I spent the last part of yesterday attending the Henry R. Luce Awards–the annual bestowal of prizes for the best work that comes out of my company, Time Inc.
I walked downstairs to the Time & Life Building’s 8th floor auditorium reluctantly, feeling that I hardly had time for two hours of hobnobbing with colleagues or celebrating an industry under fierce pressure to stay profitable.
Well, I left totally jazzed. If you don’t mind a little inside baseball for a Friday afternoon, I’d like to share with you…There were 12 awards given out, and Fortune copped three.
My colleague Peter Elkind won Best Reporting for “The Trouble with Steve Jobs.” This story is great not just because Peter broke big news on the Apple boss’s health problems. It’s also a classic profile of a complex and controversial iconic leader.
Competing against 120-plus other publications in the Time Inc. stable, Fortune won Magazine of the Year–tying with Time. John Huey, Time Inc.’s editor in chief (who used to run Fortune) said that the committee of six judges, all renowned journalists, couldn’t decide on one winner. Nice to see the two guys who have breathed new life into Fortune and Time, Andy Serwer and Rick Stengel, get their credit.
The Briton Hadden Lifetime Achievement Award–which my colleague Carol Loomis has won already–went to Ed Lewis, the founder of Essence. Accepting the award, he told the crowd–including friends Bill Cosby and former Time Warner CEO Dick Parsons, now chairman of Citigroup –that he could not believe the shift he’s seeing right now in America. “None of us ever thought in our lifetimes that we’d see an African-American President,” Lewis said. He went to Washington, D.C. for the Inauguration, he noted, “not for the parties,” but just to see Obama put his hand on the Bible.
Times are tough. But you know, progress can come when and where you least expect it.
P.S. The Luce Award for Story of the Year went to Sports Illustrated for “2 on 5,” a December 2008 chronicle of an astonishing night in 1992 for a small Alabama high school basketball team. I missed the story but plan to read it this weekend. Have a good one!