This year’s National Magazine Award nominations in the features, multimedia, reporting and essay/criticism categories cover conflict, immigration, violence, grief, the abortion wars and more, from a host of talented journalists representing a range of publications. The American Society of Magazine Editors will announce the winners on May 1, in New York. Read the full list of finalists here, and have a look below at the honorees in four key categories that honor exceptional reporting and storytelling.
First the cattle are weighed. Then they are guided into narrow outdoor pens angled diagonally toward the entrance to the kill floor. A veterinarian arrives before our shift and begins to inspect them; she looks for open wounds, problems walking, signs of disease. When their time comes, the cattle will be urged by workers toward the curving ramp that leads up into the building. The ramp has a roof and no sharp turns. It was designed by the livestock expert Temple Grandin, and the curves and penumbral light are believed to soothe the animals in their final moments. But the soothing goes only so far.
Indeed, by midafternoon, the flames had reached the doorsteps of the outer line of houses in Peeples Valley. But none of them would burn. At approximately 3:50 P.M., the wind began to shift. The thunderstorm stopped sucking in air and started blowing it out. The vacuum was now a leaf blower. Truman compares the way the fire bellowed to a volcanic eruption—a storm within a storm that was suddenly pivoting and heading straight toward Yarnell.
Sebastian Prevot watched helplessly as three police officers advanced on his wife. Prevot was handcuffed and bleeding in the back of a cop car. Half of his left ear dangled where it had been torn from his head. The Houston Police Department doesn’t deny that its officers gave Prevot these injuries during a late-night arrest in January 2012. The only dispute is whether he earned them.
All of the Tsarnaev children went to Rindge, as the school is known, but it was Jahar who assimilated best. Though he’d arrived in America speaking virtually no English, by high school he was fluent, with only a trace of an accent, and he was also fluent in the local patois. (Among his favorite words, his friends say, was “sherm,” Cambridge slang for “slacker.”) Jahar, or “Jizz,” as his friends also called him, wore grungy Pumas, had a great three-point shot and became a dedicated pot smoker – something a number of Cambridge teens tell me is relatively standard in their permissive community, where you can score weed in the high school bathrooms and smoke on the street without much of a problem. A diligent student, he was nominated to the National Honor Society in his sophomore year, which was also when he joined the wrestling team. “He was one of those kids who’s just a natural,” says Payack, his coach, who recalls Jahar as a supportive teammate who endured grueling workouts and runs without a single complaint. In his junior year, the team made him a captain. By then, everyone knew him as ‘Jahar,’ which his teammates would scream at matches to ensure the refs would never mispronounce his name.
“The River Martyrs,” by Luke Mogelson, The New Yorker, about Aleppo, and the bodies washing up in the River Queiq:
The corpse, a middle-aged man shot through the neck and head, lay on a plastic grain sack, still wet. Two young men grabbed the edges of the sack and lowered him to the ground. He gave off a sharp smell of sodden carrion; flies buzzed around his wounds. From the street, a child wearing the signature headband of the Free Syrian Army, the F.S.A., which encompasses the majority of rebel groups fighting the Syrian government, watched through the bars of the fence. Apathetic old men stopped, stared, pulled their sweaters up over their noses. When a lanky, bearded man wearing black boots, black nylon pants, and a black pleather jacket appeared, the crowd deferentially made way. The man, Hisham, buried the first victims here after the massacre in January, and had subsequently made it his job to attend to some of the war’s unidentified dead. Officially, he is the head of the Office of the River Martyrs, which consists of Hisham and one helper, a defector from the Syrian Army who goes by the name Derawi. They work out of an abandoned kindergarten a few blocks away.