March 24, 2010 — The inaugural National Magazine Awards for Digital Media were announced March 18 in New York City, and Virginia Quarterly Review picked up the award in the News Reporting category for Jason Motlagh's "Sixty Hours of Terror," a blow-by-blow account of the November 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.
VQR topped finalists from such well-known publications in online versions as Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Mother Jones, Slate and Time.
Motlagh is a 2004 U.Va. alumnus of the College of Arts & Sciences and multimedia journalist who covers conflicts around South Asia. He is a regular contributor to Time, The Economist and Frontline/World. Much of his reporting has focused on Afghanistan, where he recently co-produced a documentary on the return of the warlords there for Al-Jazeera English.
Another long-term project, sponsored by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, explores the impact of civilian casualties on counter-insurgency efforts there. Previous Pulitzer Center-funded work on the rise of Maoist guerillas in backcountry India was featured on the PBS program "Foreign Exchange" and in the pages of VQR.
The award is VQR's fourth National Magazine Award from among 18 nominations in the past six years. The awards are known in the trade as the "Ellies," thanks to the Alexander Calder stylized-elephant trophy; this is the first year "Digital Ellies" were awarded for online publications.
The winners of the more traditional print Ellies will be announced April 22 in New York. VQR is a finalist for awards in photojournalism and in fiction.