National Geographic magazine was nominated for overall general excellence on Thursday in the National Magazine Awards. National Geographic was also nominated in four other categories, including best overall photography, best website, best single topic issue for its January 2017 special issue on gender, and best reporting, for a joint investigation with ProPublica into how the U.S. drug war triggered a massacre in Mexico. National Geographic Traveler magazine received a nomination for best digital innovation for a whimsical immersive journey into remote Norwegian islands.
The General Excellence award honors publications’ overall eminence in editorial storytelling and audience engagement. The other nominees for this award in the “news, sports and entertainment” division, which honors wide-distribution publications that cover politics and culture, include The Atlantic, California Sunday magazine, New York, and the New Yorker. ESPN The Magazine won the award last year.
The annual National Magazine Awards are administered by the American Society of Magazine Editors in association with the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. Winners will be announced in New York on March 13.
National Geographic's special Gender Revolution issue examined the ways in which human understanding of gender is shifting and evolving on a global scale. The issue illuminated the stories of young girls in war-torn Sierra Leone rejecting the cultural norm of female genital mutilation, men in Sweden making use of extended parental leave, and complexities about the science of gender. The issue featured Avery Jackson, the first openly transgender person to appear on the cover of National Geographic magazine. “The best thing about being a girl,” says Avery, “is now I don’t have to pretend to be a boy.”
In addition to the gender issue, National Geographic submitted to the photography and “general excellence” categories issues with stories about climate change in Antarctica, and the complicated debate over the ethics of trophy hunting. National Geographic won the award for best website last year, and was again nominated this year. Its entries in the category included an exclusive story on the most dangerous rope-free mountain climb ever, and a slow-motion video of a hummingbird in flight.
This year's National Magazine Awards saw 1,368 entries from 281 publications. Fifty-four publications received nominations, with several receiving first-ever nods, including SB Nation and The Outline. For the fifth year in a row, New York magazine received the most nominations, with 10. The New Yorker followed with 8, and The Atlantic and National Geographic received the third-most nominations, each with 5.
The National Magazine Awards were established in 1966. Originally limited to print magazines, the awards now honor high-quality journalism published in any medium. The award itself, the “Ellie,” is modeled on the “Elephant” stabile sculpture, designed by acclaimed American artist Alexander Calder.