National Geographic Wins National Magazine Award, Named Pulitzer Finalist

National Geographic earned one of journalism’s most prestigious honors this week, winning a National Magazine Award. Less than 24 hours later, it was named a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.

The National Magazine Awards, commonly known as the Ellies for the elephant-shaped statue given to the winners, are presented annually by the American Society of Magazine Editors. The 2021 awards were announced during a livestreamed ceremony on June 10.

National Geographic won the Ellie for Design, earning recognition for its special April, July, and November 2020 issues, along with a diverse selection of digital stories. This was National Geographic’s first win for overall Design after taking top honors in the Feature Design category a year ago. The magazine was nominated for four Ellies in total.  

Design touches every aspect of our content, and is a key tool in drawing readers into our stories and keeping them there. This victory represents a truly significant achievement by Creative Director Emmet Smith, Design Director Marianne Seregi, and the entire team.

Susan Goldberg, the Editor-in-Chief of National Geographic and Editorial Director of National Geographic Partners

Additionally, National Geographic was named a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Breaking News Photography. The recognition was given for a memorable image captured by Indonesian photographer Joshua Irwandi, who is a National Geographic Explorer and National Geographic Society grantee. His photograph portrays the body of a suspected COVID-19 victim wrapped in plastic in an Indonesian hospital.

Originally published in July 2020, the photograph drew widespread attention in Indonesia and was later featured in National Geographic’s special Year in Pictures issue. It also was included among TIME’s Top 100 Photographs of 2020.

Josh’s brave photo reminds us of the power of a single photographic image. Congratulations to Josh and to Whitney Johnson and the entire photography team that she leads.

Susan Goldberg

This is the third time in five years that National Geographic has been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.