At the National Magazine Awards, a Changing of the Guard Begins/The New Yorker and NY Mag’s Adam Moss took center stage again, but newcomers stole the show at the 2019 Ellies.
From a new category honoring podcasting and an additional one honoring video, to the warehouse-themed Williamsburg venue that would host a concert by Haiti’s hottest DJ the following night, to the slew of first-time winners, the 54th annual National Magazine Awards were far unlike any of the 53 that preceded them.
Among newcomers at the “Ellies”—named for the elephant-shaped trophy—was Topic, the “visual storytelling” hub launched less than two years ago, which swept both video categories and was one of just three publications to earn multiple awards (the other two being The New Yorker and The New York Times Magazine).
But outside of a standing ovation for outgoing New York magazine editor Adam Moss’s induction into the ASME Magazine Editors Hall of Fame, the largest ovation of the night arguably went to another first-time winner: Erin Bried, the founder and sole staffer responsible for Kazoo, the three-year-old, print-only magazine aimed at girls aged 5–12, which became the first-ever children’s magazine to pick up an Ellie award for General Excellence.
“I thought there was no chance. I’m going to try not to cry,” said Bried in her acceptance speech, thanking the judges for not dismissing Kazoo, the other magazines in the room that had given Kazoo press and the subscribers and contributors that have allowed it to succeed as an independent, ad-free magazine. Met with protests from the crowd, a musical cue intended to curtail Bried’s speech immediately relented.
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