Also see May 1, 2009, update: Ellie winners announced.
The list of nominees for the American Society of Magazine Editors' Ellie Awards reads a bit like the nominating committee walked up Park Avenue South or Broadway and picked candidates by location. GQ. Esquire. The New Yorker. New York. Vogue.
Okay, I'm exaggerating a bit. There are folks from the provinces, as well. San Francisco's Mother Jones.Texas Monthly (which calls itself "the national magazine of Texas," and one wonders why no one likes Texans). And so on. But it's still dominated by the Gotham crowd, who also hold records for the most Ellie nominations and wins in the past, as well as the most multiple-nominations this year.
Is GQ really one of the greatest magazines around? I live and work in San Francisco with educated, media-savvy people (many of them veterans of the magazine, newspaper, internet, or TV industries). Not once have I heard anyone cite a GQ article. Never have I heard a young J-school graduate list working for GQ as one of their goals (and I meet a lot of J-school grads in my line of work). I do hear such things about Esquire and The Atlantic, and there's often talk about New Yorker articles.
But I'm not picking on GQ. It's a fine magazine, for what it is. I frankly don't know what its aspirations are beyond hitting the revenue marks for its publisher, but there are worse crimes than putting out a successful magazine. My only point is: Really? That's the magazine that ASME nominated for 8 awards this year? New York has some of the best newsstands and magazine shops in the country (one of my favorite things about living in Manhattan was walking the four miles between my apartment on 82 and Second and my office on Park Ave. South and stopping at numerous shops full of magazines from around the country and all over the world). Surely they could have gotten some nominations a bit farther afield?