It uses the same methodology as in my Best Literary Journal Rankings. It uses the Best American series, specifically the Best American Essay series, to compile a number of how many times each magazine or journal gets published or a Special Mention, then tallies all these points up to determine the top markets for nonfiction and essays.
This is not meant as a list of the absolute best magazines, newspapers, and journals, but more of a research tool to help you find quality markets. Sometimes the markets we think are the best are actually middling, and there are a few of huge surprises in this list — journals and magazines that weren’t even on my radar, but rack up a huge number of prestigious awards!
Since this is a ranking, I list the journals that won the most awards at the top, and go on down until we reach the dozens of journals that got only a single Special Mention.
I think this is the most comprehensive list out there on places to publish your nonfiction and essays, with literally hundreds of markets ranked according to the number of prizes won.
My advice is not to start at the top and work your way down, but to choose the journal that publishes the type of essay or nonfiction you’ve read, and try to find one that publishes authors in your career stage (if you’ve never published, don’t go for the New Yorker).
Happy reading, Happy researching, and Happy Submitting!