Magazine wins for best feature story, special issue and cover design at two awards shows

Variety was a triple winner Friday at the Western Publishing Association’s 63rd annual Maggie Awards, including Most Improved Publication.

The Maggies, which honor excellence in magazines in the Western U.S., also honored Variety in the categories of Best Feature Article (for a consumer publication with a circulation under 75,000) for a profile of director Alfonso Cuaron published last September and Annuals & One-Time Custom Publications/Trade for its January 2013 special issue on violence and entertainment.

Accepting Variety‘s award for Most Improved Publication among both consumer and trade titles, senior VP Tim Gray saluted the staff’s tireless work during the period in which Variety reinvented both its weekly magazine and website since being acquired by Penske Media Corporation in October 2012.

Addressing the crowd at at the Sheraton Gateway Los Angeles Hotel, Gray singled out PMC CEO Jay Penske, publisher Michelle Sobrino-Stearns and editors-in-chief Claudia Eller, Cynthia Littleton and Andrew Wallenstein, adding, “I’ve been at Variety 33 years, but I continue to learn from these people every day.”

Gray also accepted the award for the January 2013 special issue on violence, which he edited. He said the award belongs to the entire Variety staff, who worked hard to pull together the ambitious issue in the month after the Sandy Hook shootings.

David Cohen and Dave McNary were on hand to accept the award for their Cuaron profile. Both thanked their wives and co-workers, with Cohen adding a tip of the hat “to everybody who does what we do.”

The evening ceremony was preceded by an afternoon session in which Wallenstein, editor-in-chief of digital at Variety, gave an in-depth look at how the publication revitalized itself in print and online since its acquisition by PMC. Watch the presentation in its entirety in the video above.

Across the country that same night in New York City, Variety’s design team received a silver medal in the cover illustration category at the Society of Publication Design’s 49th annual gala. Variety’s September cover “Chinawood” finished second behind the New Yorker’s July cover “Bert and Ernie Celebrate Gay Marriage.”

“It was an absolute honor to be mentioned in the same breathe as publications like the New Yorker, New York magazine, Fortune, National Geographic and GQ. To win, it’s a testament to Variety’s commitment to powerful visual storytelling,” said Chris Mihal, creative director at Variety.

In addition to the silver medal, Variety also received four merit awards that were previously announced: for Dan Winters’ Oscar Portrait Gallery, a Nicole Kidman portrait by Rene and Radka, as well as for covers “Hecho en USA!” and “The Hard Sell.”

The SPD competition recognizes the highest examples of design, photography and illustration excellence in both print and digital platforms.

The awards come on the heels of Variety‘s nomination for Best News Site at the upcoming Webby Awards, putting the brand in competition with publications including the New York Times, the Guardian, Wired and Rolling Stone.

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