D CEO magazine, Crain’s Chicago among AABP winners
The Alliance of Area Business Publishers presented 111 Editorial Excellence awards to newspaper and magazine business periodicals on June 24 at the closing celebration of its three-day annual Summer Conference in Dallas.
“Once again the winning entries show how these publications serve their readers by digging through documents, cultivating great sources, presenting useful data, and asking tough questions,” said Reuben Stern, who coordinated the judging by faculty members at the University of Missouri School of Journalism. “The work not only provides reliable news and information but also helps the business community understand how things happened and what it all means.”
Some highlights from this year’s awards include: Best Magazine to D CEO Magazine; Best Newspaper: Small Tabloids to San Fernando Valley Business Journal; Best Newspaper: Medium/Large Tabloids to Crain’s Chicago Business; Best Cover: Magazines to Columbus CEO; Best Front Page: Newspapers to Crain’s Cleveland Business; Most Improved Publication to Business News, Western Australia; Best Website to Crain’s Chicago Business; Best Specialty E-newsletter to Indianapolis Business Journal; Best Use of Multimedia to Crain’s Chicago Business; and Best Daily E-Mail to Indianapolis Business Journal.
1. Best cover: magazine
Bronze: Hawaii Business; “May 2016 – Best of Small Business”; Steve Petranik, Editor, Lilian Cheng, Associate Art Director
A playful design featuring an equally playful photograph that successfully sets the tone and draws the audience in. Nice details include the way the model appears to be interacting with the headline on the left, and the beautiful color palette. Overall, a well-executed concept composed with a solid sense of visual hierarchy.
Silver: D CEO; “July-August – Leading the Pack”; Hamilton Hendrick
D CEO has done a nice job of humanizing the subject here with what feels like a natural extension of the subject’s personality in visual design. The end result feels like an energetic, youthful, and yet buttoned-up design. There is nice interplay of the typography, subject, and environment, as well as a beautiful and restrained color palette.
Gold: Columbus CEO; “Drones at Work”; Yogesh Chaudhary
There’s much to like here in this engaging cover design. The dramatic photo features some deft artistry in creating a convincing background, and the subject seems as if he’s walking right off the page at us. The use of vivid “fluorescent” color in the typographic design was a clever way to make a connection to the subject’s fire uniform, as well as the content of the feature story. The elements work in concert to elevate the dramatic impact and capture the attention of passers-by.
2. Best feature layout: magazine
Bronze: D CEO; “Latino Business Awards – Ties That Bind”; Hamilton Hendrick
Elegant typographic design lies at the heart of this feature’s visual appeal. Well-chosen typefaces are set carefully in a tight and appealing grid system and elevate the importance of the piece. The beautiful letterforms are featured in bold-but-elegant drop caps, as the full range of the type family is used to establish a creative and beautiful sense of visual hierarchy. Carefully considered color application add to these elements. The beautiful portraiture and careful handling of photographic elements are icing on the cake.
Silver: dbusiness; “Powered by Women”; Caroline Chin-Watson, Austin Philips, Nicole Greiser, R.J. King, John Schultz, Emma Klug
The opening spread really sets the tone here. The suspended blue paint creates a beautiful, dynamic design element in the form of a dancing blue line that both intermingles with, and is suggestive of, the headline type treatment. There’s something oddly satisfying about seeing the paint suspended in motion, and the subjects seem to be having genuine fun channeling their inner Jackson Pollock. Overall, the overwhelming sense of fun creates an engaging way to feature a group of diverse professionals.
Gold: Hawaii Business; “Who We Are”; Steve Petranik, Editor, Lilian Cheng, Associate Art Director The opening spread creates a unique and clever visual composition. The photographs, illustrations, and infographics all work together to create a beautiful design solution. Because of the way these elements are composed in smaller bites the reader can absorb the information in useful pieces, rather than all at once. Additionally, the illustrations are extremely well done, and the graphics clear and useful. This almost feels like a contemporary digital or web design translated to the printed page. The reader might half expect to be able to touch any one of the well-designed sections, and see the infographic to spring to life. Also impactful is the color treatment, and duotone-style imagery. Overall, the design exhibits an extremely modern, compelling, and effective way to both wrangle a lot of information and tell a compelling story.
3. Best overall design: magazine
Bronze: dbusiness; “District Detroit Rising,” Caroline Chin-Watson, Austin Phillips, Nichole Grieser, R.J. King, John Schultz and Mike Larson
The covers of dbusiness allow the visual to stand out because the type is strategically placed. The shorts are handled in clean modules. The spreads feature strong photos in good arrangements. There is a consistency throughout in typography and spacing.
Silver: D CEO; “Leading the Pack,” Hamilton Hedrick
Some strong covers—particularly “Leading the Pack,” and “The Latino Effect”—bring readers into the magazine. The Ticker, a photo and text feature, is a great start to even more photographs, illustrations and graphics. This is a beautiful magazine that is easy to navigate.
Gold: Hawaii Business; Janelle Kalawe-Ching, Jen Tadaki Catanzariti, Warren Daubert, Mary Pigao and Lilian Cheng
Like the islands, Hawaii Business is colorful and active. Most pages have multiple elements arranged to avoid clutter. Color is used in surprising and effective ways. Photography is imaginative and displayed for impact. Nearly every page says “read me.”
4. Best front page: newspaper
Bronze: BizTimes Milwaukee, “Private Clubs”; Shelly Tabor
Clever use of familiar visual and typographic elements quickly communicates the subject matter. This is a simple, direct, smart combination of the textured jacket, pocket square, typography and typographic flourishes that all reinforce the perceived idea of private clubs. Using the red from the pocket square in the crest is a nice touch.
Silver: Crain’s Chicago Business, “20 in their 20s”; Karen Freese
A fun cover that is engaging and illustrates of the story. The dropout effect surrounds the subject with space, focusing the eye on the subject without cluttered distractions. The indicated marionette motion is youthful and playful.
Gold: Crain’s Cleveland Business, “Rebuilding Cleveland and Akron”; Rebecca Markovitz
This is one of the few times where clutter provides impact in service of the message. Rebuilding two rustbelt cities is a complicated and ever-changing proposal. The multitude of imagery on an erasable chalkboard delivers that “work-in-progress” message. This is a great solution to a tough design problem.
5. Best feature layout: newspaper
Bronze: BizTimes Milwaukee; “Private Clubs”; Shelly Tabor
This entry begins with an appropriate pocket square in a tweed jacket, setting the tone for the rich display of graphics and color combinations. Along with appropriate typography, the colors royal blue, khaki and oxblood red, create the perfect aesthetic, mirroring the experience of walking into an exclusive social club.
Silver: Des Moines Business Record; “The Photo Issue”; Bria Schechinger, Lauren Hayes, Danielle Miller, Duane Tinkey
This is a highly innovate design. The pages are built with portraits and details in nearly an architectural format with a most unusual but eye-popping effect. The images are carved into a solid structure, typography and text is minimal and the white space is bold.
Gold: Los Angeles Business Journal; “Immigrant Entrepreneurs”; Jennifer Rzepka, Kristin Skaggs-Kirby The great design and layout help the reader navigate a complicated story. The use of breakouts and portraits make the story easy to scan and navigate. The creation of the chalkboard is an outstanding visual solution. Typography is used as a design element in a bold and fashionable way, including a giant italicized lower-case, serif letter ‘f’ that is paired with good style, photography and environmental portraits.
6a. Best overall design: small tabloids
Bronze: Charleston Regional Business Journal; staff
This publication is noteworthy for its fine use of multiple elements, not just big splashy package: Infographics, photography that has dominance on a page, inside stories with photographs and good portraiture, and one of the better displays of briefs.
Silver: Mainebiz; Matt Selva, Peter VanAllen
There are many elements to praise here, including consistent good, clean use of white space throughout. Excellent portraiture contributes to an overall good use of photography. The execution of the covers and table of contents is strong.
Gold: Worcester Business Journal; Mitchell Hayes
The design delivers through in-depth packages and quicker reads for scanners. The covers feature bold, attention-grabbing play of images that recognize and reflect diversity. Inside the book includes strong feature packages, including Outstanding Women in Business. The design of the upfront briefs, especially Ticker, is an interesting mix of images and typography.
6b. Best overall design: medium/large tabloids
Bronze: Business News; Elton Swarts, Charlie Gunningham
Strong branding and a non-traditional nameplate give this publication a unique look. The design takes risks and chances, in particular conceptual typography and headlines. Body copy is well broken up with pull quotes and drop-ins.
Silver: Los Angeles Business Journal; Staff
The design handles both short stories and feature spreads with great aplomb. The stories are easy to browse and navigate, even on pages with multiple elements. Overall design is consistent, with white space and contrast in typography. Photographs are used and sized well, particularly in packages such as “DTLA.” Strong environmental portraits, like those in “Executive Style Office,” give insight into subjects.
Gold: Crain’s Chicago Business; Thomas J. Linden, Jason McGregor, Karen Freese
This publication isn’t afraid to adapt its format to design striking and unusual covers like “40
Under 40.” Big stories get special treatment, such as “A Modern Ghost Town” and “Trauma on the South Side,” both feature spreads that break the traditional news mold. There is a good mix of portraiture and documentary photographs, and all are sized for impact. The publication does an excellent job with graphics, particularly in the package about home prices and zip codes.
7. Best use of photography/illustrations
Bronze: Crain’s Cleveland Business; David Kordalski, Rebecca Markovitz
The strength of this entry is the covers, which show off the high-level thinking required to make winning illustrations. Each concept is approached separately with unique thought and technique. And the illustration are created using a variety of tools and materials ranging from chalk to photography to computer illustration to other creative means.
Silver: Crain’s Chicago Business; Thomas J. Linden, Karen Freese, Jason McGregor
This entry demonstrates the scope and range of thinking, storytelling and creative approaches a staff can take with stories. The visuals tackle topics ranging in emotions, from fun to serious. The combination of drawing with portraits in the “20 under 20” series is fun; while an illustration of a family witnessing a murder conveys much deeper emotion. Overall, the publication incorporates a strong mix of illustrations, portraits and documentary photography.
Gold: Hawaii Business; Warren Daubert, Jen Tadaki Catanzariti, Janelle Kalawe-Ching, Mary Pigao, Lilian Cheng
The entire publication has a consistent style and visual voice that is bold unique. Beginning with the lighting and portraiture of the marijuana portraits, to the regal photo of the plant’s ‘bud’, to including a nod to great photography in the “Parting Shots” section. Photography in the census edition also was particularly strong.
8. Best use of multimedia
Bronze: Biz 417; “20 Under 30”; Dayle Duggins, JuliRose Sullivan, Heather Kane, Brandon Alms, Kevin O’Riley, Adrienne Donica
Group profiles of young achievers is a staple of business publications, but this example offers a fresh approach to the annual feature by creating a grid of animated photos that engages readers with this class of young professionals.
Silver: Springfield Business Journal; “Day in the Life Series”; Staff
These four profiles engaged readers through multiple storytelling elements. Each package used interesting videos, photo galleries, graphics and good writing to draw readers into these stories.
Gold: Crain’s Chicago Business; “10 Years After the Bust”; Jason McGregor, Dennis Rodkin, Manuel Martinez, John R Boehm
Through the lens of two Chicago zip codes, this visually driven package uses stunning photography, strong infographics, and data-driven reporting to show readers that for some Chicagoans the recession never ended.
9. Best daily email
Bronze: Biz New Orleans; “BizNews Afternoon”; Kelly Massicot, Leslie Snadowsky
This daily email newsletter offers subscribers a variety of multimedia content with multiple entry points to the website. Features center around the people who make New Orleans’ business community thrive, and the invitation from editors to readers to submit their own news offers a unique call to action.
Silver: Charleston Regional Business Journal; “E-Newsletter”; Staff
Strong headlines and illustrative photos help guide readers of this daily newsletter. This entry has the feel that great care is put into the story selection, the writing and the delivery.
Gold: Indianapolis Business Journal; “IBJ’s Eight@8”; Mason King
The writer’s voice shines through each edition. Strong active verbs and cheeky writing hook readers’ interest and make this a great read. By numbering the eight featured stories, the email prioritizes the news for readers and gets them everything they need to start their day in the know.
10. Best specialty e-newsletter Bronze and Silver: No awards
Gold: Indianapolis Business Journal; “#IBJtech”; Jared Council
Including a photo of the author right at the top makes the newsletter feel personal. The content offers strong, informative headlines that don’t feel like clickbait. It also has summaries of the stories that give just enough information to let the reader know whether he or she wants to click the More button.
11. Best scoop
Silver: Journal of Business; “Costco to move North Spokane store”; Mike McLean
The move of a Costco is big news in most communities. This story was broken by carefully anticipating and watching for documents that were filed before the announcement. This kind of reporting builds credibility, and builds on the expectation by readers that big stories are broken first by the Journal of Business in Spokane.
Gold: Worcester Business Journal; “Greendale Mall value plummets 77%, foreclosure possible”; Sam Bonacci
The importance of follow-up and sourcing and documents is on full display in this important business story. With the mall’s parent companies in trouble, it was logical that there was financial difficulty with their real estate properties. Breaking news is best when it’s the result of great reporting and not an announcement. This story showed great persistence.
Silver: Virginia Business; “Shakeup at Virginia Economic Development Partnership”; Paula C. Squires, Jessica Sabbath
This entry represents classic reporting. Squires and Sabbath heard rumors (sourcing) that a shake- up was underway at the state’s Economic Development Partnership and found documents that backed-up the hearsay. They then interviewed sources with first-hand knowledge and broke the story about the serious problems in the state’s largest business recruitment agency. Not only did they beat the competition but their work pushed the state to reorganize the agency.
Gold: Hartford Business Journal; “Developers eye $500m N. Britain tech park”; Matt Pilon
Great reporting often comes down to the unromantic determination to sift through hundreds of documents. That’s what Matt Pilon did when exploring one of the state’s largest employers and its plans to compete for right to redevelop old manufacturing facilities. The lesson is that shoe-leather reporting never goes out of style.
Silver: Crain’s Detroit Business; “Pistons in talks to move to downtown Detroit”; Bill Shea and Kirk Pinho
Great sourcing makes great scoops. Crain’s Detroit Business was ahead of all media on the move of the Detroit Pistons to Downtown. With lots of details about the relocation, including the practice center, Crain’s put together a story that nobody else could match. This is not an accidental story. It shows the importance of having journalists who know the community and their beats.
Gold: Crain’s Chicago Business; “McDonald’s plans HQ move to former Harpo Studios campus”; Peter Frost and Ryan Ori
McDonald’s is a mainstay in Oak Brook, a hub for many corporations near Chicago. The idea that McDonald’s would be leaving this plush suburb to move close to downtown Chicago seems unthinkable. Yet, Crain’s Chicago Business scooped the competition on this major story, because of great sourcing. This is a major coup because McDonald’s is a key player in all things Chicago, and this story had large implications for employees as well as the community.
Silver: Delaware Business Times; “MBNA’s trademark green awnings have vanished, but glory days linger”; Kathy Canavan, reporter, Christi Milligan, managing editor, Robert Martinelli, publisher
A textbook example of how to write a business history piece. This feature had the right mix of anecdotes and facts, and was an easy read for those who well remember having an MBNA card in their wallet, as well as those who are learning about the company for the first time.
Gold: dbusiness; “From the Middle East to the Motor City”; Norm Sinclair, reporter, R.J. King, editor, John Schultz, managing editor, Mike Larson, managing editor
A well-thought out and human look at the contributions and challenges to America’s largest Middle Eastern community in Detroit. Sinclair chronicles the struggles newcomers face while showing that immigration has revitalized many abandoned neighborhoods in the struggling Motor City.
Silver: Virginia Business; “Millennials and homeownership”; Richard Foster, reporter
Dreams sometimes get dashed on the rocks of reality – they crave privacy but can’t afford a home, so end up living with parents. In narrative that doesn’t pander, Foster takes you inside the mind of millennials who are rethinking or deferring homeownership in the face of low salaries and student loan debt.
Gold: D CEO; “The Perfect Match”; Tara Nieuwesteeg, reporter, Glenn Hunter, editor, Danielle Abril, managing editor
A fast-paced and engaging profile of Dallas-based Match.com, and its CEO, Mandy Ginsberg, after her return to the online dating site. Of course, there is a love story in midst of all this, and Nieuwesteeg rattles off the success – 10 million love stories, 1 million babies and a big bump in year-over-year revenue. All in all, a lovely effort.
Silver: Crain’s Cleveland Business; “Embracing the Lake and River”; Crain’s Cleveland Staff
It’s been almost 50 years since the polluted Cuyahoga River was set afire, earning Cleveland the reputation of a dirty city. This series is a well-researched and lovingly written tale of how the city transformed itself into a town that embraces its waterways, which are now the focal point of housing and other investments.
Gold: Florida Trend; “Beasts of Burden”; Mike Vogel, reporter
Great features surprise and delight, and mix numbers with vivid description. That’s exactly describes this story about Florida private wild animal parks who shelter more exotic animals than major zoos. This story, bolstered by a review of federal inspection, shed a light on the little-known tourist industry of roadside animal attractions. And just how much does it cost to feed a tiger? $525 a day.
13. Best personality profile
Silver: Business North Carolina; “Hallowed Ground”; Edward Martin, writer; editors David Mildenberg and Kathryn Galloway.
This story weaves fascinating strands of a North Carolina web of money, politics, real estate and religion by profiling the state’s wealthiest politician, Republican congressman Robert Pittenger. To explain a land-swapping empire that involved some of the state’s richest people, the story effectively backgrounds the history of country club and Christian church networks Pittgenger developed over decades.
Gold: Vermont Business; “Progressive Rutland: Mayor Christopher Louras”; Joyce Marcel, writer This entry profiles at once a dynamic mayor and the city of Rutland, Vermont. In detail readers learn how one community dealt with fears about refugees within the context of a city, state and nation that has welcomed refugees from the beginning. And the story explains how re-settling immigrants makes good business sense, too.
Silver: Hawaii Business; “The Science of Success”; Beverly Creamer, writer
The work-hard, play-hard world of a surfer dude comes to life in the profile of Patrick Sullivan, named as Hawaii Business’ CEO of the Year. Over thirty years, he built a high-tech company that’s developed 300 products and the story helps you understand the secret sauce of his success.
Gold: D CEO; “The Selling of Jordan Spieth”; Art Stricklin, writer; Glenn Hunter, editor; Danielle Abril, editor
This story about the business of golf moves likes one of Jordan Spieth’s 300-yard drives, with beauty and precision. The narrative artfully spells out how a rookie golfer who once drove worn-out cars now looks to create a billion-dollar brand.
Silver: Crain’s Cleveland Business; “Still all in the family: Mark Smucker is fifth generation to head the food giant”; Dan Shingler, writer.
From “shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves” characterizes what happens to many family businesses within three generations of founding to collapse or sale. This profile provides the telling evidence for how Smucker’s thrives with a fifth-generation heir in charge of the Ohio mega company that’s become more than jelly and jam maker.
Gold: Crain’s Chicago Business; “The fall of vegan queen Karyn Calabrese”; Meribah Knight, writer; Jan Parr and John R Boehm, editors.
Before raw food-vegan became hip, there was Karyn Calabrese in Chicago. With colonics, detox, oxygen therapy, restaurants and books, she enlisted the likes of Lady Gaga, Stevie Wonder and Beyonce as she built her green empire. Writer Meribah Knight unflinchingly details the downfall of this vegan queen, starting with an opening sentence that compels you to keep reading: “Karyn Calabrese greets me with a black eye and a quavering voice…”
14. Best body of work, single writer
Silver: dbusiness; Norm Sinclair, reporter (R.J. King, Mike Larson)
The research, reporting and organization set these stories apart. These are difficult pieces and questions to be answered. Why is a company opening a new golf resort when the national golf industry is struggling? Why would a thriving downtown hotel result in a big loss for the city’s pension funds?
Gold: Business North Carolina; Edward Martin, reporter (David Mildenberg)
The scope of this entry makes it stand out. “Four Centuries in the Making” is an impressive piece, weaving the state’s history with its business history in a clear and obvious way. A close-up look at a controversial politician, demonstrates range.
Silver: BizTimes Milwaukee; Ben Stanley, reporter
An interesting trend story about wealthy foreign executives who travel to Milwaukee for health care and a reworking of Milwaukee County’s service for the mentally ill are highlights. Readable health care stories that rise above the jargon.
Gold: Hawaii Business; Lavonne Leong, reporter
Innovative ideas and story selection lift this entry. The non-narrative “Who We Are” slices up
Hawaiian census data and emerges with a revealing population profile. “All Work and No Job” tells people stories from the rising “gig” economy – where workers are hired on a contract basis rather than full-time employment.
Silver: Indianapolis Business Journal; Anthony Schoettle, reporter
Wide-ranging subjects make this entry stand out: The complicated business operation behind the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, a WNBA star turned fashion consultant, and the battleground of dashboard radio.
Gold: Los Angeles Business Journal; Henry Meier, reporter
Explains complicated subjects clearly. “Competitors Raise Stink over Garlic” is a great idea executed well. “Prized possessions” translates transfer taxes for the reader. And the potential of a “budding” pot market is explored.
15. Best recurring feature
Silver: Biz New Orleans; “Why Didn’t I Think of That”; Kim Singletary, Rebecca Friedman
These profiles breathe life into the dynamic business world of southeast Louisiana by focusing on the people behind interesting ventures. In the process, they introduce readers to some truly exciting innovators.
Gold: Columbus CEO; “Tech Talk”; Julie Bhusal Sharma, Yogesh Chaudhary
With a fresh approach to emerging technology, these features were fascinating and fun to read. The Launch Pad section is especially successful, with experts weighing in on the likelihood of success for these startups.
Silver: BizTimes Milwaukee; “Made in Milwaukee”; Arthur Thomas
This column manages to feature a wonderfully eclectic mix of stories while also remaining nicely thematic as it introduces readers to local companies both well-known and under the radar.
Gold: Providence Business News; “One Last Thing”; Mark Murphy
It’s a tricky feat to tell stories using just quotes, but these profiles prove it can be done well when balanced with a little context to help readers. The resulting stories are engaging and represent the diverse voices of its subjects.
Silver: San Diego Business Journal; “Startup Page”; Brittany Meiling
This feature was reliably interesting, focused and well-written. The variety of topics always was fresh and unexpected, and the collection was a hit every time.
Gold: Greater Baton Rouge Business Report; “Entrepreneur”; Gabrielle Braud, Marissa Frayer, Collin Richie and Brian Baiamonte
What a wonderful example of how to execute a recurring profile feature. With a foundation of strong reporting and writing, these stories are packed with interesting details. Meanwhile, the structure makes for a quick and enjoyable read.
16. Best coverage of local breaking news
Silver: Vermont Business; “State files suit alleging investor fraud at Jay Peak, Inc. EB-5 projects”; Timothy McQuiston, editor, Mike Smith, contributor, Chris Graff, contributor
The publication provides well-rounded coverage by supplementing its breaking news story with an interview with one the project’s developers. In addition, Smith’s column put the shocking news into context for Vermont readers.
Gold: No award.
Silver and Gold: No awards.
Silver: No award.
Gold: Indianapolis Business Journal; “Salesforce to invest $40m in Indy expansion, reap $17.2m in state incentives”; Jared Council, reporter, Scott Olson, reporter, Jeff Newman, daily editor, Mason King, news editor
These stories provide smart, thorough, reporting of the tech company’s announcement of downtown expansion. Good use of additional stories to add context and provide more information.
17. Best investigative reporting
Silver: No award.
Gold: Twin Cities Business; “The Great Migration”; Dale Kurschner
This story does what great journalism can do: takes a publicly held belief and tests it to find out if it’s true. In this case, Dale Kurschner and Twin Cities Business set out to determine whether Minnesota’s increased taxes and perceived “anti-business” climate was leading to a loss of tax dollars and other income. The publication partnered with a research firm, crunched the data and found that, in fact, there was a lot of truth behind the complaints. Smart, well researched and well sourced, “The Great Migration” replaces opinion and conjecture with facts and analysis.
Silver: Arkansas Business; “It’s Who You Know”; Mark Friedman
The writer weaves a tale of political connections, outrageous fees and legislative maneuvering that shines a light on questionable political deals. The publication names names, and can do so because of Friedman’s air-tight reporting.
Gold: Providence Business News; “The (Still) Looming Crisis”; Eli Sherman, Mary MacDonald, Mike Mello, Mark Murphy
The team took a tough, complicated topic – a pension funding crisis – and did the impossible: they made it compelling, easy to understand and, most importantly, explained in human terms why it matters. Through deep reporting, great writing and smart organization, “The (Still) Looming Crisis” paints a stark picture of a huge problem with no easy answers.
Silver: Crain’s Detroit Business; “Blight On The Landscape”; Kirk Pinho
Kirk Pinho dug through records and cultivated sources to build a case detailing “the king of Detroit blight.” The result demonstrates what great investigative reporting does: It shows how the system that’s supposed to be regulating bad landlords is to blame for failing to enforce laws and take action.
Gold: Indianapolis Business Journal; “E-Cigarette Players Fume Over Favored Security Firm”; Hayleigh Colombo
This investigation pulls off an impressive feat, detailing how legislation was crafted to benefit a single company, and providing a fascinating window into a business that often exists in the shadows.
Great digging, strong sourcing and clear, powerful writing combine to both illuminate the e-cigarette industry and show how one firm can be given the keys to monopoly.
18. Best explanatory journalism
Silver: Worcester Business Journal; “New offshore wind requirement leads to price worries”; Laura Finaldi, reporter
The reporter does an exemplary job of exploring how a new state law might lead to higher electricity rates. She takes what could an overwhelming story and makes in digestible by breaking it down into sectors.
Gold: Twin Cities Business; “Good jobs, zero bedrooms”; Raya Zimmerman, writer
This deeply-reported story shows how housing shortages in suburban and rural areas are squeezing newly-hired workers. The writer went beyond the usual sources and also interviewed workers struggling to find housing. Strong writing, with an anecdotal lede, pulls readers in from the start.
Silver: Arkansas Business; “A boom in shale, and now the bust”; Kyle Massey, assistant editor
Lively writing by Massey drives this story, which shows how the state’s hydraulic fracturing activity has trailed off. The writer melds information from statistics and interviews well.
Gold: Providence Business News; “Drowning in red ink?”; Mary MacDonald, staff writer, Mike Mello, managing editor, Mark Murphy, editor
The city of Providence’s financial woes run deep. The Providence Business News provides a look at the causes of the crisis and, looking forward, weighs the prospects of a bankruptcy. Excellent work weaving together interviews and reports.
Silver: Indianapolis Business Journal; “Is free trade rhetoric in step with reality?” Hayleigh Colombo, reporter
Kudos to the Business Journal for deciding to go beyond the political talk and examine how restrictions on free trade might hurt Indiana. The reporter presents data showing how businesses and workers have fared in this evenhanded exploration.
Gold: Los Angeles Business Journal; “Competitors raise stink over garlic”; Henry Meier, staff reporter Meier takes what could be a drab story, about a garlic trade dispute between the United States and China, and turns in into a fun read. Excellent research and writing that shows the potential impact for the state’s garlic industry.
19. Best local coverage of a national/economic story
Silver: Worcester Business Journal, “Land of Opportunity: Foreign-born business owners boost Worcester,” Laura Finaldi, reporter
This is an in-depth look at the contributions foreign-born entrepreneurs make to the local economy and an excellent example of how to convert a study that’s dense with numbers into a truly accessible and interesting story.
Gold: Twin Cities Business, “Crisis of Faith,” Chris Clayton, reporter
Companies across the country are coming to grips with the idea that they must accommodate the
religious needs of their Muslim employees. This well-reported and comprehensive piece offers constructive examples of businesses that are doing it the right way.
Silver: Virginia Business, “The Home for Drones?” Jessica Sabbath, reporter
This is a fascinating analysis of the future of the drone industry and how Virginia has put itself in position to be a national leader in realizing its potential. Well-rounded sourcing and crisp writing make it a pleasure to read.
Gold: Hawaii Business, “All Work and No Job,” Lavonne Leong, reporter
In the age of the “gig economy,” independent contractors are performing all sorts of work that used to be done by regular, full-time employees. This story explores the ups and downs of the trend for freelancers and provides sound advice for how they can ensure they aren’t exploited.
Silver: Indianapolis Business Journal, “Trump Takes Credit for Keeping Carrier Workers in Indy,” Hayleigh Colombo and Susan Orr, reporters
The staff in a series of stories called into question then President-elect Donald Trump’s claim that Carrier’s decision to keep 1,000 jobs in the city was an example of his ability to keep manufacturers from moving jobs out of the country. The journal also explored the potential ramifications of state job- retention incentives that wooed Carrier. This is excellent enterprise on a story of national importance.
Gold: Greater Baton Rouge Business Report, “Payday Loans,” Sam Barnes, reporter
Personal stories bring to life the debate over the necessity of new federal restrictions on payday loans, an industry that has posed challenges all across the country. This is a strong examination of how such loans can prey upon low-income borrowers who struggle to make payments while meeting their basic needs.
20. Best ancillary publication
Silver: Mainebiz; “Fact Book: Doing Business in Maine”; Peter Van Allen, James McCarthy, Lori Valigra, Matt Selva
An excellent and in-depth look at doing business across an entire state. Excellent lists and tabular data add information to written material. Sections on transportation and infrastructure were particularly notable.
Gold: Worcester Business Journal; “A Guide to STUFF Made in Central Massachusetts”; Staff
An interesting, daring and very creative look at an industry that some might characterize as boring. Excellent diversity of types of workers, as well as showing diversity by class by focusing on line workers in manufacturing and diversity of age with a story about millennials.
Silver: BizTimes Milwaukee; “WisconsinBiz”; Staff
An ambitious publication that looks at an entire state and its internal business districts, this entry succeeds due to deep reporting and deep local knowledge of the state’s economy. Great diversity of local photos, writing is strong and concise, and stories from each region are unique.
Gold: D CEO; “Real Estate Annual”; Glenn Hunter, Danielle Abril
An excellent, focused section that stays newsy and illustrates a potentially static topic in new and interesting ways. Stories are easy to read, and introductory pages at the front of each feature are outstanding. Authoritative writing and a strong local voice make this a compelling publication.
Silver: San Diego Business Journal; “500: The Book of Influential Business Leaders”; Nels Jensen, Tarcy Connors, Steve Adamek, Sandra Powers, Angela Castillo, Suzan Peterson
A very comprehensive look at the best business leaders in the region. It’s a keepsake not only for the people featured here, but also as a prospecting tool for anyone who wants to connect with business leaders. Data about the people featured at the end of the book was fascinating.
Gold: Greater Baton Rouge Business Report; “Trends in Health Care”; staff
A really great look at a growing market in the area. Particularly notable was the excellent feature explaining what a “health district” is and how it would integrate medical facilities with residential and other commercial space. The staff also did an outstanding job of profiling people at all levels of the industry.
21. Best bylined commentary
Silver: San Fernando Valley Business Journal, “One More Thing,” Charles Crumpley
Mr. Crumpley writes with unquestionable authority, whether he’s examining the notion of California seceding from the country, exploring the viability of a company that manufactures inhalable insulin or scrutinizing Applebee’s strategy of adding wood-fired grills at its restaurants. Through reason and common sense, he makes arguments that are difficult to refute.
Gold: Georgia Trend, “Business Casual,” Susan Percy
Ms. Percy’s columns consistently grapple with difficult political and economic issues — religious discrimination, sexual harassment, education and health care — in a personal and accessible way. She’s a fearless writer to whom the Georgia business community no doubt pays attention.
Silver: BizTimes Milwaukee, Andrew Weiland
Mr. Weiland is refreshingly direct, articulate and succinct in essays that explore for his readers such complex topics as the economic disparities between Milwaukee’s white and minority communities and the tremendous highway funding challenges facing the state of Wisconsin. His tight, bright copy serves as a strong model for all columnists.
Gold: Arkansas Business, Gwen Moritz
Ms. Moritz pulls no punches and writes columns that make a difference. When she labeled as “chumps” supporters of an initiative that would have written protections for specific casino companies into the Arkansas constitution, for example, the measure was stricken from the ballot. Her courage and solid reporting make her pieces rise to the top.
Silver: Crain’s Cleveland Business, Elizabeth McIntyre
Ms. McIntyre’s family anecdotes bring her to life for readers: memories of golfing with her father, the difficulty of sending a child off to college. Those are things to which many of us can relate. But she’s tough when she has to be, as demonstrated by an essay about the need to end the use of Chief Wahoo as a mascot for the Cleveland Indians. She’s a nimble and talented writer.
Gold: Crain’s Chicago Business, Joe Cahill
Whether writing as a skeptic or as a booster, Mr. Cahill crafts essays that feature an explanatory style intended to help readers understand the economic matters of the day, such as President Trump’s potential impact on Chicago business or the effect of higher wages on McDonald’s bottom line. He’s an expert analyst with a straightforward approach.
22. Best editorial
Silver: Vermont Business; “New Housing Promise”; Timothy McQuiston.
This editorial makes a clear-eyed, thoughtful argument that to revive the state’s appeal, Vermont must shore up economic and social reasons for young people to return and settle after college. The argument that home ownership drives such decisions is ably refuted here. By turning conventional wisdom on its head, the writer makes a convincing argument that job opportunity and quality of life are better magnets than a half-acre in the suburbs.
Gold: Business Journal of Tri-Cities, TN/VA; “Bristol, Va., learns Johnny Mandel was wrong”; Scott Robertson.
This entry taking Bristol, Virginia, to task for an ill-advised, ill-conceived shopping center is a masterpiece of well-paced persuasion. The editorial punches away at the city’s folly with a chronology of facts that build a solid point of view. The piece is also an extremely entertaining read.
Silver: Hartford Business Journal; “Economic argument for legalizing weed not valid”; Greg Bordonaro.
The writer makes a compelling argument that legalizing marijuana for the purpose of filling a state budget hole is hasty and unwise. With solid examples and sound logic, the editorial effectively makes a better case for caution and good sense.
Gold: Virginia Business; “Opposing stances on legal standing”; Bernie Niemeier.
What could have been a dry lecture on constitutional law in the matter of voting rights for felons — a recent Supreme Court case in Virginia — is instead a lively and provocative look at history. The decision turned on the issue of standing, and the writer astutely demonstrates how broadly and significantly that relates to business.
Silver: Indianapolis Business Journal; “Absurd vaping law needs a do-over”
This entry provides an impressive display of original thought in constructing an argument against a law that over-regulated the e-liquid industry. By trying to apply such regulations to carmakers, with absurd consequences, the editorial makes its point sharply and forcefully.
Gold: Los Angeles Business Journal; “Guns, Responsibility and Liability”; Jonathan Diamond.
This editorial poses an unorthodox but imaginative solution to the persistent wrestling match over gun rights: Require proof of insurance to purchase a firearm. In the face of stubborn attitudes about guns on both sides, this is the kind of ground-breaking wisdom the country needs.
BEST OF SHOW CATEGORIES
23. Most improved publication
Winner: Business News; Elton Swarts, Charlie Gunningham
The new organization, including an improved contents page, makes for easier navigation. “News & Analysis” is first, followed by features. By adding a technology section and science page, the publication shows an enlarged sense of what business means to their community. The design is open and breathes, including more white space. Photographic use improved, with larger display and a new photo essay spread.
24. Best website
Bronze: Crain’s Detroit Business; Carlos Portocarrero and Nancy Hanus
Timely stories and good local photography pair well with sophisticated typography and a modern design to create a great reading experience. Calendar of events is particularly good, as are calls to action to sign up for newsletters and other offerings.
Silver: Business News; Elton Swarts and Charlie Gunningham
This is a site that uses the internet the way it’s meant to be used. The site offers a highly visual experience, breaking down into industries, most read, most commented, arts, podcasts, and more. Design is clean and space on the screen is used effectively – including white space. The site also does a great job of promoting lists and data modules.
Gold: Crain’s Chicago Business; Editorial staff
This site is strong because of its editorial approach to be a one-stop-shop for time-strapped business news consumers. Crain’s covers local politics and sports with the same fervor that it does business – which makes it a go-to for all news. What made this particularly stand out was that the site includes deep web-only packages using multimedia – including virtual reality.
25. Best magazine
Bronze: Hawaii Business; Steve Petranik, editor; Lilian Cheng, associate art director
The tone and feel of the book immediately signals the vibrancy and diversity of the islands. The covers are filled with bright colors and bold typography, creating excitement. Inside the stories are fun, engaging and useful: eight leadership characteristics, Q&A on the changing work life, 5 steps to being fashionably cool in summer. Noteworthy stories include “Business Leader: Engaged Mom,” a respectful piece that went beyond scratching the surface; “Living Paycheck to Paycheck in Paradise,” a data-fueled story that uncovers a hidden dimension; and “Fuel Leaks, Pesticides, Dengue and Zika” that does a great job of assessing the environmental challenges to the islands.
Silver: dbusiness; R.J. King, Mike Larson, John Schultz, Austin Phillips, Nichole Grieser, Caroline Chin- Watson
Very strong stories supported by solid design delivers quality insights into a city undergoing a massive transformation. “Powered by Women” is a wonderful combination of photos and text. “From the Middle East to the Motor City” is a well-conceived and timely package: thorough and engaging. “Poisonous Reach” dives into the city’s drug situation. Clearly, dbusiness tackles the big, important and tough issues of its market. The opening Ticker highlights what’s new in tight, brief packages; Exec Life offers interesting snackable items for busy executives. And, Closing Bell is a nice diversion to end each issue, reminding readers of Detroit’s history and legacy.
Gold: D CEO: Glenn Hunter, Danielle Abril, Hamilton Hedrick
Clean, easy-to-read design in support of strong stories is a winning combination. The book enjoys wonderful, consistently high-level attention to stories and their design. There is diversity both in the covers and inside the book: “Latino Effect” and “Can Women Rise to the Top in Dallas?” are great examples. A nice touch in the “Women Rise” package is the sidebar “First Job: What I Learned.” Verbatim is an interesting selection of quotes on important topics by industry leaders. There is plenty of attention to detail; the front of the book Ticker section is but one example; the interesting timeline approach to D CEO’s First Decade is another. The clean design and bold display of images enhances the solid storytelling.
26a. Best newspaper: small tabloids Bronze: Worcester Business Journal; Staff
This is a really good newspaper covering interesting topics in fresh ways. The package on women in business was handled particularly well – the portraits were really empowering, and the stories did a great job of explaining their significance to the community. Photography was great throughout, from covers on to inside pages. Graphics are used informationally, not for decoration, and the Shop Talk Q&A is a nice feature.
Silver: Mainebiz; Lori Valigra, James McCarthy, Matt Selva, Peter Van Allen
Cover stories are always well photographed and well written, supported with graphics and charts that contextualize numbers in the story. Regional briefs are a great way to pack in a lot of news from across the state. The back of book section is particularly strong with new hires, promotions, appointments, and achievements news, which creates a real sense of community. Design is solid, with good typography and careful use of white space.
Gold: San Fernando Valley Business Journal; Charles Crumpley, Joel Russell, Carol Lawrence, Mark Madler, Stephanie Henkel, Helen Floersh
A strong sense of place, creative storytelling, deep reporting and excellent photography combine to create an outstanding local publication. Fascinating deep stories on topics people might not necessarily consider; for example: the difficulty marijuana vendors have with banking. Entertainment industry pieces are also particularly strong. Reproduction, color, and design are all just beautiful.
26b. Best newspaper: medium/large tabloids
Bronze: Los Angeles Business Journal; Jonathan Diamond
Each issue starts with a solid cover and organized table of contents and then pulls in readers with smart snippets of information in the front pages. Of particular note were the comprehensive, well- designed “Business of Arts” and “Wealthiest Angelenos” cover stories. The publication stands out for its scope and authoritative writing.
Silver: San Diego Business Journal; Staff
The staff of this publication excels at producing a strong special report each issue. “Downtown
Rising” is a thorough, wide-ranging look at the changing downtown, from business to sports to surge pricing and more. The coverage mixes forms of storytelling, including graphics, lists and maps. Diverse content and sections throughout the publication provide stories for everyone.
Gold: Crain’s Chicago Business; Editorial Staff
Crain’s Chicago Business has a perfect mix of content, including excellent stories, photographs,
illustrations and graphics. The design presents an organized, navigable publication. The Special Report, “2016 Best Places to Work for Women,” was noted for the illustrations, graphics and typography, as well as the smart way in which they broke down the stories. Each issue highlights a noteworthy feature, such as “A Modern Ghost Town” and “Trauma on the South Side.”