Chicago magazine wins national recognition

City monthly beat four other finalists

May 06, 2004|By James Warren | James Warren,CHICAGO TRIBUNE

Chicago magazine did not suffer from Second City Syndrome yesterday as it won big at the National Magazine Awards, the Oscars of the industry.

Now owned by the Chicago Tribune, the city monthly bested four other finalists, including Harvard Business Review and Harper's, as it was cited for general excellence in the 100,000-250,000 circulation category. It was lauded for mixing "meaty investigative journalism with clever service packages to create the very model of a modern major city magazine."

But two New York-based stalwarts, Esquire and the New Yorker, were the biggest winners across 21 print and online categories in the 39-year-old competition sponsored by the American Society of Magazine Editors and run by Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism. Esquire won four awards (profile writing, design, fiction and criticism) and the New Yorker won three (public interest articles, features and essays).

Newsweek won the award for general excellence in the largest category, for magazines with circulations over 2 million, for its coverage of the war in Iraq. Popular Science and Gourmet won the general excellence awards in their respective circulation categories.

First-time winner Budget Living, which launched in 2002, took the general excellence prize for magazines between 250,000 and 500,000 circulation. The judges noted the magazine's "quirky and modern" look and "clever and conspiratorial" voice.

Aperture, another first-time winner, took the overall prize in the smallest circulation category, of under 100,000.

Esquire's article on the travails of Bob Greene, a columnist fired from the Chicago Tribune over allegations of sexual impropriety, won the award for profiles, while the New Yorker won the essay award for a first-person account by Laura Hillenbrand about her struggle with chronic fatigue syndrome.

And while the New Yorker simply maintains its longtime excellence and creativity, Esquire is testament to one publication's powers of resurgence after being left for dead many times.

"You talk about a magazine with nine lives!" said Samir Husni, a professor at the University of Mississippi and perhaps the foremost expert on consumer magazines. "They're well-designed and doing an excellent job."

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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