PHOENIX--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Society of American Business Editors and Writers (SABEW) has announced honorees in its 19th Best in Business competition, which honors excellence in business journalism across all news platforms.
The 150 honored works represent all corners of financial news, from the Albany (NY) Business Review to Fortune magazine and National Public Radio, from CNBC to the Atlanta Journal Constitution and The Wall Street Journal.
Bloomberg News and its related media outlets, including Bloomberg Markets, Bloomberg BusinessWeek and Bloomberg TV, led with 13 honors; The New York Times had eight, Reuters had seven, American Banker had six, and the Los Angeles Times and ProPublica had five each.
"We congratulate the winners, and more broadly, contest entrants, for submissions that really highlighted the strength of American business reporting. With so many strong entries, picking a winner was a tough proposition for many judges," said Kevin G. Hall, SABEW president and chief economics correspondent for McClatchy Newspapers.
For the first time, the contest singled out a winner in each category. “Based on feedback from members, we altered the contest this year to reduce the number of finalists in favor of a single winner in most categories,” Hall said. “This represents a big change for the organization, and we intend to engage the membership to determine whether we should continue down this road or modify the contest further.” The judges also chose to name one or two finalists in many categories, as warranted by the quality of entries.
Awards will be presented during ceremonies Saturday, March 29, at the Sheraton Phoenix Hotel, the closing event of SABEW’s 51th annual conference. The conference will be March 27-29 at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University in downtown Phoenix, and features headliners author Michael Lewis, Quartz editor-in-chief Kevin Delaney, and GoDaddy founder Bob Parsons.
More than 200 working journalists and academics served as judges, sifting through a record 1,123 entries from 181 news outlets across 72 categories. "I'd like to extend a special thank-you to all our volunteer judges, who gave hundreds of hours of their time to make this the best and highest-quality contest it could be,” said Joanna Ossinger of Bloomberg News, who served as judging coordinator. “We couldn't have done it without them.”
The honored work reflected the challenges as well as the progress in the world economy in 2013. A sampling of winners included ProPublica’s investigation into continued problems in the payday lending industry, and GlobalPost’s series on the emergence of the newly democratic Myanmar, where child labor remains a critical issue. Several publications earned recognition for “why it happened reporting,” from the Detroit Free Press series on why Detroit went broke to the Globe and Mail’s examination of corporate and government oversight failures that led to the derailment of an oil train and resulting fire that killed 47 in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec.
Judges were delighted by the innovation in some entries, such as NPR’s video from its Planet Money program on how the world produces T-shirts. Paul Edward Parker of the Providence Journal penned a winning piece on how technology has changed all our lives, and The New York Times graphics staff earned high praise for its complex and informative graphics collection. And CNBC made judges smile with its series, “Death: It’s a Living,” which featured stories on a raffle for a free cremation at a senior event, and a woman demanding no obstructions in the view from her final resting place.
A dominant theme for honorees was health care. The Orange County Register and Money magazine explained how the Affordable Care Act will change the lives of Americans, while the Charlotte Observer looked at the ACA’s impact on small business, and National Public Radio won for its ongoing coverage of the flawed healthcare.gov website. Publications also shone a light on the healthcare industry itself, with the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel winning for a series on delays in processing screening tests for newborns, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review into high pay for executives in organ procurement industry, and USA TODAY for bogus pills in the nutritional supplement industry.
The school shooting tragedy in Newtown, Conn., continued to rattle the business world, from the Albany’s Business Review profile of nervous workers at Remington in Ilion, N.Y., where the AR-15 military assault rifle used in the shooting was manufactured. New York has passed tough gun-control laws in the wake of Newtown. The Hartford Courant also chronicled the rise of the AR-15. Rob Cox of Reuters BreakingViews and Paul Barrett of Bloomberg BusinessWeek earned honors for their commentary on the issue.
Corporate coverage continued to explain why things happen. The Globe and Mail explored BlackBerry’s fall from its once must-have status, and Fortune magazine peered inside Amazon’s hard-nosed tactics to avoid having its customers pay state taxes.
A new category for 2013, Social Media, saluted the efforts of The New York Times and Bankrate to communicate across Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social sites.
In a category for student journalists, Caitlin McCabe of the University of North Carolina won for a story on backlogged unemployment benefits during her internship at the Charlotte Observer. Chad Garland and Andrew Knochel of Arizona State University won for an examination of how con men prey on military veterans that was part of a larger News21 project.
SABEW has announced a limited scholarship program for BIB winners and other parties interested in attending the March 27-29 conference. Details are available at www.sabew.org.