OLD Media Moves

Tampa Tribune reporter wins top individual NAREE award

June 19, 2011

Posted by Chris Roush

Tampa Tribune real estate reporter Shannon Behnken was honored with the National Association of Real Estate Editors annual award for Best Overall Entry by an Individual during its convention this weekend in San Antonio.

The judges stated, “This year’s competition is filled with articles about foreclosure processing and some of its dubious practices, but this article focuses directly on the processing fees which are more harmful than helpful to homeowners. The writer extensively investigated billing documents and internal record to make this problem apparent to readers and to state officials.”

The best Freelance Collection Award went to Mary Umberger for her freelance contributions to the Chicago Tribune. The Ruth Ryon Best Entry by a Young Journalist honor went to Alyssa Abkowitz of SmartMoney Magazine.

All award winners were selected by a panel of expert judges from the E. W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University.  Professor Patrick S. Washburn, a former news reporter and editor, chaired the panel of jurors.  A record number of entries from professional journalists across the U.S. were received this year.  Prizes, totaling $8,000, were awarded in 25 different categories.

In commenting about Umberger’s work, the judges wrote, “Reading this writer is like getting good advice from an old friend. Her columns particularly are memorable because they are easy to read and yet full of good information for those interested in real estate. They are a pleasure to read.”

For Abkowitz, the judges wrote, “This writer won the largest category (number 16) by noticing patterns in the real estate industry that not every writer noticed. She coupled her initiative in finding fresh stories with lively writing.”

The best residential real estate report in a daily newspaper went to Robbie Whelan of The Wall Street Journal.

Judges wrote, “The title of this story, ‘The 25-Year Foreclosure From Hell,’ tells it all. This was a great story about a trendsetter in the movement to resist foreclosure while refusing to pay a mortgage and using the courts to stay in her home. The story is exceptionally well written and resourced and shows how careless lenders can sometimes be their own worst enemy.”

Kris Hudson of The Journal won for best commercial real estate report in a daily newspaper.

Judges commented, “This is an original story that reveals that the professional scam of going to exotic resorts for conventions has come to an end for a number of reasons in addition to the recession and penny pinching. Particularly interesting was the writer’s observation that the word ‘resort’ in a title can hurt a hotelier’s bottom line.”

The Los Angeles Times won for best real estate or home section in a daily newspaper with more than 250,000 circulation. The Orange County Register won for best real estate or home section in a daily newspaper with less than 250,000 circulation.

See all of the winners here.

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