For the first time in more than 20 years, at this year's prize-giving of the American Society of Magazine Editors, Time magazine won the No 1 award – for "general excellence" – proving that weekly news magazines are not as dead or outdated as some have been saying.
The magazine received its award for its coverage of Hurricane Katrina (a 52-page report that came out within a week of the disaster) and an inside look into the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay.
This year the awards – regarded by many as the Oscars of the publishing industry – were a much more glittery affair than usual, held instead of in a mundane ballroom at The Waldorf Astoria but in the new grandiose Rose Theatre at Lincoln Centre. As a result the event attracted a bigger turn out of celebrities plus more than a thousand editors and writers.
One of the ironies of the award to Time was that the trophy – designed by Alexander Calder and nicknamed because of its elephantine shape as an Ellie – was accepted by managing editor Jim Kelly who is reportedly about to be "promoted out of his job". Kelly got a standing ovation and more than exuberant applause.
Other winners – for general excellence in various circulation categories – included Esquire, the sports magazine ESPN, Harper's Magazine and the Virginia Quarterly Review, a small-circulation literary magazine. The New Yorker, which in recent years has walked away with the majority of trophies (a total of 46 in the past 40 years), this year only won in two categories, including one for its Talk of the Town feature. Rolling Stone won a Best Reporting award for its story about what some now regard as the spurious selling of the war in Iraq. And in contrast Golf Magazine won the award for best "leisure-style" feature for a story entitled The New Way to Putt – a breakthrough technique for getting the ball in the hole.