20 ‘best-in-class’ magazines named

Downsized editorial and art staffs are more than pulling their weight to keep standards high, if one uses ASBPE’s Magazine of the Year finalists as a gauge.

Taking a cue from the Internet, print publications vying for the top prize also used more interactive and visual techniques to engage readers in 2008.

Visual engagement techniques, whether puzzles, charts, polls, or surveys, were one element that set the top 20 finalists apart from the rest, according to one judge.

“Winning entries made room and time for art to capture and lead the reader… ,” he said. Moreover, “most magazines that were winners were not only designed and written well — they breathed, and took pauses within their pages… . ”

However, sensitivity to the changing needs of an audience is always a most critical factor, said another judge. In 2008, that changing need was the new economic environment most industries found themselves in.

“The best magazines find ways to bridge the gap between the ‘real world’ of the general economy and the specific environment of the business publications,” the judge said.

Despite a lagging economy that has reduced editorial staff size and magazine page counts, Magazine of the Year finalists “are not letting [readers] feel the pinch,” another judge said. She pointed to the “well-written content and research that pulls readers into articles that are complemented with valuable, useful, and frequently resourceful graphics, pull-quotes, sidebars, typography, and other tools of our trade.

“It takes extra effort on the part of a growing trend of shrinking editorial/art staffs to provide timely solutions with how-to information that helps readers become more profitable and efficient in their areas of expertise. This year’s group of ASBPE winners are truly remarkable representatives of the best in our business!” she said.

Judging

The Magazine of the Year Award is the top honor in the B2B market because of the criteria and submission requirements.

Eleven judges examined publications for:

  • excellence in writing, reporting, and
    editing;
  • editorial organization;
  • layout and design;
  • value to readers; and
  • interaction with readers.

Three consecutive issues of a publication must be entered to measure consistent quality over time.

Azbee Awards Banquet

Along with finalists for the Magazine of the Year (see list below), awards will be presented to the top publications in 45 other print categories during the 31st Azbee Awards of Excellence banquet Thursday, July 16, at the Washington Marriott Hotel in Washington, D.C., starting at 6:00 p.m.

On the following Friday morning, the editors of the two Magazines of the Year will present case studies to the attendees of ASBPE’s National Editorial Conference.

Separate 2009 Digital Azbee call for entries will be announced at the banquet.

Top 10 MOY under 80K circulation

Architect
Associations Now
Automotive News
Chain Leader
Control
Exhibitor
Health Leaders
Information
Security
Oregon Business
The Scientist

Top 10 MOY over 80K circulation

American Medical News
CFO
Computerworld
Fortune
Small Business
IEEE Spectrum
Lawn & Landscape
Macworld
PC World
Professional Builder
R&I

Download conference brochure (768K PDF).