Explore Our National Magazine Awards Finalists

Award-winning and nominated stories by Clint Smith, Caitlin Dickerson, and more

An illustration for Bushra Seddique's article "I Smuggled My Laptop Past the Taliban So I Could Write This Story" (Sally Deng)

This is an edition of The Atlantic Daily, a newsletter that guides you through the biggest stories of the day, helps you discover new ideas, and recommends the best in culture. Sign up for it here.

Spend your weekend with a cup of warm coffee and our National Magazine Award–nominated articles.

But first, here are three new stories from The Atlantic.

Yesterday, the American Society of Magazine Editors announced the finalists for this year’s National Magazine Awards, and The Atlantic was recognized for a range of work. The magazine received nominations for five individual stories, as well as a nomination for the General Excellence award, a finalist place in the Best Digital Illustration category, and a win in the Best Print Illustration category. (Winners in other nominated categories will be announced in March.)

These nominations highlight a range of exceptional stories, including a rigorous yearslong investigation, two illuminating political profiles, and an unforgettable personal account of fleeing Afghanistan and leaving everything behind. Spend time with this collection of our finalists and winners over the weekend.

Your Weekend Reads

Illustration by Sally Deng

I Smuggled My Laptop Past the Taliban So I Could Write This Story

By Bushra Seddique

My escape from Afghanistan (Winner, Best Print Illustration, by Sally Deng)

The Betrayal

By George Packer

America’s chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan added moral injury to military failure. But a group of soldiers, veterans, and ordinary citizens came together to try to save Afghan lives and salvage some American honor. (Finalist, Reporting)

Monuments to the Unthinkable

By Clint Smith

America still can’t figure out how to memorialize the sins of our history. What can we learn from Germany? (Finalist, Columns and Essays)

We Need to Take Away Children

By Caitlin Dickerson

The secret history of the U.S. government’s family-separation policy (Finalist, Public Interest)

Absolute Power

By Graeme Wood

Asked about the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, Mohammed bin Salman said, “If that’s the way we did things, Khashoggi would not even be among the top 1,000 people on the list.” (Finalist, Profile Writing)

American Rasputin

By Jennifer Senior

Steve Bannon is still scheming. And he’s still a threat to democracy. (Finalist, Profile Writing)

They Called Her ‘Black Jet’

By Keisha N. Blain

Joetha Collier, a young Black woman, was killed by a white man in 1971, near the Mississippi town where Emmett Till was murdered. Why isn’t her case known nationally today? (Finalist, Best Digital Illustration, by Esiri Essi)

Today’s News

  1. The White House warned that Russia may be planning to give fighter jets to Iran.
  2. An independent analysis of EPA data collected in the weeks following the February 3 train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, found elevated levels of nine different air pollutants in the area.
  3. Hundreds of warm daily-temperature records were set this week across the eastern U.S., in addition to numerous cold-weather records in western states.


Explore all of our newsletters here.

Evening Read

Four couples and one single man sit on couches in an amphitheater.
James Clark / ABC

The Parent Test Stokes American Parenting’s Worst Impulses

By Lydia Kiesling

If you are an American parent, you are mired in contradiction wherever you look: Children are too coddled, a strident Facebook post might shout at you, right before you read an article about the dangers of letting kids go outside alone. It takes a village, you are told, but also, everyone hates it when you bring your toddler on a plane or into a restaurant. You read that modern American parenting is uniquely isolating and expensive, then watch in befuddlement while Congress lets the expanded child tax credit expire.

The Parent Test, a new reality-TV show on ABC, promises to throw confused parents a lifeline and identify “today’s most effective parenting style.” The show is hosted by Adolph Brown—a clinical psychologist, motivational speaker, and father of eight—and the actor Ali Wentworth, mother of two. It follows 12 families, each embodying a different style of parenting, and assesses each style for its likelihood of producing eventual adults who are “emotionally whole,” and able to have “healthy relationships” and “navigate today’s world.” Each family is filmed doing a series of parenting challenges, and the rest of the parents analyze the footage, voting one style out after every round. In the finale, the families choose one parenting style to rule them all. It’s American Gladiators gone domestic, set in a cozy amphitheater. But the battle metaphor ripples outward, painting a lonely picture of American parents fighting for their children’s success and safety in a dangerous world while everyone watches, judges, and weighs in.

Read the full article.

More From The Atlantic

Culture Break

Caroline Polachek performing
Matthew Baker / Getty

Read. These books can help you come to terms with death.

Watch. In theaters, Return to Seoul is a story of adoption and belonging that resists easy sentimentality.

On TV, Apple TV+’s Hello Tomorrow! is a show about mistaking hype for progress.

And there’s always Titanic, which feels different 25 years after its release.

Listen. Caroline Polachek’s new album, Desire, I Want to Turn Into You, is pure magic.


Our final recommendation for the weekend: Take a break from the screen and listen to audio versions of our articles. We’ve got a selection of stories now available in the Hark app, including my Daily colleague Tom Nichols’s exploration of the narcissism of some angry young men and Jennifer Senior’s etiquette guide for loved ones dealing with long COVID.

Whichever stories, movies, or books you choose to spend your weekend with, I hope you enjoy them.

— Isabel

Kelli María Korducki contributed to this newsletter.