The Editor's Desk

If you've been reading this magazine for the past few years, you know what that figure to your right is. It's the Alexander Calder sculpture of an elephant that is given out to winners of the National Magazine Awards, the Oscars of the magazine world. Two years ago NEWSWEEK won the "Ellie" for General Excellence, the most coveted of all the awards, for the issues we did after 9/11. And last week we won the General Excellence prize again for our coverage of the Iraq war. This is what the judges said in their citation: "Drawing on a strong and recognized team of writers, editors and photographers, NEWSWEEK offered fact and context to help guide readers through the glut of unfolding news on the war in Iraq. In a challenging year, NEWSWEEK proves once again that a weekly newsmagazine can be an essential guide in navigating our fast-changing world."

At the awards luncheon where the prizes are given out, I told the crowd that we owed this latest honor to two types of courage displayed by my colleagues. First, the intellectual courage of our reporters and editors who asked tough questions about the war's pretexts and potential consequences before, during and after the fact. And second, the personal courage of Rod Nordland, Melinda Liu and our other reporters who covered the war on the ground and are still in Baghdad risking their lives. But our two big wins--and our 11 NMA nominations in the past three years--are also a credit to the creativity and hard work of everyone on our staff. Since 9/11, we've pushed harder than ever to break news, do in-depth investigations, offer provocative commentary and reinvigorate the design and photography in the magazine. Our goal has always been to serve our readers, but the awards are an awfully nice bonus.

In this week's cover story, Evan Thomas explores how Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld helped lay the groundwork for the Iraq prisoner scandal by creating a "command climate" at the Pentagon that discouraged bearers of bad news. And we serve up two scoops: on the arrest of a U.S. lawyer in connection with the Madrid train bombings (first reported by Michael Isikoff on our Web site), and Charles Gasparino's exclusive interview with former New York Stock Exchange chairman Richard Grasso in which he vows to go down fighting to keep his huge pay package. Fact and context, as the Ellie judges put it. It's what we're committed to bringing you every week.

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The Editor's Desk | News