New Statesman, Grazia and GQ lead way at mag awards

New Statesman, GQ and Grazia were the big winners at this year's Magazine Design and Journalism Awards.

The relaunched New Statesman took top honours in four categories of the Press Gazette-organised awards, which recognise talent in both the visual and editorial sides of the magazine business.

In the design categories, the title took consumer magazine front page of the year for "Oil — A Lethal Addiction" and best typography, which the judges said was a "perfect example of typography used within a magazine as design".

In the journalism awards, reviewer of the year went to New Statesman TV critic Andrew Billen, and its political editor Martin Bright won exclusive of the year for what judges said was an "outstanding entry" on the CIA's extraordinary rendition flights.

Bright said: "We feel like new kids on the block. Sometimes we have been written off as dull and worthy, but this is a complete transformation."

The accolades seal a good year for the relaunched title, which claims a circulation currently well up on a year ago and now above the 30,000 mark.

Editor John Kampfner (pictured) said: "We were clear from the outset that the editorial redesign was to better project the words. [New Statesman designer] Simon Esterson understands that the design is there to enhance the journalism, not to straitjacket or subdue. Nobody has said anything has suffered as a result of the redesign — it's no less edgy or without journalistic rigour."

Emap's Grazia picked up the magazine icon of the year prize and best designed features pages. The judges said it was "a magazine completely at ease with itself". Grazia editor-in-chief Fiona McIntosh said: "We're absolutely thrilled — what we are really pleased about is the fact the award is for a combination of the design and the journalism. We have a very strong design team and the editor Jane Bruton needs to be credited."

She added: "It just seems to have touched a nerve. It was quite a risk doing this, as we were told at the beginning it couldn't be done."

GQ also had a good evening — it won subbing team of the year for work the judges felt showed "a true understanding of its target market" with "surprising headlines and pacey sales, polished and witty". Interviewer of the year was GQ features editor Alex Bilmes and in design the Condé Nast title won best consumer magazine (over 40k sales). Art director Paul Solomons was highly commended in the designer of the year category. In the journalism awards, B2B writers picked up three of the individual awards — in the face of some high-profile opposition. Columnist of the year went to Phil Peverley for Pulse — in a category that included Simon Kelner and Peter Wilby; news reporter of the year went to Helen Mooney from Health Service Journal; and the business reporter of the year went to Mark Leftly of Building.

In design, Contact magazine's Tan Panmar, was designer of the year. Panmar said Contact, a Redwood Publishing product for Royal Mail, didn't rely on use of stock images, but explored original photography and illustration. He said: "I think it signifies that customer publishing is not the poor relation of magazine design. This is recognition of the impact and creativity that is deployed in customer publishing, which is never normally recognised and appreciated."

The young designer of the year award went to Amar Hussain for his work on News International's second magazine launch, Inside Out. The judges said he was "a talent to watch". In the journalism awards, feature writer of the year went to Loaded's Jeff Maysh, for "taking a well-worn format and making it come alive". Maysh said the IPC title was "redefining lads' mags journalism", adding: "We're taking what James Brown started in 1994 and wrestling bears, going to fight in illegal Australian boxing matches — it's like boys' own adventures, and why not? IPC say to insure me costs them more than a racing car driver."

• The New Statesman is hoping to build on its print success by
relaunching the website newstatesman.com on 16 November. The
magazine said one of the website's aims will be to promote political,
social and environmental activism on a local, national and
international level, and there will be bloggers including "a blogosoap"
from an eco-village, a section dedicated to university campus politics,
and an ex-Playboy model agony aunt. Kampfner said of the redesigned
website: "It will be a combination of content of the magazine, plus it
will have its own contributions, columnists, bloggers and responses
from readers.

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