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Handicapping the Ellies Race

FOLIO:'s 2008 National Magazine Awards primer.


Dylan Stableford By Dylan Stableford
05/01/2008 -12:58 PM








Tonight's 2008 National Magazine Awards, like most industry awards shows, expects to be an uneven, awkward affair (these are, after all, magazine editors, not actors and we all know how those awards shows devolve.)

The New York-centric argument aside (see this post—"Have the National Magazine Awards Become Too New York-Centric?"—for background) the races themselves are always entertaining.

For those of you with Ellies office pools (there must be one, right?) here's a handy guide to five of the night's most intriguing races:

GENERAL EXCELLENCE ONLINE: This category recognizes outstanding magazine websites, as well as online-only magazines that feature original content. The award honors sites that convey a distinct editorial identity and create a unique magazine environment on the Web.

Babble.com
Chow.com
NewYorker.com
RunnersWorld.com
Slate.com

FAVORITE: NewYorker.com
OUR PICK: Babble.com
LONG-SHOT: Chow.com
THE SKINNY: Given its history of winning here and its slew of nominations, the New Yorker should be favored in any category it's been nominated. But a couple of pure plays—Babble.com and Slate—figure to give the New Yorker a run for its money. Babble, Nerve.com's gurgly spin-off, has the edge here.

GENERAL EXCELLENCE: Circulation 100,000-250,000

Foreign Policy
Mother Jones
Paste
Philadelphia Magazine
Radar

FAVORITE: Radar
OUR PICK: Foreign Policy
LONG-SHOT: Philadelphia
THE SKINNY: This is an interesting one, as each magazine nominated here is probably looking at itself as an underdog. It's penchant for hiring columnists from the Hills aside, Maer Roshan's Radar—now in its third iteration—should win, but Foreign Policy, a criminally underappreciated D.C.-based magazine, would be my choice. If it wasn't its first nomination, Paste—a forward-thinking music magazine that's not afraid to experiment with ads and subscription models—would be my pick.

GENERAL EXCELLENCE: Circulation over 2,000,000

Glamour
Martha Stewart Living
National Geographic
People
Time 

FAVORITE: Glamour
OUR PICK: National Geographic
LONG-SHOT: Time
THE SKINNY: In the big-circ general excellence category, there are no real "underdogs." After, these are the biggest magazines with monstrous revenues. Glamour won last year, but don't be surprised if Time, fresh off its historic 2007 redesign, gets some general excellence recognition.

COLUMNS and COMMENTARY: This category recognizes excellence in short-form political, social, economic or humorous commentary. The award honors the eloquence, force of argument and succinctness with which the writer presents his or her views.

Inc.
New York Magazine
The New Yorker
Rolling Stone
Slate

FAVORITE: New Yorker
OUR PICK: Rolling Stone
LONG-SHOT:
Slate
THE SKINNY:
A hard-fought race in an election year, as this category is typically dominated by political-leaning columns. Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone's campaign warrior, deserves an Ellie, even if Jann Wenner, who has done little to improve Rolling Stone's downright archaic Web site, does not.

GENERAL EXCELLENCE: Circulation 250,000-500,000

Backpacker
Cookie
New York Magazine
W
Wondertime

FAVORITE: New York
OUR PICK: New York
LONG-SHOT: Everyone else
THE SKINNY: New York swept the National Magazine Awards program last year, and while they won't sweep this time around, it would be an upset of Marion Cotillard-proportions if Adam Moss' magazine didn't win for general excellence.

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Dylan Stableford By Dylan Stableford --

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