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Hearst Awards a Towering Dud

Oct. 27 2008, Published 7:07 a.m. ET

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HEARST PRIDE Tower

Hearst's new Tower Awards may have been meant as a corporate morale-booster, but it was a major downer for the handful of top editors who went home empty-handed. Of its 17 full-fledged mags, only five Hearst titles—including Cosmopolitan, the company's most profitable book—failed to snag awards, which took the form of a crystal statuette in the shape of the Norman Foster-designed Hearst Tower. Better luck next year, Kate White!

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Three magazines won honors in multiple categories: perennial National Magazine Award favorites Esquire, O, The Oprah Magazine, and Marie Claire, which has struggled in its first year under new editor in chief Joanna Coles. Presumably the Cover of the Year award bestowed on Marie Claire's September issue was assessed purely on artistic merit, since the issue, with Maggie Gyllenhaal on the front, sold 36 percent fewer copies than the same one a year earlier.

But at least all of Hearst's underappreciated assistants got to enjoy a night of fancy food and wine in the tower's beautiful atrium, right? Actually, no: Each magazine only got 10 seats, meaning only senior staff could attend.

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