Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Making Sense of It All

The American Society of Magazine Editors, of which I am the last surviving founder, announced today this year's finalists for the National Magazine Awards.

It’s no surprise that Iraq is high on the list of subject matter--the Abu Ghraib scandal and the massacre at Hadditha--along with articles about breast cancer, fishing, Scientology and the best bars in America.

Forgive the commercial, but depth and diversity are the strengths of magazine journalism, giving readers insight into personal issues as well as the wider world. Even, or perhaps especially, with all the instant information available today, readers need help in making sense of it all.

Also no surprise is that The New Yorker leads the list of 125 finalists with nine nominations followed by Esquire and New York Magazine with seven each.

In 1970, during a stint as a book publisher, I was one of the judges who gave an award to Richard Harris for his New Yorker reporting on how Nixon’s Attorney General John Mitchell was politicizing the Justice Department.

The more things change...

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