136 winners announced in SABEW’s Best in Business contest; Bloomberg, New York Times had most winners

Posted By Spring Eselgroth


PHOENIX— The Society of American Business Editors and Writers (SABEW) has announced winners of its 18th Best in Business competition, which honors excellence in business journalism across all news platforms.

Click here for the complete list of winners and judge’s comments.

The 136 winners represent all corners of business journalism, from the Providence Journal to The Wall Street Journal, from American Banker to National Underwriter Life & Health, from CNBC to Southern California Public Radio. Bloomberg News and its related magazines, Bloomberg Markets and Bloomberg Businessweek, led  with 14 wins; The New York Times had nine winners, and The Huffington Post and CNBC had five each.

“This year’s contest not only had the most entries ever (1,120), but they came from the largest and most diverse group of publications we’ve seen, from online startups to non-profit investigative journalism groups to newspapers to broadcast outlets,” said Jill Jorden Spitz, SABEW president and senior editor for the Arizona Daily Star in Tucson.

“This year’s winners should be especially proud because changes to the contest made it tougher than ever to win — judging panels were given strict guidelines about how many prizes they could award based on the number of entries per category.”

Awards will be presented Friday, April 5, at the Marvin Conference Center at George Washington University. SABEW’s 50th annual conference and gala runs April 4-6 and features Federal Reserve vice chair Janet Yellen, AOL chairman Tim Armstrong, former Office of Management and Budget chief David Stockman, and business TV personality Jim Cramer.

More than 200 working journalists and academics served as judges, sifting through the record 1,120 entries from 195 news outlets across 68 categories.

News outlets worked to explain a changing array of economic financial issue that chafed Americans in 2012. A sampling of winners included a New York Times multimedia entry that exposed the myths and contradictions surrounding American attitudes on taxation; other New York Times winners exposed corruption at Wal-Mart operations in Mexico and shoddy practices in the reverse-mortgage industry that prey on widows.

Explaining our trade with China was a theme of many winners. The Omaha World-Herald explained to readers why some of Nebraska’s beef products just don’t sell in the expanding China market. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel did the same thing for its readers – traveling to China to explain the competitiveness of the paper industry–Wisconsin’s largest industry.

Banking issues continue to dominate winning entries. American Banker tackled dubious debt collection practices from big banks; the Portland (Ore.) Business Journal looked at the blight of bank-owned foreclosed homes, and the Sun-Sentinel explored a similar problem in South Florida.

Some stories won for quirky subject matter, including a Montreal Gazette piece on the tough business of dubbing movies into French in Quebec; SmartMoney magazine earned accolades for Missy Sullivan’s “The Attack of the 6.5-point Typeface,” a colorful look at fine-print disclosure statements; and Southern California Public Radio offered a take on how movie trailers “hook” you into buying a ticket. Fortune Magazine’s Dinah Eng took readers into the humble beginnings of starting a business in her compelling piece that detailed how Crate and Barrel’s first cash register was a cigar box. CNBC won for its entry detailing how the much-maligned Facebook can make money.

Several entries exposed health issues in the U.S., including two pieces from Bloomberg Markets magazine on the failing of the mostly privatized food safety system, and the explosion of the “superbug”; the Charlotte Observer’s examination of North Carolina’s profitable “nonprofit” hospitals and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s examination of the ethics of controlling public health care costs at the end of life.

A new category, Innovation, saluted the multimedia efforts of USA Today in its series on Ghost Factories, an examination of the legacy of smelting; the Financial Times explanation of the London Interbank Rates, and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s new Pipeline feature, which explores the Marcellus Shale industry.

In another new category, Technology, three outlets were honored – The New York Times, Fortune and Reuters.

Melvin Backman (University of North Carolina) and Johanna Somers (University of Missouri) also were honored in student-only categories. Those categories also yielded three honorable mentions.

SABEW has announced a scholarship program for BIB winners and other parties interested in attending the April 4-6 conference.   More than $10,000 in travel grants will be available. Details will appear at www.sabew.org.

(For more information on the contest and scholarships, contact SABEW Executive Director Warren Watson at watson@sabew.org or call 1-602-496-7862.)

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