award for Columns and Commentary for three columns by Rebecca Solnit and noting that in these “dark times” Solnit’s political columns were “needed.”
Although most of the acceptance speeches, which were strictly limited to one minute, did not overtly mention the presidential administration, the awards predominately went to publications that tackled social and political issues rather than fashion or beauty titles.
Hearst magazines didn’t win, although several of its magazines were finalists in various categories. Time Inc., likewise, did not take home any statues. Condé Nast hardly fared much better, nabbing only one award, for Bon Appétit in the category of Service and Lifestyle. In a somewhat surprising turn, The New Yorker, a perennial winner of multiple Ellies, did not garner any wins this year, despite amassing five nominations.
“They put me at the loser table,” Pacific Standard editor in chief Nicholas Jackson said, by way of apologizing for the delay in making it to the stage to accept the award in the category of Feature Photography for a series on Eritrean refugees. “Holy shit, right?”
“A lot of refugee stories this year,” a man was overheard noting of the winners, as he waited in line to retrieve his coat after the ceremony. “Rightfully so,” he quickly added.
A full list of award winners appears below:
News, Sports and Entertainment
ESPN The Magazine
Service and Lifestyle
Literature, Science and Politics
The Marshall Project
The California Sunday Magazine
The California Sunday Magazine
Pacific Standard for “Adrift,” photographs by Francesco Zizola, July/August
New York for “The Culture Pages”
Good for “What Can He Really Do? What Can We Do About It?,” Winter
Eater for “The Eater Guide to Paris,” by Eater Staff, October 19 at Eater.com
New York for “Eight Years in America,” October 3-16 print issue and nymag.com
Huffington Post Highline for “The 21st Century Gold Rush,” by Malia Politzer and Emily Kassie, Dec. 21 at Highline.huffingtonpost.com
New York With Narrative 4 for “Guns & Empathy,” Dec. 26 at nymag.com
Mother Jones for “My Four Months as a Private Prison Guard,” by Shane Bauer, July-August print issue; June 23 at motherjones.com and YouTube.com
The New York Times Magazine for “‘I Have No Choice but to Keep Looking,’” by Jennifer Percy, Aug. 2 at nytimes.com
Essays and Criticism
The New York Times Magazine for “David’s Ankles,” by Sam Anderson, Aug. 21
Columns and Commentary
Harper’s Magazine for three columns by Rebecca Solnit: “Bird in a Cage,” March, “The Ideology of Isolation,” July, and “Giantess,” September
The New York Times Magazine for “Worlds Apart,” by Nikole Hannah-Jones, June 12
Magazine of the Year