D CEO, Crain’s Chicago among AAPB winners
The Alliance of Area Business Publishers presented its Editorial Excellence awards to newspaper and magazine business periodicals on Saturday, the climax of its three-day annual Summer Conference in Charlotte.
BEST IN SHOW
Most improved publication:
Greater Baton Rouge Business Report, Hoa Vu, art director
The Greater Baton Rouge Business Report has long been an attractive publication, but a recent renovation has taken it to a new level. In addition to reducing the overall size to more manageable dimensions, the updated version has streamlined its cover, simplified the design on inside pages, modernized page headers and incorporated more dramatic visuals. Judges commented on the bolder use of explanatory graphics, as well as better developed packages. One case in point is a piece on the struggling dairy industry, which is covered from a number of angles and is effectively enhanced with charts and photographs. From front to back, the magazine has made substantial improvements with the reader in mind.
Crain’s Detroit Business
Almost everything about Crain’s Detroit Business shows the staff is focused on being web first. The site’s responsive design makes the transition from desktop to mobile nearly seamless to the user. In-depth reporting seen in “Detroit Rink City” demonstrates a commitment to creating engaging, meaningful web content. The “American Dreamers” section reflects the diversity and personal side of Detroit’s business community.
D CEO, Glenn Hunter, Christine Perez, Hilary Lau, Matt Goodman, Hamilton Hedrick
This is a magazine with a distinct personality and a sophisticated design. It is clear that D CEO knows its audience and it serves that audience with well-edited columns, targeted stories, and a visually stimulating approach to content. Feature stories and departments alike show a dedication to variety and quality.
Best newspaper, small tabloid:
Daily Herald Business Ledger, Kim Mikus, Rich Klicki, Tim Broderick, Rick Kirby
The judges were especially impressed with the extensive coverage the Daily Herald Business Ledger provides for the many suburban areas within the greater Chicago area. Despite the considerable geography, the publication keeps a close watch on each of the zones with news and news features, profiles, analysis and commentary. In addition, common issues are identified and addressed; one notable example is “The future of Internet taxes on Illinois companies.” The Business Ledger also celebrates successes and finds subjects whose
achievements are often hard-won. The publication clearly makes wise use of its resources and is an asset to its readers.
Best newspaper, large tabloid:
Crain’s Chicago Business, Staff
This publication grabs readers’ attention with compelling covers and then draws them inside. This year’s entries were showstoppers — the millennial package was stellar, as was “Agents of Change.” The front of the book section is strong with briefs from a variety of news sources. The typography and colors used enhance reader navigation and understanding of the content. The writing is authoritative, well edited and packed with can’t-miss business coverage.
Best magazine cover:
Twin Cities Business, “The Birth of an Industrial Revolution,” Business Staff
Twin Cities producd a winning combination of concept and execution. The expertly drawn illustration places us inside a 3-D printer, which is giving birth to an industrial revolution. This works at first glance. It works even better if you stay long enough to see the second-level message.
Best magazine feature layout:
D CEO, “White Knights with Calculators,” Hamilton Hedrick
These gorgeous high-contrast portraits are particularly well paired alongside each other to great visual effect. The typography is sophisticated and attractive, with a lovely restraint. The small diagonal lines connecting the blocks of type offer just enough flourish. It’s a layout that looks simple but really isn’t.
Best magazine use of photography/illustrations:
D CEO, Hamilton Hedrick
D CEO presents a strong mix of serious and light-hearted packages. They do a great job of conceptualizing and thoughtfully executing their visuals, particularly with the portraits. They nail the themes and carry them through the story, examples being “Rising Stars of Oil and Gas” and “White Knights with Calculators.” They counter the serious with humorous portraits of Suzy Batiz on the toilet and Younger Partners flying on a bike.
Best magazine design:
Baton Rouge Business Report, Hoa Vu, Carolyn Blakley
Overall, readers of this publication are treated to an appealing variety of visual approaches; yet the design maintains a consistent feel throughout with clean typography, good opening pages, and clear navigation. Individual design elements are well tuned to work on non-glossy paper stock. Feature layouts are eye-catching, such as the “Uber Invasion” story. “Best Places to Work” feature was another standout.
Best magazine feature:
Baton Rouge Business Report, “We’re not ready,” David Jacobs
It’s rare that the collapse of a multi-billion-dollar development plan causes a collective sigh of relief rather than dismay. This explanatory feature details the many and serious ways in which a Louisiana Parish was unprepared to cope with the demands of a massive proposed oil and gas extraction project. From roads to workers, everything was in short supply and uncertain availability. This report can serve as both a reconstruction and an early warning.
Best magazine profile:
D CEO, “Jeff Blackard is on a mission,” Christine Perez
This profile of CEO Jeff Blackard is an incredibly personal and amazingly detailed portrait of the Dallas real estate developer. With deep reporting and deft writing, the story goes well beneath the surface to reveal the personal values and business aspirations that make Blackard tick.
Best magazine body of work, single writer:
Business North Carolina, Edward Martin
With literary flair infused with hard-nosed reportage, Martin consistently creates compelling business journalism for the audience of Business North Carolina. Whether writing about legislative threats to supporting the state’s film industry, coal hurting the environment and Duke Energy, erosion of the shoreline or the state’s poorest county, Martin buttresses his stories with compelling interviews that transcend quotes taken simply from “talking heads.”
Best newspaper front page:
Crain’s Chicago Business, “Measuring the Mayor,” Thomas Linden, Jason McGregor, Greg Hinz, Thomas Corfman
This cover sets a tone of seriousness with the dominant image. The staff picked the right photograph of the subject and then added the numbers in the background with the soft gray color to make the photo illustration. Reverse type is often difficult to read but not here; it’s handled appropriately. All caps are used for emphasis and to create clean lines with the text and seven layers or levels of type on this first page. This is a complex package that reads with wonderful simplicity.
Best newspaper feature layout:
Crain’s Chicago Business, “The Millennials: Educated. Motivated. Screwed?” Thomas Linden, Jason McGregor, Steve Serio
The screw, the dark background, the excellent portraiture all help paint a dark picture. The design fit the topic so well. The design is cutting edge. The content is easy to scan and easy to read. The bullet points are a great addition for each person. The photography was excellent and couldn’t have been done without the cohesive vision in the execution of the portraits. The photographer used great technique to keep the photography consistent. Nice use of shallow depth of field helps keep the theme. The lighting is used is a somewhat raw manner that gives the location some context but doesn’t overwhelm.
Best newspaper use of photograph/illustration:
Crain’s Chicago Business, Thomas Linden, Jason McGregor, Karen Freese
The editors exhibit personality, take risks and strive for bold statements. The book features excellent portraiture. The Vaccine Divide is reinforced by the split use of pictures. Overall the book features well-executed photography.
Best overall design, small tabloids:
San Fernando Valley Business Journal, Sally Jones, Laurence Darmiento
The pacing makes this an enjoyable read from cover to cover. The content and presentation moves along with a mix of quick reads and longer stories that encourages engagement and avoids monotony. The typography is fine tuned from top to bottom: evident in the care and consistency in spacing, use of efficient use of bold face in text and subheads, and attention to detail in the listings. The book is punctuated with a good ratio of visuals to text. Of particular note are the year in review in pictures, Retail Redux and the 2014 Timeline.
Best overall design, large tabloids:
Crain’s Chicago Business, Thomas Linden, J McGregor, Karen Freese
Crain’s Chicago hits on all cylinders—photography, typography, graphics and pacing. Design expertise is evident in special packages, such as The Millennials and 40 Under 40. Every issue offers multiple visual delights for readers.
Best newspaper feature:
Crain’s Chicago Business, “Back from the Brink,” Meribah Knight
Sometimes saving a company means making tough decisions that can prove devastating to local communities. The writer shows the complexity of the decision-making process and the human being behind those choices. The strong narrative provides a compelling behind-the-scenes look at the process and the impact.
Best newspaper profile:
NJBiz, “Pro Newark,” Joshua Burd, writer
Burd does a good job of showing the reader the caring nature of the subject. The anecdotes give a sense of why he believes it is important to invest in the inner city. In the end, the reader learns that its not just about monetary investment, but also time, effort and dedication to a cause.
Best print scoop, small tabloids:
San Fernando Valley Business Journal, “Alfred Mann selling off valley-area business parks,” Elliot Golan, reporter
Billionaire Alfred Mann casts a long shadow over the San Fernando Valley. So when Golan learned that Mann was selling off two significant properties, he jumped on the story. He got the reluctant company to confirm the properties were on the market – months before the competition.
Best print scoop, large tabloids:
Crain’s Chicago Business, “Poor Families Use Supervouchers,” Alby Gallun, writer
Gallun blew the lid off a Chicago Housing Authority voucher program that put low-income residents in some of the swankiest apartments in the city, some with rents approaching $3,000 per month. Gallun’s reporting, which was careful not to demonize the poor, sparked a federal investigation and forced the housing authority to discontinue the practice. This is reporting that made a real difference.
Best coverage of local breaking news:
Crain’s Detroit Business, “Detroit Rink City,” Staff
Impressive staff coverage of a proposal to replace an ice hockey arena and remake several downtown neighborhoods. The reporting goes deep into the project details and shows how the nearby neighborhoods could change. Strong use of interactives, including a video flyover, to help show the changes.
Best body of work, single reporter:
Crain’s New York Business, Aaron Elstein, writer
Great story telling by a reporter who finds the perfect details. Elstein also excels at helping readers understand the larger points and paint a telling picture of those impacted. He also uses drama, as he did in the story of a corporate divorce, and enhances his storytelling by noticing and reporting unusual facts that put us in the moment of the narrative. Great writer with a wonderful eye for stories that impact many people and interest us all.
Best byline commentary:
Crain’s Detroit Business, “The Battle Against Blight in Pontiac Begins with One House,” Kirk Pinho
Personal in tone and vantage point, Kirk Pinho’s column details a critical news issue for not only the city of Pontiac but also the entire region of the so-called “Rust Belt.” He weaves his own story into the bigger story of urban blight and backs his viewpoint with evidence of statistics and solid reportage.
Indianapolis Business Journal, “Public deserves full disclosure,” Ann Finch, editor
The writer makes a logical argument for transparency. Taxpayers should know whether they are getting a good deal and this publication demanded more details from city leaders. The editorial contains good examples on how the city can save money. The writing is excellent.
Best recurring feature:
Business North Carolina, “Picture This,” David Kinney, editor in chief, Chris Keane, photographer, Bryan Regan, photographer, Spencer Campbell, editor, Leah Hughes, writer
From the captivating photography to the equally engaging text, readers are invited to take a deep dive into a new world with each edition. “Picture This” vividly shines its spotlight on an unpredictable range of businesses.
Best investigative reporting:
Baton Rouge Business Report, “Shifting Foundations,” Stephanie Riegel
It’s hard to imagine an institution closer to the hearts or deeper in the wallets of Louisianans than their state university. Those connections give relevance and power to this portrayal of the unstable and unsavory leadership of the nonprofit foundations charged with raising millions in gifts to underwrite the Tigers on and off the playing fields. The writing pulls no punches. Descriptive terms include “institutional arrogance” and “dysfunctional.” The reporting supports the word choices.
Best explanatory reporting:
Crain’s Chicago Business, “Chicago 2.0,” Ryan Ori, John Pletz
This package of stories and interactives smartly shows how tech firms are making their mark on the city’s real estate market. One sidebar delves into the unique needs of startups. Nice use of a slideshow and map of properties to give readers more in-depth information.
Best local coverage of a national business/economic story:
Crain’s New York Business, “Supersorm Sandy: Two Years Later,” Joe Anuta, Thornton McEnery, Cara Trager, Erik Ipsen, Jeremy Smerd
What new could be reported about Super Storm Sandy? Crain’s proved that follow up is as important as game day coverage. Extensive reporting uncovered a number of failures and painted a disappointing picture of how local government had let citizens down during the recovery. Deep and impressive reporting told the narrative through numbers and people. This story was packed with information but none of it was overwhelming.
Crain’s Detroit Business, Bob Allen, Gary Piatek
Crain’s Detroit Business’ headlines are smart and engage in strong word choice without falling off into over-the-top puns or clichés. All the judges confessed to laughing out loud when they read these two: “Ctrl … Alt … the D” and “An elephant and a donkey in need of horse sense.” And, we confessed to immediately starting to read the stories. So, the headlines did exactly what a good headline should do. They were intriguing with an appropriate tone and certainly brought the stories to the readers.
Best special section design:
Crain’s Chicago Business, “What comes first?” Thomas Linden, Jason McGregor, Karen Freese
“Best cover ever” was the unanimous opinion of the cover. That’s not all that grabbed our attention. The Kickstarter poster is a masterpiece, too. While those are the highlights, Crain’s Chicago’s overall sensibility in designing this package is remarkable. The inside splash page is as strong as the section cover, it’s organized coherently from start to finish, the graphics swell with information, and the color palette invites readers into the section and asks them to stay.
Best ancillary publication:
Crain’s Detroit Business, “Detroit 2.0,” Amy Haimerl
The publication takes a broad and deep look at the evolution of a city. The diversity of the perspectives shared and of the storytelling formats makes it a lively, interesting read. The staff went beyond the typical voices of people in power to introduce readers to myriad forces at work for good in the community. From a pullout guide to more in-depth profiles, readers gain a better understanding of their surroundings. The design offers clear navigation and smart color and organizational choices.
Best online scoop:
Indianapolis Business Journal, “IU Health consolidation would cut 3 downtown hospitals to 2,” J.K. Wall
In-your-face reporting. Wall’s story hits all the criteria for what makes a real scoop: confirming a tip, reporting and writing a powerful, well-sourced and comprehensive piece that is full of context. The reporting was insightful, the writing clear, the competitors on the story clearly followers. Delicious.
Best staff-generated blog:
Crain’s Detroit Business, “Amy Haimerl blog,” Amy Haimerl, writer
Haimerl combines her work on the city and business beats in Detroit to produce a compelling blog that holds officials accountable and monitors the effects of city policies. Thorough reporting and a distinct writing voice give the blog an air of authority and unquestioned credibility.
Best use of multimedia:
Crain’s Detroit Business, “Detroit Rink City,” Nancy Hanus, Jennette Smith, Kristin Bull, Norman Witte, David Hall
A big story told well. This project was an example of detailed reporting that uses multimedia in a way that fully engages its viewer. A high-interest story told using video, data, maps, timelines and text. Each stands alone to tell their story and allows the viewer to see and understand the full impact on their community. This is online journalism created to be consumed online, and it was done in just 72 hours!
Best daily email:
Florida Trend, “Florida Pulse,” Andy Corty, Mark Howard, Will Gorham, Joyce Edmondson
When this newsletter hits your inbox, you’ll know you’re reading Florida Trend. It looks, feels and reads just like the main site – right down to the “Who said it” teaser. The headlines, story summaries and interactive features create an engaging experience for the subscriber.
Best specialty email newsletter:
Des Moines Business Record, “Lift IOWA,” Chris Conetzkey, Megan VerHelst, Anne Carothers-Kay, Annika Peick, Adam Feller
An excellent concept that not only provides news, but also provides a sense of community to its target audience. The newsletter works to connect women in business through news, but also social and networking events. It’s great to see so many pictures of female business leaders in one spot.