IS THE NYT MAGAZINE THE NEW NEW YORKER?: A raft of glossy magazine editors were due to descend on Williamsburg’s Brooklyn Steel music venue in March for the The American Society of Magazine Editors’ National Magazine Awards — also known as The Ellies in a nod to its elephant-shaped award. But like most events, it was canceled due to the coronavirus and was held virtually Thursday evening.
So instead of dusting off their best frocks and suits, presenters including Wired’s Nicholas Thompson and Refinery29’s Christene Barberich dusted their bookshelves and picked their prettiest plants for a cameo in their pre-recorded videos. Some even jazzed it up with a garden appearance, while another presenter sat in his car and Cosmopolitan’s Jessica Pels sipped whiskey in her living room.
But while the presenters got to show off their Manhattan apartments, Brooklyn brownstones and Hamptons abodes, the majority of winners did not get their moment in the spotlight — apart from a robotic voice calling out their name — due to the event having been pre-recorded. The result of hardly any acceptance speeches and obligatory thanking their overlords kept the event to just under 90 minutes — half the usual time of an awards show.
The only exception was David Granger, former editor in chief of Esquire magazine, who was inducted into the magazine editors’ hall of fame — a move that was revealed months ago, which gave him the chance to pre-record a message. “I f–king love that medium,” he said of magazines.
That absence of acceptance speeches for each award must have come as a disappointment to New York Times Magazine editor in chief Jake Silverstein, who won no less than five. The awards are apparently being safely stored in a barn during lockdown before the winners can get their hands on them.
The magazine’s wins were in podcasting, for which it was a first-time winner; reporting; feature writing; public interest, and general excellence.
Hot on The Times’ heels was National Geographic and Condé Nast’s Bon Appétit, which were each awarded four Ellies. National Geographic had first-time wins in feature photography and social media. Bon Appétit was a first-time winner in leisure interests, video and design. Bon Appétit also won a general excellence award.
Elsewhere, The Hollywood Reporter’s recently departed editorial director Matthew Belloni also won a general excellence award.
The usual winners were left out at this year’s Columbia University-sponsored event. Usually, The New Yorker and New York Magazine walk away with more awards than their editors can carry — in the past stirring both envy and dislike of their respective editors David Remnick and the now-departed Adam Moss. But on Thursday night they were left almost empty handed apart from Tyler Foggatt, associate editor of The New Yorker, who won an ASME Next award for journalists under 30.
“This year’s winners reflect our continually changing industry, and represent the highest-quality content being produced,” said Sid Holt, executive director of ASME. “We congratulate all the winners, and finalists, and look forward to reading, watching and hearing what all the honorees will create in the coming year.”
For more, see: