UPDATE: Visit the nominees and winners of the 2009 Utne Independent Press Awards.
Since 1989, Utne Reader has recognized excellence in alternative and independent publishing through its Alternative Press Awards. This year’s winners are featured in the January/February 2000 issue.
“Our editors select the winning publications through our extensive reading process and careful examination, rather than entry forms and fees,” said Cathy Madison, Utne Reader editor. “It is through this recognition that Utne Reader is able to honor the efforts of small, sometimes unnoticed publications that provide innovative, thought-provoking perspectives often ignored by mass media.”
General Excellence (Magazines): The Oxford American, Oxford, MS. Combining fiction, essays, and poetry with often provocative journalism, this bimonthly is the most intelligent voice on Southern life published in America today. (Marc Smirnoff, editor, 601/236-1836)
General Excellence (Newsweeklies): L.A.Weekly, Los Angeles, CA. Consistently delving deeper than most urban tabloids, L.A. Weekly mixes gritty local reporting with great art and cultural coverage, making it the perfect paper of record for a city as creative (and libidinous) as it is diverse. (Sue Horton, editor, 323/465-9909)
General Excellence (Newsletters): The Green Guide, New York, NY. A repeat winner from last year, this monthly continues to offer a brand of impassioned practicality that transforms nebulous environmental concern into a hope-driven, how-to guide for ecologically impeccable living. (Mindy Pennybacker, editor, 212/242-0010)
Best New Title: McSweeney’s, Brooklyn, NY. Looking for offbeat originality, wit, and verve? You’ll find it in McSweeney’s, one of the funniest (and quirkiest) literary journals anywhere left of Brooklyn. (David Eggers, editor, 718/788-4912)
Reporting Excellence: Mother Jones, San Francisco, CA. After raising hell with its investigative reporting for 25 years, this bimonthly remains a living–and lively– tribute to its rabble-rousing, union-organizing namesake. (Roger Cohn, editor, 800/438-6656)
Writing Excellence: The American Scholar, Washington, DC. Providing thoughtful commentary without academic cant, this quarterly hits perfect pitch with its carefully crafted essays, short memoirs, and criticism. (Anne Fadiman, editor, 202/265-3808)
Spiritual Coverage: re:generation quarterly, Cambridge, MA. Re:generation quarterly offers its readers a thoughtful, open-minded source of cultural criticism, much of it sharing a basic belief that Christian communities “in many forms” can be engines of positive change. (Andy Crouch, editor, 617/868-3659)
Personal Life Coverage: Designer/Builder, Sante Fe, NM. If you’re interested in the nuts and bolts of building a better school, or turning a moth-balled missile silo into a dream home, this monthly is a fascinating blueprint for a more constructive life. (Jerilou Hammett, editor, 505/471-4549)
Cultural Coverage: Gadfly, Charlottesville, VA. From James Dean to the I Ching and every hip roadside stop in between, Gadfly’s stupendous eclecticism makes this glossy bimonthly second only to the Library of Congress as a warehouse of American pop culture–and number one when it comes to fun reading. (Jayson R. Whitehead, editor, 804/975-1652)
Art and Design Excellence: Hopscotch, Durham, NC. Achieving a contemporary look with compelling black-and-white photos and graphics, Hopscotch, a Hispanic culture review from Amherst College, pairs imagery and text with a grace rarely seen even in big-budget ventures, let alone in scholarly journals. (Ilan Stavans, editor, 413/542-8201)
Political and Social Issues: The American Prospect, Boston, MA. A bimonthly that lifts political writing out of the mire of Washington gossip and scandal, The American Prospect offers instead a practical vision of public life and policy shaped by “the liberal imagination.” (Robert Kuttner and Paul Starr, coeditors, 617/547-2950)
Science and the Environment: The Sciences, New York, NY. Renowned for its lucid essays and gorgeous art, The Sciences, published bimonthly by the New York Academy of Sciences, is one of the few places where the scientific mind can be found thinking aloud with writerly grace. (Peter Brown, editor, 212/838-6727)
International Coverage: Transition, Cambridge, MA. Transition is a compelling quarterly collection of tough-minded yet beautifully written perspectives on international culture, shaped in part by an editorial board that includes Toni Morrison, bell hooks, Derek Walcott, and Cornel West. (Wole Soyinka, editorial chairman, 617/496-2847)
NOTE: Posters available announcing all winners and displaying covers from each publication.
Utne Reader is the nation’s leading digest of alternative ideas. Launched in 1984, the bimonthly magazine has a circulation of 225,000 and has been nominated three times for the National Magazine Award for General Excellence. Café Utne (www.utne.com) is one of the nation’s most active online discussion communities.