So you may have noticed an elephant in the room—more specifically, an elephantine abstraction that began appearing on our Web site today, like the one outside the margin at the left. That's an Ellie, a stabile designed by Alexander Calder and bestowed by the American Society of Magazine Editors (ASME). It is the magazine industry's version of the Emmy, Grammy, Oscar or Tony awards.
Last night, at a gala banquet on Park Avenue in New York City, Scientific American won an Ellie for General Excellence in the category of finance, technology and lifestyle, which includes business, science and special-interest publications.
The ASME judges based their decision on our September, November and December 2010 issues (which included some content from our Web site as well). Finalists were Backpacker, Bloomberg Markets, GQ and Popular Mechanics. Editor in Chief Mariette DiChristina dashed up to the lectern to accept the award and give a quick thank-you speech.
As a publication that demystifies the world around us--and explores new mysteries, too--it seemed appropriate that illusionist David Copperfield presented the award to us. We wondered if he was going to do a magic trick, and he did not disappoint. He stepped back from the lectern and made the announcement card rise up from its envelope. It was almost as entertaining as the golden retriever that delivered two slobber-coated envelopes to presenters of the other 21 categories.
Katie Couric, the CBS Evening News anchor and managing editor (for the time being anyway), served as the evening's host. She provided some laughs with a snarky comment about how she understood why print folks were not made for television after one nervous recipient stood mute for perhaps a good 20 seconds and never looked up when delivering his remarks.
Scientific American was also a finalist for the category of single-topic issue, for our September 2010 issue on "The End". It was a culmination of almost a decade of office debate: many of us editors wanted to do a single-topic issue on the science of death, but others at the publication worried that it might be too gloomy. Michael Moyer, one of our tech editors, did a great job in giving the concept new life, so to speak, by incorporating ideas beyond death, like a series of things we'd like to see come to an end. Alas, National Geographic won that category for its issue on water (as well as for the category of magazine of the year). A total of 18 magazines won; the entire list is here.
It's great to have our work acknowledged by our peers, but our loyal readers also deserve a nod for helping to make us what we are. After all, your interest in science and how it affects our lives is the reason we exist in the first place. So thank you for reading!