National Magazine Awards

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This article is about the American award. For the Canadian award, see Canadian National Magazine Awards.
National Magazine Awards
Awarded for Excellence in the magazine industry
Sponsor Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism
Date Annual
Country United States
Presented by American Society of Magazine Editors
First awarded 1966
Official website

The National Magazine Awards are a series of American awards that honor excellence in the magazine industry. They are sponsored by the American Society of Magazine Editors and administered by the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in New York City, New York. The awards have been presented annually since 1966.[1]

They are generally considered the highest award in the magazine industry; in the magazine world, they are roughly equivalent to the Pulitzer Prizes (which are far more widely known in the popular culture, but do not include a magazine category).[2][3]

Recipients of awards are selected in a two-step procedure: First, entries are reviewed by a judging panel, which recommends a group of finalists; then, a second panel of judges chooses one winner in each category. Categories include:

  • General Excellence
  • Personal Service
  • Leisure Interests
  • Reporting
  • Public Interest
  • Feature Writing
  • Profile Writing
  • Essays
  • Columns and Commentary
  • Reviews and Criticism
  • Magazine Section
  • Single-Topic Issue
  • Design
  • Photography
  • Photojournalism
  • Photo Portfolio
  • Fiction
  • General Excellence Online
  • Personal Service Online
  • Interactive Feature

Winners in each of the categories are awarded an "Ellie", a copper-colored stabile sculpture by Alexander Calder, resembling an elephant, which is manufactured by New York firm Society Awards. The National Magazine Awards web site has a searchable database of all the winners and top-five finalists.

Current Categories[edit]

General Excellence[edit]

Honors print and digital magazines in six categories based on content and audience. Includes General Excellence Online (2001-2009) and General Excellence, Digital Media (2010-2013).

Businessweek received the first ever award in 1973. No award was given from 1974 to 1980. When General Excellence returned as a category in 1981, it was given to four magazines per year until 1998, when five magazines received General Excellence awards. Six magazines received awards in 2002.From 2003 to 2010, the award went to seven different magazines and in 2011, to eight. Since 2012, the award has gone to six magazines.

Year Magazine
1973 Businessweek
1981 Glamour, Businessweek, Audubon, ARTnews
1982 Science 81, Rocky Mountain, Newsweek, Camera Arts
1983 Science 82, Louisiana Life, LIFE, Harper’s Magazine
1984 Outside, National Geographic, House & Garden, The American Lawyer
1985 Manhattan, Inc., American Heritage, American Health, TIME
1986 New England Monthly, Money, Discover, 3-2-1 Contact
1987 People, New England Monthly, Elle, Common Cause
1988 The Science, Parents, Hippocrates, Fortune
1989 Vanity Fair, Sports Illustrated, The Sciences, American Heritage
1990 Metropolitan Home, 7 Days, Texas Monthly, Sports Illustrated
1991 The New Republic, Interview, Glamour, Condé Nast Traveler
1992 Texas Monthly, The New Republic, National Geographic, Mirabella
1993 Newsweek, Lingua Franca, The Atlantic, American Photo
1994 Health, Businessweek, Wired, Print
1995 The New Yorker, Men’s Journal, I.D., Entertainment Weekly
1996 The Sciences, Civilization, Outside, Businessweek
1997 I.D., Wired, Vanity Fair, Outside, Money
1998 Rolling Stone, Preservation, Outside, DoubleTake, The Sporting News
1999 Vanity Fair, I.D., Fast Company, Condé Nast Traveler, Cigar Aficionado
2000 Saveur, The New Yorker, Nest, National Geographic, Businessweek
2001 Teen People, The New Yorker, Mother Jones, The American Scholar, U.S. News & World Report
2002 Vibe, Print, Newsweek, National Geographic Adventure, Entertainment Weekly, National Geographic
2003 Texas Monthly, Parenting, Foreign Policy, ESPN The Magazine, The Atlantic, Architectural Record, Slate
2004 Popular Science, Newsweek, Gourmet, Aperture, Budget Living, Chicago, CNET News
2005 Wired, The New Yorker, Print, Martha Stewart Weddings, Glamour, Dwell,
2006 The Virginia Quarterly Review, Time, New York, Harper’s Magazine, Esquire, ESPN The Magazine, National Geographic
2007 Wired, Rolling Stone, New York, National Geographic, Foreign Policy, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Beliefnet
2008 Print, The New Yorker, National Geographic, Mother Jones, GQ, Backpacker, Runner’s World
2009 Foreign Policy, Field & Stream, Wired, Texas Monthly, Reader’s Digest, New York, Backpacker
2010 San Francisco, New York, New York (Digital), National Geographic, Mother Jones, GQ, Men’s Health
2011 Women’s Health, Scientific American, Garden & Gun, Poetry, New York, Slate, Epicurious, Los Angeles
2012 Inc., House Beautiful, IEEE Spectrum, O, The Oprah Magazine, New York, Bloomberg Businessweek
2013 The Paris Review, Martha Stewart Living, National Geographic, Vogue, Pitchfork, Outside
2014 New York, Poetry, Inc., Field & Stream, Bon Appetit, Sunset


Previously known as Visual Excellence (1970-1979). Honors overall excellence in print magazine design.

Year Magazine
1970 Look
1971 Vogue
1972 Esquire
1973 Horizon
1974 Newsweek
1975 Country Journal and National Lampoon
1976 Horticulture
1977 Rolling Stone
1978 Architectural Digest
1979 Audubon
1980 GEO
1981 Attenzione
1982 Nautical Quarterly
1983 New York
1984 House & Garden
1985 Forbes
1986 TIME
1987 Elle
1988 Life
1989 Rolling Stone
1990 Esquire
1991 Conde Nast Traveler
1992 Vanity Fair
1993 Harper's Bazaar
1994 Allure
1995 Martha Stewart Living
1996 Wired
1997 I.D. Magazine
1998 Entertainment Weekly
1999 ESPN The Magazine
2000 Fast Company
2001 Nest
2002 Details
2003 Details
2004 Esquire
2005 Kids: Fun Stuff to Do Together
2006 New York
2007 New York
2008 Wired
2009 Wired
2010 Wired
2011 GQ, The New York Times Magazine (Digital Media)
2012 GQ, Wired (Digital Media)
2013 TIME
2014 New York


Honors overall excellence in print magazine photography.

Year Magazine
1985 Life
1986 Vogue
1987 National Geographic
1988 Rolling Stone
1989 National Geographic
1990 Texas Monthly
1991 National Geographic
1992 National Geographic
1993 Harper's Bazaar
1994 Martha Stewart Living
1995 Rolling Stone
1996 Saveur
1997 National Geographic
1998 W
1999 Martha Stewart Living
2000 Vanity Fair
2001 National Geographic
2002 Vanity Fair
2003 Condé Nast Traveler
2004 City
2005 Gourmet
2006 W
2007 National Geographic
2008 Gourmet
2009 GQ
2010 Vanity Fair, National Geographic (Digital)
2011 W, The New York Times Magazine (News Photography), (Digital)
2012 Vogue, Harper's Magazine (News and Documentary Photography)
2013 National Geographic
2014 Bon Appetit

Feature Photography[edit]

Previously known as Photo Portfolio/Photo Essay (2004-2006) and Photo Portfolio (2007-2010). Honors the use of original photography in a feature story, photo-essay or photo portfolio.

Year Magazine
2004 W
2005 TIME
2006 Rolling Stone
2007 City
2008 Vanity Fair
2009 The New Yorker
2010 The New Yorker
2011 ESPN The Magazine
2012 The New York Times Magazine
2013 W
2014 W

Single-Topic Issue[edit]

Honors magazines that have devoted a single issue to the comprehensive examination of one subject. No award was given in 2000 or 2001.

Year Magazine
1979 Progressive Architecture
1980 Scientific American
1981 Businessweek
1982 News Week
1983 IEEE Spectrum
1984 Esquire
1985 American Heritage
1986 IEEE Spectrum
1987 Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
1988 Life
1989 Hippocrates
1990 National Geographic
1991 The American Lawyer
1992 Businessweek
1993 Newsweek
1994 Health
1995 Discover
1996 Bon Appétit
1997 Scientific American
1998 The Sciences
1999 The Oxford American
2002 TIME
2003 Scientific American
2004 The Oxford American
2005 Newsweek
2006 TIME
2007 Departures
2008 Virginia Quarterly Review
2009 Saveur
2010 Wired
2011 National Geographic
2012 New York
2013 Saveur
2014 Businessweek

Magazine Section[edit]

Honors a regularly published front- or back-of-the-book department or section.

Year Magazine
2005 Popular Science
2006 Backpacker
2007 New York
2008 Condé Nast Portfolio
2009 Wired
2010 New York
2011 New York
2012 New York
2013 New York
2014 Modern Farmer

Personal Interest[edit]

Honors print and digital magazines in six categories based on content and audience. Includes General Excellence Online (2001-2009) and General Excellence, Digital Media (2010-2013).

Previously known as Service to the Individual (1974—1985). Honors the use of print to serve readers’ needs and aspirations. No award was given in 1981.

Year Magazine
1974 Sports Illustrated
1975 Esquire
1976 Modern Medicine
1977 Harper's Magazine
1978 Newsweek
1979 American Journal of Nursing
1980 Saturday Review
1982 Philadelphia
1983 Sunset
1984 New York
1985 The Washingtonian
1986 Farm Journal
1987 Consumer Reports
1988 Money
1989 Good Housekeeping
1990 Consumer Reports
1991 New York
1992 Creative Classroom
1993 Good Housekeeping
1994 Fortune
1995 SmartMoney
1996 SmartMoney
1997 Glamour
1998 Men's Journal
1999 Good Housekeeping
2000 PC Company (renamed Smart Business for the New Economy)
2001 National Geographic Adventure
2002 National Geographic Adventure
2003 Outside
2004 Men's Health
2005 BabyTalk
2006 Self
2007 Glamour
2008 Popular Mechanics
2009 Esquire
2010 New York
2011 Men's Health
2012 Glamour
2013 Los Angeles
2014 Cosmopolitan

Leisure Interests[edit]

Previously known as Special Interests (1986-2001). Honors the use of print to provide practical information about recreational activities and special interests.

Year Magazine
1986 Popular Mechanics
1987 Sports Afield
1988 Condé Nast Traveler
1989 Condé Nast Traveler
1990 Arts & Antiques
1991 New York
1992 Sports Afield
1993 Philadelphia
1994 Outside
1995 GQ
1996 Saveur
1997 Smithsonian
1998 Entertainment Weekly
1999 PC Computing
2000 I.D.
2001 The New Yorker
2002 Vogue
2003 National Geographic Adventure
2004 Consumer Reports
2005 Sports Illustrated
2006 Golf Magazine
2007 O, The Oprah Magazine
2008 New York
2009 Esquire
2010 New York
2011 Men's Journal
2012 Saveur
2013 Wired
2014 O, The Oprah Magazine


Honors magazine websites and online-only magazines.

Year Magazine
2012 New York
2013 The Atlantic
2014 New York

Tablet Magazine[edit]

Previously known as Mobile Media (2010), Mobile Edition (2011) and Tablet Edition (2012). Honors magazines published on tablets and e-readers, including digital-only magazines.

Year Magazine
2010 Epicurious
2011 Esquire
2012 National Geographic
2013 National Geographic
2014 National Geographic


Previously known as Multimedia Feature or Package (2010) and Multimedia Package (2011). Honors digital storytelling and the integration of magazine media.

Year Magazine
2010 New York
2011 Virginia Quarterly Review
2012 Foreign Policy
2013 National Geographic
2014 National Geographic


Honors the outstanding use of video by magazines published on digital platforms.

Year Magazine
2010 Yale Environment 360
2011 The Oxford American
2012 The New York Times Magazine
2013 Mother Jones
2014 Glamour

Public Interest[edit]

Previously known as Public Service (1970-1985). Honors magazine journalism that illuminates issues of national importance. No award was given in 1973.

Year Magazine
1970 Life
1971 The Nation
1972 Philadelphia
1974 Scientific America
1975 Consumer Reports
1976 Businessweek
1977 Philadelphia
1978 Mother Jones
1979 New West
1980 Texas Monthly
1981 Reader's Digest
1982 The Atlantic
1983 Foreign Affairs
1984 The New Yorker
1985 The Washingtonian
1986 Science 85
1987 Money
1988 The Atlantic
1989 California
1990 Southern Exposure
1991 Family Circle
1992 Glamour
1993 The Family Therapy Networker
1994 Philadelphia
1995 The New Republic
1996 Texas Monthly
1997 Fortune
1998 The Atlantic
1999 TIME
2000 The New Yorker
2001 TIME
2002 The Atlantic
2003 The Atlantic
2004 The New Yorker
2005 The New Yorker
2006 The New Yorker
2007 Vanity Fair
2008 The Nation
2009 Bicycling
2010 The New Yorker
2011 The New Yorker
2012 The New Yorker
2013 Texas Monthly
2014 TIME


Previously known as Reporting Excellence (1970-1980). Honors reporting excellence as exemplified by one article or a series of articles.

Year Magazine
1970 The New Yorker
1971 The Atlantic
1972 The Atlantic
1973 New York
1974 The New Yorker
1975 The New Yorker
1976 Audubon
1977 Audubon
1978 The New Yorker
1979 Texas Monthly
1980 Mother Jones
1981 National Journal
1982 The Washingtonian
1983 Institutional Investor
1984 Vanity Fair
1985 Texas Monthly
1986 Rolling Stone
1987 Life
1988 Baltimore Magazine (News Reporting)
1989 The New Yorker
1990 The New Yorker
1991 The New Yorker
1992 The New Republic
1993 IEEE Spectrum
1994 The New Yorker
1995 The Atlantic
1996 The New Yorker
1997 Outside
1998 Rolling Stone
1999 Newsweek
2000 Vanity Fair
2001 Esquire
2002 The Atlantic
2003 The New Yorker
2004 Rolling Stone
2005 The New Yorker
2006 Rolling Stone
2007 Esquire
2008 National Geographic
2009 The New York Times Magazine
2010 The New York Times Magazine
2011 Harper's Magazine
2012 The New Yorker)
2013 GQ
2014 The New York Times Magazine

Feature Writing[edit]

Honors original, stylish storytelling. Incorporates Profiles as of 2013.

Year Magazine
1988 The Atlantic
1989 Esquire
1990 The Washingtonian
1991 U.S. News & World Report
1992 Sports Illustrated
1993 The New Yorker
1994 Harper's Magazine
1995 GQ
1996 GQ
1997 Sports Illustrated
1998 Harper's Magazine
1999 The American Scholar
2000 Sports Illustrated
2001 Rolling Stone
2002 The Atlantic
2003 Harper's Magazine
2004 The New Yorker
2005 Esquire
2006 The American Scholar
2007 GQ
2008 Atlanta
2009 Esquire
2010 Texas Monthly
2011 Los Angeles
2012 Esquire
2013 Texas Monthly
2014 The New Yorker

Essays & Criticism[edit]

Previously known as Criticism & Belle-Lettres (1977) and Essays (2000-2010). Honors interpretative and critical journalism.

Year Magazine
1977 Mother Jones
1978 Esquire
1979 Life
1980 Natural History
1981 TIME
1982 The Atlantic
1983 The American Lawyer
1984 The New Republic
1985 Boston
1986 The Sciences
1987 Outside
1988 Harper's Magazine
1989 Harper's Magazine
1990 Vanity Fair
1991 The Sciences
1992 The Nation
1993 The American Lawyer
1994 Harper's Magazine
1995 Harper's Magazine
1996 The New Yorker
1997 The New Yorker
1998 The New Yorker
1999 The Atlantic
2000 The Sciences
2001 The New Yorker
2002 The New Yorker
2003 The American Scholar
2004 The New Yorker
2005 National Geographic
2006 Vanity Fair
2007 The Georgia Review
2008 New Letters
2009 Backpacker
2010 National Geographic
2011 The Paris Review
2012 New York
2013 The Atlantic
2014 The New York Times Magazine

Columns and Commentary[edit]

Honors political and social commentary; news analysis; and reviews and criticism.

Year Magazine
2002 New York
2003 The Nation
2004 New York
2005 National Journal
2006 The New Yorker
2007 Vanity Fair
2008 Rolling Stone
2009 Automobile
2010 Newsweek
2011 Vanity Fair
2012 Vanity Fair
2013 Slate
2014 The New Yorker


Previously known as Fiction & Belle-Lettres (1974-1976). Honors fiction originally published in magazines.

Year Magazine
1970 Redbook
1971 Esquire
1972 Mademoiselle
1973 The Atlantic
1974 The New Yorker
1975 Redbook
1976 Essence
1977 Mother Jones
1978 The New Yorker
1979 The Atlantic
1980 Antaeus
1981 The North American Review
1982 The New Yorker
1983 The North American Review
1984 Seventeen
1985 Playboy
1986 The Georgia Review
1987 Esquire
1988 The Atlantic
1989 The New Yorker
1990 The New Yorker
1991 Esquire
1992 Story
1993 The New Yorker
1994 Harper's Magazine
1995 Story
1996 Harper's Magazine
1997 The New Yorker
1998 The New Yorker
1999 Harper's Magazine
2000 The New Yorker
2001 Zoetrope: All-Story
2002 The New Yorker
2003 The New York
2004 Esquire
2005 The Atlantic
2006 Virginia Quarterly Review
2007 McSweeney's
2008 Harper's Magazine
2009 The New Yorker
2010 McSweeney's
2011 Virginia Quarterly Review
2012 Zoetrope: All-Story
2013 Harper's Magazine
2014 The New Yorker

Magazine of the Year[edit]

Year Magazine
2010 Glamour
2011 National Geographic
2012 Time
2013 New York
2014 Fast Company

Former Categories[edit]

National Magazine Award[edit]

For the first four years of the National Magazine Awards, only one award was given.


  • Look "for its skillful editing, imagination and editorial integrity, all of which were reflected particularly in its treatment of the racial issue during 1965.”


  • Life "in recognition of skillful, imaginative and constructive editing as reflected particularly in vivid photo reporting of the war in Vietnam, outstanding coverage of the civil rights issue, and effective support for the preservation of great works of art—in keeping with an admirable tradition of public education on cultural subjects.”


  • Newsweek "in recognition of that magazine's development of a new form of editorial analysis and advocacy in its major effort to present America's racial problems. The 'program of action,' published in Newsweek's issue of November 20, 1967, was a 23 page article combining reportage, analysis and opinion under the title 'The Negro in America: What Must Be Done.' The judges considered the project, clearly labeled as a departure from Newsweek’s standard policy, to have been skillfully and responsibly executed. They consider it a useful and important form, when sparingly used, in the news magazine field.”


  • American Machinist Magazine, a McGraw-Hill trade publication, which was recognized for its special issue, “Will John Garth Make It?” The study of U.S. industry’s role in combating unemployment, especially among those that companies might consider unemployable, included Mr. Garth, a 26-year-old high school dropout and parolee.

Certificates of Special Recognition[edit]

Identifying one winner was no doubt a challenge for the judges in the first years of the National Magazine Awards. It was decided from the start that Certificates of Special Recognition as well as commendations would be given.


  • Scientific American “for general excellence in its field and, particularly, for its special issue, drawing on many disciplines, dealing with the broad subject of urbanization”
  • Grade Teacher “for its high quality treatment of important new subjects, conspicuously improved use of illustration and practical service to its readership—all within the limitations of a modest budget”
  • Ebony “for imaginative and forceful treatment of social questions as reflected particularly in its issue on 'The White Problem in America'”


  • Motive “for editorial vitality, for tasteful innovation in design, and for forthright treatment of delicate issues that once would have been taboo in religious-affiliated publications"


  • Esquire “for its editorial creativity and diversity its original typographical and pictorial presentation, and its penetrating reporting of character and social trends as exemplified in its submitted article about Jack Ruby”
  • Life “for its uncompromising and well documented series exposing the scale of organized crime in the United States and for its pursuit of new facets of the subject”
  • Vogue “for visual grace, wit and innovation accompanied by printed content in harmony with its high graphic standard”


Nine titles were commended at the first annual National Magazine Awards. This was the only year such recognition was given.


  • TIME "for the innovation of tis well researched, expertly written and balanced series of ‘TIME Essays.’”
  • The New Yorker “for its skillful editing and for its flair for dramatic innovation as demonstrated by its publication of Truman Capote’s ‘In Cold Blood.’"
  • The American Machinist “for its comprehensive treatment of the balance of payments problem as it affects industry.”
  • Continuum “for its role, as a Roman Catholic magazine of small circulation, in delving into controversy and presenting strong conviction and thorough research in a handsome format.”
  • Motive “for skillful and dramatic presentations of major issues in a small-circulation Protestant magazine.”
  • Vogue “for its effective use of color in editorial pages.”
  • Fortune “for its clear and thoughtful presentations, including its series offering a fresh look at the influence of automation.”
  • TV Guide “for dealing thoughtfully with controversial topics in a setting where others might have settled for fan-appeal trivia.”
  • LIFE “for overall skill in dealing with contemporary civilization, cultural subjects and public affairs.”

Profile Writing[edit]

Honors excellence in profile writing by recognizing the vividness and perceptiveness with which the writer brings his or her subject to life. Previously known as Profiles (2000-2001).

Year Magazine
2000 Sports Illustrated
2001 The New Yorker
2002 The New Yorker
2003 Sports Illustrated
2004 Esquire
2005 The New Yorker
2006 Esquire
2007 New York
2008 Vanity Fair
2009 Rolling Stone
2010 Esquire
2011 The New York Times Magazine
2012 D Magazine

Reviews and Criticism[edit]

Honors excellence in criticism of art, books, movies, television, theater, music, dance, food, dining, fashion, products and the like by recognizing the knowledge, persuasiveness and original voice that the critic brings to his or her reviews.

Year Magazine
2000 Esquire
2001 The New Yorker
2002 Harper's Magazine
2003 Vanity Fair
2004 Esquire
2005 The New Yorker
2006 Harper's Magazine
2007 The Nation
2008 The Atlantic
2009 The New Yorker
2010 The New Yorker


Honors excellence in the informative photographic documentation of an event or subject in real-time.

Year Magazine
2007 The Paris Review
2008 National Geographic
2009 National Geographic
2010 National Geographic

Photography, Digital Media[edit]

Honors overall excellence in the design of magazine websites and online-only magazines.

Year Magazine
2010 National Geographic

Design, Digital Media[edit]

Honors overall excellence in the design of magazine websites and online-only magazines..

Year Magazine
2011 The New York Times Magazine
2012 Wired

Reporting, Digital Media[edit]

Honors overall excellence in the design of magazine websites and online-only magazines.

Year Magazine
2012 Wired

Personal Service, Digital Media[edit]

Honors a site’s effective use of multimedia technology to deliver information that users can act on to improve the quality of their personal lives or enjoy recreational pursuits. Previously known as Interactive Service (2007) and Personal Service Online (2008-2008).

Year Magazine
2007 Businessweek
2008 Businessweek
2009 Backpacker

News Reporting[edit]

Honors the timeliness, accuracy and skill with which news and information are gathered and presented by magazines. In 2010-2011, News Reporting recognized work published only on digital platforms.

Year Magazine
1988 The Washingtonian and Baltimore
2010 Virginia Quarterly Review
2011 Foreign Policy


Honors excellence in online reporting and commentary and criticism published as a blog.

Year Magazine
2010 Foreign Policy
2011 Tablet Magazine

Website Department[edit]

Honors a regularly updated, clearly branded department or channel. Previously known as Regular Department or Section (2010) and Online Department (2011).

Year Magazine
2010 Sports Illustrated
2011 Fast Company
2012 The Daily Beast

Utility App[edit]

Honors an outstanding app, feature or section of a website that uses multimedia technology, tools, community platforms or other interactive formats to deliver or share content such as news, information and entertainment, rather than practical instruction or advice. Previously known as Interactive Feature (2007-2009) and Interactive Tool (2010-2011).

Year Magazine
2007 New York
2008 Bicycling
2009 AARP The Magazine
2010 Men's Health
2011 Epicurious
2012 TIME


Honors outstanding audio podcasts on a magazine website or online-only magazine.

Year Magazine
2010 Tablet Magazine
2011 Poetry

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Carmody, Deirdre (April 17, 1992). "National Geographic and New Republic Win". The New York Times. 
  2. ^ Keith, J. (March 15, 2007). "Ellie Picks Nominated". New York Post. 
  3. ^ Neuffer, Elizabeth (April 23, 1987). "13 Prizes Awarded for Magazine Excellence". The New York Times. 

External links[edit]