The Best Magazine Articles of the Year

The National Magazine Awards were announced last night. The Daily Beast breaks down the winners in each of the major categories, including the "Best Picture" of glossies: general excellence.

05.01.09 8:03 AM ET

Single-Topic Issue

The gourmand’s delight published their World of Breakfast issue in October which dug up early-morning recipes from every corner of the globe, like Mexican chilaquiles and Turkish tripe soup, on their quest to prove “the first bite of the day is always the best.”

Magazine Section

Editor in chief Chris Anderson pulled in the prize rewarding a regular, ongoing area of a magazine for the Start section of its September, October, and December issues.

The New York Times Magazine

“Whose side is Pakistan really on?” asks Dexter Filkins in his thorough, evocative piece on the Taliban’s presence in Pakistan, a key U.S. ally.

Public Interest

David Darlington won for “Broken”—his heartbreaking account of a cyclist whose life was forever changed after a car accident sent him into a coma for four months. He concludes that the current system in place has failed to protect cyclists.

Feature Writing

"The Things That Carried Him" by writer Chris Jones painstakingly details the return of the body of Sergeant Joe Montgomery from Baghdad to his resting place in Indiana, beginning with his grave being dug.

Profile Writing
Rolling Stone

David Lipsky’s profile of David Foster Wallace paints a portrait of a fragile genius who was far from reaching his full potential before succumbing to depression and committing suicide. “'I can't get the image out of my head,’ his sister says. ‘David and his dogs, and it's dark. I'm sure he kissed them on the mouth, and told them he was sorry.’”


Tracy Ross’ “The Source of All Things” confronts childhood sexual abuse in the Idaho Sawtooth Mountains and is a searing, honest portrayal of the aftermath of abuse. “As my dad frequented my bedroom, a creeping disintegration set in,” she writes. “It attacked my self-image, then spread, disease-like, to my sense of morality, ambition, and trust.”

Columns and Commentary

Jamie Kitman’s three winning columns unravel the Big Three’s political mistakes and take a hard look at easy credit.

Reviews and Criticism
The New Yorker

James Wood explains what makes for compelling dialogue, remembers his childhood disgust of priests while reviewing Marilynne Robinson, and unpacks the complicated legacy of V.S. Naipaul in his three award-winning articles for The New Yorker.

The New Yorker

David Remnick’s New Yorker was recognized for excellence in magazine fiction writing for “Them Old Cowboy Songs” by Annie Proulx and “The Noble Truths of Suffering” by Aleksandar Hemon, which muses on writing and blurs the line between memoir and fiction.

General Excellence, over 2 million circulation
Reader’s Digest

The pocket-size magazine that reaches 80 million readers worldwide took the prize for General Excellence for their June, August, and September issues. Kudos to editor in chief Peggy Northrop: June was her first month at the helm.

General Excellence, 1 to 2 million circulation
Field & Stream

The hunting and outdoors magazine took the prize for their May, June, and December/January issues packed with fishing tips and photos.

General Excellence, 500,000 to 1 million circulation

The February, April, and November issues scored the tech guru’s handbook one of the top prizes. In February, Wired expounded on Why Things Suck!, April tackled Steve Jobs’ “evil genius” and in November explored the future of food.

General Excellence, 250,000 to 500,000 circulation
Texas Monthly

The November and December issues explored the success of the University of Texas sports franchise, profiled a group of exonerated former prisoners who were put away for crimes they didn’t commit, and recounted an oral history of the Florida presidential election.

General Excellence, 100,000 to 250,000 circulation
Foreign Policy

The bimonthly magazine grabbed the honor for their January/February, March/April, and May/June issues.

General Excellence, under 100,000 circulation

The design magazine won for its February, April, and October issues which feature articles on the increasingly modern baby market and young-adult book covers.