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The American Society of Magazine Editors has announced the 2011 finalists for The National Magazine Awards for Digital Media. The Ellies, as they are known because of the Alexander Calder stabile "Elephant" given to winners, award excellence in categories such as design, the mobile edition, the multimedia package, podcasting and online department in digital media.

In only its second year, this year’s finalists span 12 categories (general excellence in digital media; service and lifestyle; mobile edition; design, digital media; photography, digital media; news reporting; online department; blogging; multimedia package; interactive tool; podcasting; and video) and include 39 titles and 9 online-only publications.

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Real Simple's No Time To Cook? app for iPhone, iPad and Android is among the finalists for Interactive Tool.

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National Geographic's Online Department was nominated for “Your Shot,” an online initiative that allowed users to submit original photos.

The finalists mostly include well-known magazines – in all their digitals forms, such as Vogue, The New Yorker and The Daily Beast. However, the list also includes a few lesser-known sites, such as Tablet, Reason and Chow, which are featured for more progressive formats like multimedia and podcasting.

The Future of Digital Media Provides Incentives

As publishers become more familiar with and less fearful of digital platforms such as tablets and smartphones, the Ellies lend legitimacy and prestige to digital media production. Magazines have long been a part of American culture; as reader behaviors evolved from print to web to mobile platforms, traditional publishing houses have had to adapt and experiment, while suffering economic setbacks.

While it’s taken some longer to venture into advanced platforms, with awards like the Ellies, publishers have added incentive not only to evolve their publications for digital media, but to make sure they are well-designed and executed.