Lester Holt hosts National Magazine Awards gala; Mother Jones named Magazine of the Year

New York, NY (February 7, 2017)—The winners of the 2017 National Magazine Awards for Print and Digital Media were announced today at the Ellie Awards Annual Gala at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City. Mother Jones was named Magazine of the Year for having “found new ways to engage audiences and continue its practice of fearless journalism."  The awards presentation was hosted by Lester Holt, anchor of "NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt" and “Dateline NBC.”

Known as the Ellies for the elephant-shaped statuettes presented to each winner, the National Magazine Awards are sponsored by the American Society of Magazine Editors in association with the Columbia Journalism School and are administered by ASME. This year marked the 52nd presentation of the awards. The first award was presented to Look in 1966; the first award for digital journalism was presented to Money in 1997.

The 2017 Ellie Awards gala was held in conjunction with the American Magazine Media Conference, the premier event for industry leaders. Texture sponsored the awards for the second consecutive year and Publishers Press for the fourth consecutive year. Annual-gala ticket sales provide support for the Osborn Elliott Scholarship at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. Named in honor of the former Newsweek editor and Columbia dean, the scholarship is awarded to students who intend to pursue careers in magazine journalism.

More than 500 magazine editors and publishers attended the 2017 Ellie Awards lunch. Sixty-four media organizations were honored as finalists in 20 categories; 14 publications won awards. Also honored were the recipients of the second annual ASME Next Awards for Journalists Under 30: Eric Boodman, general assignment reporter at STAT; Lindsay Peoples, fashion market editor at New York’s The Cut; Ben Taub, contributing writer at The New Yorker; Jen Tse, photo editor at Newsweek; and Jen Wieczner, writer at Fortune.

New York and The New York Times Magazine both won three Ellies this year. New York won the awards for Magazine Section, Video and Single-Topic Issue. (New York has now received 37 Ellies since Adam Moss was appointed editor in chief of the magazine in 2004.) The New York Times Magazine won Feature Writing, Essays & Criticism and Public Interest. The California Sunday Magazine and Mother Jones both won two Ellies. California Sunday won the awards for Design and Photography. Mother Jones won Reporting as well as Magazine of the Year.

Three publications were first-time winners: GOOD for Personal Service; Huffington Post Highline for Multimedia; and The Marshall Project for General Excellence in the Literature, Science and Politics category. Huffington Post Highline and The Marshall Project are the first digital-only winners to receive awards in those categories.

Three titles received awards in the same category for the second consecutive year: The California Sunday Magazine in Photography; New York's Culture Pages in Magazine Section; and Eater in Leisure Interests for “The Eater Guide to Paris" (last year’s Eater winner was “The Eater Guide to Surviving Disney World”).

Bon Appétit and ESPN The Magazine were repeat winners in General Excellence—Bon Appétit in the Service and Lifestyle category, ESPN The Magazine in the News, Sports and Entertainment category. Bon Appétit previously won General Excellence in 2014; ESPN The Magazine won General Excellence in 2003 and 2006. Modern Farmer won its first award for General Excellence in the category for Special Interest magazines. Also honored were Pacific Standard in Feature Photography, National Geographic in Website and Harper's Magazine in Columns and Commentary, all for the first time in those categories.

The 2017 Ellie winners included timely coverage of the international refugee crisis (Pacific Standard's "Adrift" in Feature Photography and Huffington Post Highline's "21st Century Gold Rush" in Multimedia); the legacy of the Obama presidency (New York's "Eight Years in America" in Single-Topic Issue); the true price our nation pays for privatizing prisons (Mother Jones' "My Four Months as a Private Prison Guard" in Reporting); and the return of separate and unequal schooling (The New York Times Magazine's "Worlds Apart" in Public Interest). Also notable was GOOD's post-election "survival guide," "What Can He Really Do? What Can We Do About It?," in Personal Service.

Editors accepting Ellie Awards for their publications were Bon Appétit's Adam Rapoport; The California Sunday Magazine's Douglas McGray; Eater's Amanda Kludt; ESPN The Magazine's Alison Overholt; GOOD's Nancy Miller; Harper's Magazine's James Marcus; Huffington Post Highline's Rachel Morris and Greg Veis; The Marshall Project's Bill Keller; Modern Farmer's Sarah Gray Miller; Mother Jones' Clara Jeffery; National Geographic's Susan Goldberg; New York's Adam Moss; The New York Times Magazine's Jake Silverstein; and Pacific Standard's Nicholas Jackson.

Nineteen titles received multiple nominations this year, led by New York with 10. The New York Times Magazine received 7 nominations and The New Yorker, 5. Other multi-finalists included The California Sunday Magazine and National Geographic, both with 4, and Bloomberg Businessweek, GQ and Mother Jones, each with 3. Eleven publications got 2 nominations: Aperture, Audubon, Bon Appétit, Cosmopolitan, Eater, The Huffington Post Highline, Modern Farmer, Popular Mechanics, Powder, Saveur and Texas Monthly.

Finalists this year also included 5280, AFAR, The Atavist, The Atlantic, BuzzFeed News and BBC, Chicago, Dr. Oz THE GOOD LIFE, The Economist, Elle, ESPN The Magazine, Esquire, Essence, Food Network Magazine, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, Garden & Gun, GOOD, GQ Style, Harper’s Magazine, The Hedgehog Review, The Hollywood Reporter, The Intercept, Kazoo, Los Angeles, Marie Claire, The Marshall Project, MTV News, Oxford American, Pacific Standard, The Pitchfork Review, Poetry, ProPublica and The Texas Tribune, Refinery29, Rolling Stone, Scientific American, Seventeen, STAT, Teen Vogue, TIME, Vanity Fair, Wired, Women’s Health and WSJ. Magazine.

Seven media organizations were first-time finalists: Dr. Oz THE GOOD LIFE, GQ Style, The Hedgehog Review, Kazoo, MTV News, The Texas Tribune and STAT. GQ Style, Kazoo and STAT were all nominated in their first year of eligibility. Digital-first finalists included The Atavist, BuzzFeed News and BBC, Eater, The Huffington Post Highline, The Intercept, The Marshall Project, MTV News, ProPublica and The Texas Tribune, Refinery29 and STAT.

"A look at these finalists and winners explains why the Ellie Awards have become the most prestigious awards for both print and digital media in the United States," said Sid Holt, chief executive of ASME. "Magazine editors are taking on the challenge of a changing marketplace—a changing America—by finding new ways to tell stories about the way we live now. Whether we honor websites, video, social media, GIFs or not-so-old-fashioned reporting and writing, the publications we recognize today are showing the way forward."

Two hundred eighty publications entered the Ellie Awards this year, submitting 1,376 print and digital entries. The awards were judged by 282 editors, art directors, photo editors and educators. The judging was held at the Columbia Journalism School on January 11 and 12. The nominations were announced in a 90-minute Twittercast @asme1963 on January 19.

A complete list of the Ellies judges is posted at magazine.org/asme after the awards are announced. The judging was led by the following journalists and educators:

Vanessa K. De Luca, Editor in Chief, ESSENCE; Adi Ignatius, Editor in Chief, Harvard Business Review Group; Mark Jannot, Vice President, Content, National Audubon Society; Clara Jeffery, Editor in Chief, Mother Jones; Lucy Kaylin, Editor in Chief, O, The Oprah Magazine; Christopher Keyes, Vice President and Editor, Outside; Amy Keller Laird, Editor in Chief, Women’s Health; Cindi Leive, Editor in Chief, Glamour; Kate Lewis, Senior Vice President and Editorial Director, Hearst Digital Media; Anthony Licata, Group Editorial Director, Bonnier Men's Group; Pamela Maffei McCarthy, Deputy Editor, The New Yorker; Mary Melton, Editor in Chief, Los Angeles; Janice Min, President and Chief Creative Officer, The Hollywood Reporter-Billboard Media Group; Norman Pearlstine, Vice Chairman, Time Inc.; Dana Points, President, ASME; Jessie Price, Editor in Chief, EatingWell; Robert Safian, Editor, Fast Company; Duy Linh Tu, Professor, Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism; Charles Whitaker, Professor, Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern University; and David Willey, Editor in Chief, Runner's World.

The results of the judging were sanctioned by the National Magazine Awards Board. The members of the 2017 board were:

Steve Coll, Dean and Henry R. Luce Professor of Journalism, Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism; Lucy Schulte Danziger, Chief Executive Officer and Founder, Hintd; Jonathan Dorn, Senior Vice President, Digital and Creative Services, Active Interest Media; Mark Jannot, Vice President, Content, National Audubon Society; Lucy Kaylin, Editor in Chief, O, The Oprah Magazine; Christopher Keyes, Vice President and Editor, Outside; Cindi Leive, Editor in Chief, Glamour; Anthony Licata, Group Editorial Director, Bonnier Men’s Group; Norman Pearlstine, Vice Chairman, Time Inc.; Dana Points, President, ASME; Jessie Price, Editor in Chief, EatingWell; Cyndi Stivers, Senior Advisor, Acumen; David Willey, Editor in Chief, Runner’s World; Abi Wright, Executive Director, Professional Prizes, Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism; and Sid Holt, Chief Executive, ASME, ex officio.

Each National Magazine Award winner receives a copper reproduction of Alexander Calder's stabile "Elephant," the symbol of the awards since 1970. The stabile was purchased from the artist and presented to ASME by Cowles Publishing Company, Time Inc. Newsweek and McGraw-Hill Publishing Company, the publishers of the first four winners of the National Magazine Award: Look, LIFE, Newsweek and American Machinist. "Elephant" is currently on display at ASME's offices in New York.

Ellie Awards 2017 Winners and Finalists

General Excellence

News, Sports and Entertainment
Honors publications covering politics, business and technology as well as pop culture and leisure interests

Winner: ESPN The Magazine

Finalists: Bloomberg Businessweek; GQ; New York; The New Yorker

Award Citation: Unfailingly ambitious, deeply reported, imaginatively designed, ESPN The Magazine’s transcendent sports coverage sheds light on politics, society and culture.

Service and Lifestyle
Honors publications covering health and fitness as well as fashion, design, food and travel

Winner: Bon Appétit

Finalists: ELLE; GQ Style; Marie Claire; Saveur

Award Citation: Despite the ever-growing number of food-related publications, Bon Appétit rises above the competition to deliver perfectly seasoned content both in print and online.

Special Interest
Honors publications serving highly defined reader communities, including city and regional magazines and active-interest titles

Winner: Modern Farmer

Finalists: Chicago; The Hollywood Reporter; Kazoo; Powder

Award Citation: For the community of readers centered on Modern Farmer, dinner is politics, and the editors of the magazine are ready to serve. For them, food is not only about consuming but also about producing.

Literature, Science and Politics
Honors smaller-circulation general-interest magazines as well as publications covering the arts

Winner: The Marshall Project

Finalists: Aperture; Foreign Affairs; Mother Jones; Poetry

Award Citation: With zealous investigations, superb storytelling and the creative use of digital technology, The Marshall Project is changing the face of criminal-justice reporting.

Honors overall excellence in magazine design

Winner: The California Sunday Magazine

Finalists: Bon Appétit; GQ; New York; The Pitchfork Review

Award Citation: The California Sunday Magazine celebrates the visual culture of the American West while exuding utter confidence in the power of print. This is what visual storytelling can and should be.

Honors overall excellence in magazine photography

Winner: The California Sunday Magazine

Finalists: AFAR; Aperture; Powder; WSJ. Magazine

Award Citation: Whether the subject is hip hop musicians or desert wildflowers, the effect painterly or surreal, The California Sunday Magazine's pursuit of excellence is unrelenting.

Feature Photography
Honors the use of photography in a feature story, photo-essay or photo portfolio

Winner: Pacific Standard for “Adrift,” photographs by Francesco Zizola, July/August

Finalists: National Geographic for “Bloody Good,” photographs by Charlie Hamilton James, January; National Geographic for “Every Last One,” photographs by Joel Sartore, April; The New York Times Magazine for “Voyages: The Danakil Depression, Ethiopia,” photographs by Andrea Frazzetta, Sept. 25 at nytimes.com; Refinery29 for “11 Images That People With Anxiety Will Understand,” photographs by Sam Cannon, July 8 at refinery29.com

Award Citation: Sensitively paced and complemented by elegant typography, Francesco Zizola's photographs of migrants attempting to cross the Mediterranean combine a strong visual perspective with a powerful narrative voice.

Magazine Section
Honors the editorial direction of print or digital departments or sections

Winner: New York for “The Culture Pages”

Finalists: Food Network Magazine for “Fun Cooking”; Garden & Gun for “Talk of the South”; Popular Mechanics for “Know-How”; Women’s Health for “Discuss!”

Award Citation: New York's "Culture Pages" are wildly inventive—a kaleidoscopic inventory of new movies, music, literature and art. No matter the subject, "The Culture Pages" jump on it with smart, wisecracker voices.

Personal Service
Honors magazine journalism that serves readers’ needs and aspirations

Winner: GOOD for “What Can He Really Do? What Can We Do About It?,” Winter

Finalists: Cosmopolitan for “How to Have a Safe Abortion,” by Amanda Robb and Caitlin Moscatello, April; Dr. Oz THE GOOD LIFE for “Your Heart: The Inside Story,” by Sari Harrar, November; The New York Times Magazine for “Doctor Without Borders,” by Siddhartha Mukherjee, “Written on the Body,” by Ryan Bradley, and “The Shark and the Lightning,” by Melanie Thernstrom, May 15; Seventeen for “Oh, Zit!,” by Kelsey Castañon, December 2016/January 2017

Award Citation: The editors of GOOD channeled their post-election shock, frustration and anger into a piece of journalism that is not only useful in these uncertain times but also optimistic and hopeful.

Leisure Interests
Honors magazine journalism that provides practical information about recreational activities and special interests

Winner: Eater for “The Eater Guide to Paris,” by Eater Staff, October 19 at eater.com

Finalists: 5280 for “Earth, Wind and Water,” by Lindsey B. Koehler, May; Modern Farmer for “How to Raise Chickens for Farm-Fresh Eggs,” by Lucie B. Amundsen, Spring; Texas Monthly for “Knives Out,” by Courtney Bond, Abby Johnston, June Naylor, Katharyn Rodemann, Patricia Sharpe and Daniel Vaughn, December; Wired for “What to Eat Today,” August

Award Citation: A comprehensive guide to eating well in the best city for eating well, Eater's comprehensive, easy-to-navigate package is guaranteed to make first-time visitors to Paris feel like not-so-world-weary boulevardiers.

Single-Topic Issue
Honors print magazines that have devoted a single issue to the comprehensive examination of one subject

Winner: New York for “Eight Years in America,” October 3-16 print issue and nymag.com

Finalists: The California Sunday Magazine for “Listen,” October 2 print issue and californiasunday.com; Los Angeles for “IMMIGRATION,” October; National Geographic for “Yellowstone: The Battle for the American West,” guest edited by Chris Johns, May print issue and nationalgeographic.com; Saveur for “The Origins Issue,” October/November

Award Citation: From President Obama's own account of his eight years in the White House to an especially moving photo essay featuring the siblings of shooting victims, this special issue of New York made history of its own.

Honors magazine websites and online-only magazines

Winner: National Geographic

Finalists: AudubonBloomberg BusinessweekEaterThe Intercept

Award Citation: The National Geographic website consistently inspires a sense of wonder—a highly predictable result when a magazine with a rich visual tradition that dates to the 19th century embraces 21st-century technology and sets off on digitally enabled journeys across our planet and those nearby.

Honors digital storytelling and the integration of magazine media

Winner: Huffington Post Highline for “The 21st Century Gold Rush,” by Malia Politzer and Emily Kassie, December 21 at highline.huffingtonpost.com

Finalists: New York for “The Year in Memes,” by Madison Malone Kircher, Brian Feldman and Max Read, December 14 at nymag.com; The New York Times Magazine for “25 Songs That Tell Us Where Music Is Going,” nytimes.com and March 13 print issue; ProPublica and The Texas Tribune for “Hell and High Water,” by Neena Satija for the Texas Tribune and Reveal, Kiah Collier for the Texas Tribune, and Al Shaw and Jeff Larson for ProPublica, March 3 at propublica.org; Vanity Fair for “The Break Out Bunch,” September 13 at Snapchat Discover

Award Citation: For “The 21st Century Gold Rush,” the small Highline team used time-honored reporting techniques combined with digital storytelling tools to document the ways criminals and bureaucrats are profiting from the global refugee crisis.

Honors the outstanding use of video in magazine media

Winner: New York With Narrative 4 for “Guns & Empathy,” December 26 at nymag.com

Finalists: ESSENCE for “Black Girl Magic: Sage Adams,” directed by Laurie Thomas, “Black Girl Magic: Ammarah Haynes,” directed by Madeleine Hunt-Ehrlich, and “Black Girl Magic: Berneisha Hooker,” directed by Nailah Jefferson, at essence.com; STAT for “Science Happens! With Carl Zimmer: Episode 1,” March 25, “Science Happens! With Carl Zimmer: Episode 5,” March 31, and “Science Happens! With Carl Zimmer: Episode 8,” August 25, at statnews.com; Teen Vogue for “Guys Read: Sexual Assault—Jason and Yahdon,” “Guys Read: Sexual Assault—Spencer and Anthony” and “Guys Read—Sexual Assault: Andrew and Alex,” April 29 at teenvogue.com; TIME for “100 Photographs: Untitled (Cowboy),” “100 Photographs: A Portrait of Domestic Violence” and “100 Photographs: The Falling Man,” at 100photos.time.com

Award Citation: New York's "Guns & Empathy" chronicled an intriguing, tension-filled social experiment in which gun lovers and gun haters exchanged stories one on one. The results were dramatic, sometimes cathartic and always affecting.

Honors reporting excellence as exemplified by one article or a series of articles

Winner: 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

Finalists: The Atlantic for “The Obama Doctrine,” by Jeffrey Goldberg, April; Bloomberg Businessweek for “Walmart’s Crime Problem,” by Shannon Pettypiece and David Voreacos, August 22-28; BuzzFeed News and BBC for “The Tennis Racket,” January 17, and “The Italian Job,” March 15, by Heidi Blake and John Templon, at buzzfeed.com; Foreign Policy for “Present at the Creation,” August 16, “How the Islamic State Seized a Chemical Weapons Stockpile,” August 17, and “The Greatest Divorce in the Jihadi World,” August 18, by Harald Doornbos and Jenan Moussa, at foreignpolicy.com; New York for “Sources: Megyn Kelly Told Murdoch Investigators That Roger Ailes Sexually Harassed Her,” July 19 at nymag.com, “Former Fox News Booker Says She Was Sexually Harassed and ‘Psychologically Tortured’ by Roger Ailes for More Than 20 Years,” July 29 at nymag.com, and “The Revenge of Roger’s Angels,” September 5-18 print issue, by Gabriel Sherman; The New Yorker for “The Assad Files,” April 18, and “The Shadow Doctors,” June 27, by Ben Taub

Award Citation: With this 40-page account of life in a private prison—a dark, violent domain almost wholly shielded from public view—the editors of Mother Jones reinvigorated the muckraking tradition.

Feature Writing
Honors original, stylish storytelling

Winner: The New York Times Magazine for “‘I Have No Choice but to Keep Looking,’” by Jennifer Percy, August 2 at nytimes.com

Finalists: Audubon for “Delusion Is the Thing With Feathers,” by Mac McClelland, May/June; New York for “A Woman Running for President,” by Rebecca Traister, May 30-June 12; The New York Times Magazine for “The Mysterious Metamorphosis of Chuck Close,” by Wil S. Hylton, July 13 at nytimes.com; The New Yorker for “Trump Days,” by George Saunders, July 11 and 18; Popular Mechanics for “Climb Aboard, Ye Who Seek the Truth,” by Bronwen Dickey, September; Texas Monthly for “The Reckoning,” by Pamela Colloff, April

Award Citation: Time stops and memory is suspended as Jennifer Percy--in spare, elegant prose--explores the impact of the 2011 tsunami on survivors who still search for those they lost.

Essays and Criticism
Honors interpretative and critical journalism

Winner: The New York Times Magazine for “David’s Ankles,” by Sam Anderson, August 21

Finalists: GQ for “My Son, the Prince of Fashion,” by Michael Chabon, October; The Hedgehog Review for “Ladies in Waiting,” by Becca Rothfeld, Fall; New York for “Democracies End When They Are Too Democratic,” by Andrew Sullivan, May 2-15; Oxford American for “Listening for the Country,” by Zandria F. Robinson, Winter

Award Citation: Thoroughly reported and deeply personal, "David's Ankles" considers the enduring appeal of Michelangelo's "David." The result is a wide-ranging study of the inevitability of deterioration in the lives of both artworks and magazine writers.

Columns and Commentary
Honors political and social commentary; news analysis; and reviews and criticism

Winner: Harper’s Magazine for three columns by Rebecca Solnit: “Bird in a Cage,” March, “The Ideology of Isolation,” July, and “Giantess,” September

Finalists: The Economist for three obituaries by Ann Wroe: “Manohar Aich: Raising the Temple,” June 18-24, “Elie Wiesel: Unanswerable Questions,” July 9-15, and “Qusai Abtini: From Child to Man,” August 13-19; Esquire for three columns by Dwight Garner: “Second Only to Sex,” September, “Drinking Games,” November, and “Name Dropping,” December 2016/January 2017; MTV News for three columns by Doreen St. Félix: “Diamond ‘Lavish’ Reynolds, Public Witness,” July 7, “The Images We Can’t Unsee,” July 19, and “New Tongues,” August 29, at mtv.com/news; Rolling Stone for three columns by Matt Taibbi: “President Trump, Seriously,” March 10, “Appetite for Destruction,” August 11, and “The Fury and Failure of Trump,” November 3

Award Citation: Rebecca Solnit's touch is humble and light, yet there is nothing easy about these "Easy Chair" columns from Harper's Magazine. Harper’s “Easy Chair” may date to 1851, but Solnit fills these pages with vital stories about the world today.

Public Interest
Honors magazine journalism that illuminates issues of national importance

Winner: The New York Times Magazine for “Worlds Apart,” by Nikole Hannah-Jones, June 12

Finalists: The Atavist for “A Family Matter,” by Jessica Weisberg, August 16 at magazine.atavist.com; Huffington Post Highline for “Out Here, No One Can Hear You Scream,” by Kathryn Joyce, video and photographs by Emily Kassie, March 16 at highline.huffingtonpost.com; The New Yorker for “The List,” by Sarah Stillman, March 14; Scientific American for “The Looming Threat of Factory-Farm Superbugs,” by Melinda Wenner Moyer, December

Award Citation: Nikole Hannah-Jones deftly blends solid reporting and thorough analysis with her own experience as the mother of a young child to show how, 50 years after "Brown v. Board of Education," American schools remain separate and unequal.

Magazine of the Year
Honors magazines for print and digital editorial excellence; audience engagement; and the success of branded content and services, including conferences and events

Winner: Mother Jones

Finalists: The California Sunday Magazine; Cosmopolitan; New York; The New Yorker

Award Citation: In a year that rocked our country and challenged our industry, Mother Jones found new ways to engage audiences and continue its practice of fearless journalism.

About ASME

The American Society of Magazine Editors is the principal organization for magazine journalists in the United States. The members of ASME include the editorial leaders of most major consumer and business magazines published in print and on digital platforms. Founded in 1963, ASME works to defend the First Amendment, protect editorial independence and support the development of journalism. ASME sponsors the National Magazine Awards for Print and Digital Media in association with the Columbia Journalism School and publishes the ASME Guidelines for Editors and Publishers.

About Columbia Journalism School

For over a century, the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism has been preparing journalists with instruction and training that stresses academic rigor, ethics, journalistic inquiry and professional practice. Founded with a gift from Joseph Pulitzer, the school opened its doors in 1912 and offers master of science, master of arts and doctor of philosophy degrees. Learn more at journalism.columbia.edu.


Sid Holt
[email protected]

Susan Russ
[email protected]