BuzzFeed News’ William Alden wins Birger Award for Young Business Journalists

Posted By Crystal Beasley

buzzfeedheadshotsquareWilliam Alden, 27, a San Francisco-based business reporter for BuzzFeed News covering the technology industry, is the 2016 winner of the Larry Birger Young Business Journalist prize, honoring journalists younger than 30. He will receive the award and a $1,500 honorarium Oct. 7 at SABEW’s New York Fall Conference in midtown Manhattan.

It is the third year for the competition. The past two years’ winners, Cezary Podkul and Mina Kimes, will also be in New York to congratulate Alden.

Additionally, the judging panel chose to honor three finalists:

  • Alison Griswold, reporter, Quartz
  • David Benoit, reporter, Wall Street Journal
  • Emily Glazer, reporter, Wall Street Journal

Made possible by a $7,500 gift from rbb Communications of Miami, the award commemorates Larry 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. Josh Merkin, vice president of rbb Communications, will present the award to Alden in New York on Oct. 7. “Business journalism plays a vital role in our society, and we feel it’s important to support the next generation of great reporters. With this award, we honor Larry’s legacy while showing our appreciation for the great quality of work being produced today,” Merkin said.

Alden is a senior business reporter at BuzzFeed News, where he covers Silicon Valley startups and venture capital. His articles have pulled back the curtain on Palantir Technologies, the secretive data-analysis company, and exposed legal problems at Zenefits that led to the resignation of the startup insurance broker’s CEO. Previously, he covered Wall Street for the DealBook section of The New York Times.

“This is a serious honor, and one that I share with my editors and colleagues at BuzzFeed News,” Alden said. “I’m grateful for the many talented journalists in our industry, whose knockout work inspires me to keep trying harder.”

The judges noted that Alden covers Silicon Valley for BuzzFeed News with a shoe-leather approach to reporting: working sources, hunting down documents, and putting the pieces together. They cited his work on Palantir Technologies and Zenefits. Judges also stated that on a competitive, high-profile beat, Alden truly shines.

A total of 23 young journalists submitted entries. The judging team was made up of SABEW members Jon Chesto (judging team chair), James Madore, Marty Steffens, Rick Rothacker and Cindy Perman. “The judges were impressed with the way Will took command of the issues he covered, using exhaustive reporting and a conversational writing style. He exemplifies the old-school journalism skills that remain crucial as readers consume more of their news online and on their phones. A CEO who is hiding something definitely wouldn’t want to hear that Will is onto the story,” said Chesto, a business reporter for The Boston Globe.

“We are grateful to rbb Communications for this opportunity to advance SABEW’s commitment to supporting the next generation of business journalists. Alden has already agreed to pay it forward by helping SABEW train and recruit other young professionals,” said Kathleen Graham, executive director of SABEW.

About SABEW:

SABEW is the largest organization of business journalists in the world. For more information, contact Crystal Beasley at cbeasley@sabew.org.

About rbb Communications:

rbb is an integrated communications firm and four-time U.S. Agency of the Year. As the Champion of Breakout Brands, rbb inspires companies to create customer passion that delivers bottom-line results. rbb’s family of brands offers media relations, marketing, corporate communications, digital/social media and creative services/advertising. Specialty practices include consumer products/services, travel and leisure, health, sports and entertainment, professional services/B2B, and higher education. The firm’s global network extends across more than 50 countries through its partnership in PROI Worldwide, the largest global network of independent public-relations agencies. For more information, visit www.rbbcommunications.com or call 305-448-7450.

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