Esquire, The New Yorker triumphant at the National Magazine Awards

NEW YORK: Esquire won four honors and The New Yorker took three at the National Magazine Awards, the industry's most prestigious awards. The men's magazine Esquire won for design, fiction, reviews and profile writing, while The New Yorker was cited for public interest journalism, essays, and feature writing.

NEW YORK: Esquire won four honors and The New Yorker took three at the National Magazine Awards, the industry's most prestigious awards. The men's magazine Esquire won for design, fiction, reviews and profile writing, while The New Yorker was cited for public interest journalism, essays, and feature writing.

Newsweek won the general interest award for the publications with circulations greater than two million, besting newsweekly competitor Time as well as Martha Stewart Living and O, The Oprah Magazine.

Stewart, who was recently convicted of lying to investigators looking into insider trading charges, made an appearance at the ceremony, which took place today at Manhattan's Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, prompting an acknowledgment by Newsweek editor Mark Whitaker as he was accepting the magazine's general excellence award. "Martha Stewart, if you're still here, you're a real sport to show up today," he said, after taking the last of the day's 21 Ellies, as the awards are known.

Perhaps the biggest surprise during a day dominated by venerable titles was Popular Science's victory for general excellence in the one-million to two-million circulation range. The recently made-over magazine beat out BusinessWeek, Entertainment Weekly, ESPN The Magazine and Real Simple.

"We're 133 years old and we've never won one before," said editor-in-chief Scott Mowbray.

Unsurprisingly, the war in Iraq hung heavy over the awards. Newsweek won on the strength of its war reporting, as did Rolling Stone, which won the reporting category for its three-part series by Evan Wright on Marines under fire in work.

Vanity Fair writer Michael Wolff won the columns and commentary category for pieces he did for New York Magazine during the early stage of the war. Both he and new New York editor Adam Moss acknowledged the influence of the ousted Caroline Miller.

Wolff offered the most elliptical statement of the day. "The truth is, I might have preferred a different prize, but this one is pretty good."

One of the more poignant remarks came from Marc Smirnoff, editor of the defunct southern literary magazine Oxford American, which won for its annual music issue. The magazine, whose brief existence was marked by funding problems, has stopped publishing. "I'm relieved there isn't a footnote in the rulebook that says a magazine has to be in existence to win one of these," he said.

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