Bloomberg’s Mina Kimes wins first Birger Award for Young Business Journalists

Mina Kimes photographed in Williamsburg at her favorite coffee shop
Mina Kimes

PHOENIX —  Mina Kimes, 28, an enterprise investigative reporter for Bloomberg News, is the inaugural winner of the Larry Birger Young Business Journalist prize, honoring journalists under age 30. She will receive her award March 29 at the 51st SABEW Annual Conference in Phoenix.

The judging panel also chose to honor four finalists:

  • Chris Kirkham, 30, projects reporter, the Huffington Post
  • Sean Sposito, 29, reporter and data journalist, Atlanta Journal-Constitution
  • Max Abelson, 29, Wall Street reporter, Bloomberg News
  • Kristen Painter, 28, airline and aerospace reporter, The Denver Post

Made possible by a $5,000 gift from rbb Public Relations of Miami, Fla., the award commemorates Birger, a former Miami Herald business editor who led SABEW as president in 1977.  Birger was later a principal in rbb until his death in 1998. “Larry was a business-minded person who explored business solutions and communications,” said Christine Barney, CEO of rbb, who will present the award to Kimes in Phoenix. “We want this to a be a reminder of the importance of good journalism.”

Kimes joined Bloomberg in 2013, after eight years at Fortune magazine, first working for its Small Business publication before moving to Fortune. She graduated summa cum laude from Yale University, where she studied English.

The judges noted Kimes’ stellar work over her seven-year career, including her “Bad to the Bone” investigation for Fortune that details abuses in the medical device industry. Kimes’ piece for Fortune in 2010 attributed a spate of product recalls by consumer giant Johnson & Johnson to reorganization and cost-cutting.

The Columbia Journalism Review has called the piece “a virtual case study in the deterioration of a once-exemplary corporate culture and one of the better-reported business stories you’ll see.”   More recently, Kimes wrote two pieces for Bloomberg BusinessWeek, “King Cat” and “The Sun Tzu at Sears.” The stories revealed how CEOs of two iconic American companies, Caterpillar Inc.’s Doug Oberhelman and Sears Holding Corp.’s Eddie Lampert, exploit underlings in the quest for profit.

In 2009, Kimes won New York Press Club’s Nellie Bly Cub Reporter Award.

A total of 48 young journalists submitted entries. The judging team included SABEW members Jon Chesto (chair), Joanna Ossinger, Marty Steffens, John Arwood and Cindy Perman.

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

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