Tag Archives: American City Business Journals
It’s the first time that an ACBJ paper has been named a finalist for the most prestigious awards in journalism.
“I think every newsroom — not just at ACBJ but anyplace journalists work — has an unwritten goal that it wants to win a Pulitzer,” said Whit Shaw, the company’s CEO. “Being a finalist is a step in that direction. I can assure you everyone at ACBJ knows awards happen and aren’t something you control; you don’t start a series of stories like those Seattle did on Washington Mutual because you want to win prizes. You write the stories because they contain information your readers need to know.”
Staff writers Kirsten Grind and Jeanne Lang Jones and managing editor Alwyn Scott worked on the entry. The Pulitzer judges lauded the paper ”for their meticulous examination of the collapse of Washington Mutual, the biggest bank failure in U.S. history, plumbing causes and raising troubling questions about federal regulation.”
“This recognition illustrates the depth of our commitment to local readers,” said Emory Thomas Jr., the publisher of the paper and its former editor. “While others are cutting back, we are investing in the kind of high quality reporting that makes a difference for local business leaders. We’re gratified that the Pulitzer committee has acknowledged this locally important — and nationally significant — work.”
The coverage also won a Best in Business award from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers last month.
In addition, Michael Braga, Chris Davis and Matthew Doig of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune business desk were finalists in the investigative reporting category. The judges noted, “their in-depth reporting and computer analysis that unraveled $10 billion in suspicious Florida real estate transactions, triggering local and state efforts to curb abuses.”
The Sarasota paper’s coverage has also received a National Journalism Award from the Scripps Howard Foundation.
Also, Ken Bensinger and Ralph Vartabedian of the Los Angeles Times were finalists in the national reporting category for their Toyota safety coverage. The judges noted, “their tenacious reporting on how design flaws and weak federal oversight contributed to a potentially lethal problem with Toyota vehicles, resulting in corrective steps and a congressional inquiry.”
Meanwhile, Dave Leonhardt, who writes a column for The New York Times business section about the economy, was a finalist in the commentary section. The judges stated he was a finalist “for his illumination of the nation’s most pressing and complex economic concerns, from health care reform to the worst recession in decades.”
See the winners and finalists here.
TALKING BIZ NEWS EXCLUSIVE
On Friday, the Washington Business Journal will unveil a redesign, its first in five years and just 10 days before the Washington Post launches a competing weekly business newspaper called Capital Business.
In addition, the Business Journal could face additional competition from the owner of Politico, which is planning to launch a DC Metro site soon. However, the paper has struck a deal to provide the site with business news content.
Leading the charge against the attack for the American City Business Journals is Doug Fruehling, editor of the Washington Business Journal. Fruehling had been editor for the past year. Before that, he was the paper’s managing editor. He has also been managing editor of Roll Call, a reporter at the Washington Business Journal and a reporter at the Peoria Journal Star.
A graduate of Ohio University, Fruehling talked Wednesday by e-mail with Talking Biz News about the redesign and about the new competition. What follows is an edited transcript.
1. How did the redesign come about?
It was all my idea, Chris! Actually, we’ve been planning to redesign since I was named editor a year ago. We spent several months mulling options on paper and ad sizes before deciding to stay with our current specs. Then the fun part began — our creative services director Michael Stanaland went to town on everything production guys love. You know, fonts, column widths and point sizes. We went with a font, Publico, that allows us to get more words in a column inch while maintaining readability.
Like any redesign, we really did it for the readers. We felt we were producing so much news but we weren’t showcasing our best work in the print edition every week. The new design allows us to do that. There is so much news on every page, from Page 1 right on through to the back of the book.
2. What are the major changes in the redesign?
When we redesigned five years ago, we decided not to start any stories on Page 1. We had two major teasers to lead readers to stories inside the paper, and lots of tweaks. We also established a no-jump policy at the time, citing studies that show readers don’t actually jump.
We’ve decided to go with a more traditional front page this time around. We will start and jump one, two or three stories from Page 1. Other than that, the biggest change has to do with space. We have a lot more space for news. Our reporters are producing so much good content, but our paper has been heavily weighted toward softer features and how-to stories. Now we’re going hit readers over the head with news on every page. In fact, I wrote a column talking about the changes for the first issue. The headline: “New, improved — and more filling.”
3. Why do this redesign now?
As you know, newspapers need to redesign every couple of years to stay fresh and modern, just like any company’s product. We did major redesigns in 2000 and 2005, so we’re right on schedule to stay up-to-date. If you don’t redesign, your look and your features get stale.
4. You’re also beefing up your editorial staff. Explain those changes and how they will affect the paper.
Two reporters and one editor recently left the paper, so we are filling those positions. We also are adding to reporting positions. The goal is to expand our coverage area. We’ll be improving coverage of federal contracting, technology, health care and law — all sectors vitally important to the Washington economy. In years past, there have been other niche publications that have covered those areas well. But the media recession has taken its toll on them, and we decided we will no longer cede those coverage areas.
5. How much of this is based on the upcoming launch by the Washington Post of Capital Business, a weekly business newspaper in the market?
I’ve been putting our product — both content, beats and design –under the microscope since I became editor 13 months ago. So a lot of the changes have been in the works for a while. Every editor wants to put his or her stamp on the publication, and I’m no different. I’m proud that our new design, our Web effort and our coverage areas really reflect my priorities.
That said, we know competition when we see it. We know the Post will come at us strong, but we plan to go at them strong too. We thrive on competition. I guess it’s just a trait of a good journalist. We have a very strong relationship with our readers and a thorough knowledge of the business community. As our publisher likes to say, we’ve literally seen three business tabs and multiple business Web sites come and go in the last 15 years.
We have a strong brand and we will protect that brand. We’re on the highest-rated radio station in D.C. four times an hour, we get a million page views a month on our Web site, and we hold more than 50 events a year to connect with our readers and our community. We’ve been around since 1982, and we’re not going anywhere.
6. Do you foresee the paper being affected by the new Allbritton Metro project?
We’re excited to see what Allbritton does. We think their experience will go a long way in shaping the future of daily and niche journalism. Jim Brady and Erik Wemple are very innovative journalists and business people. In fact, we have reached a deal with Allbritton and several other media outlets in D.C. to provide them a daily business news feed. It’s good for both of us they don’t have to spend resources covering business news, and our stories get more exposure.
7. How do you think WBJ will stack up against this new competition?
We’ll crush them!
8. Will your beats or anything else change regarding the content?
Like I said before, expect to see more federal contracting, technology, health care and law coverage.
9. How much support have you gotten from the parent company, American City Business Journals, regarding all of this?
Our parent company is 110 percent behind us! OK, seriously, as a journalist I need to strike that phrase from my vocabulary. But really, I’ve been so impressed with how they’ve stepped up to support us. Our CEO, Whit Shaw, has been personally involved since the beginning. We put together a plan to meet and beat the competition head on, and corporate has given us the resources to do so. There’s nothing like a competitor to get a journalist energized. Most of our papers around the country know that we are in a battle for readers, and they’re all doing what they can to help us out.
10. Weekly business papers seem to have fared pretty well during the recession in terms of subscriptions and ad revenue. How has the WBJ done the past few years?
Well, I think the fact that the Post wants a piece of the pie explains it all. We’ve fared incredibly well. Business news is more important now than ever. Our paid readership has been up six straight years, and our ad remains strong. We did not have any layoffs, and we are coming out of the recession in an incredibly strong position. It’s definitely an exciting time to be a business journalist in Washington.
TALKING BIZ NEWS EXCLUSIVE
American City Business Journals, the Charlotte-based company that operates 40 weekly business newspapers, has hired a former business journalist to be its editorial director/content development and strategy, a new position.
Mark Pawlosky has been working for more than a decade in online editorial positions, spending nearly 12 years at Microsoft, where he was acting general manager and editor in chief of MSN.com and editor in chief of MSN Money and CNBC.com.
Pawlosky is expected to work with both the company’s traditional print operations and its growing online operations. He has already started and is based at the company’s Seattle paper, the Puget Sound Business Journal. American City’s papers have seen an overall increase in subscriptions in the past year despite the industry downturn.
“Mark gives me someone whose focus is the future — in a more strategic way than operationally,” said Whit Shaw, the CEO of American City, to Talking Biz News in an e-mail. “As we work more on the business journal of the future, for example, Mark will be in the middle of that.”
Shaw added: “So often in an economic environment like today’s, companies tend to withdraw a bit and focus all of their energy inward. That’s not a bad thing unless you get bogged down in operational ‘weeds’ — minutiae that in the long run doesn’t really make a whole hell of a lot of difference to your business. Hiring Mark helps us make sure that doesn’t happen.”
Pawlosky, a University of Missouri graduate, helped launch MSNBC.com’s news operation in 1996. He was also a reporter for The Wall Street Journal and spent 12 years with American City in news positions in Kansas City, Washington and Charlotte.
“I I liked the fact that Mark has a business journal background but also has more recent experience online,” said Shaw.
For the last few years, Pawlosky has run a digital media consulting business called Launch Media.
Ray Shaw, the former chairman of American City Business Journals, which operates 40 business weekly newspapers throughout the country, has been named to the North Carolina Journalism Hall of Fame, according to a story in the Charlotte Business Journal.
The story states, “The N.C. Halls of Fame, based in the UNC School of Journalism and Mass Communication, honor individuals who have made outstanding, career-long contributions to their fields. Honorees have made significant contributions to the state.
“Shaw died July 19 of complications from a yellow jacket sting. He was 75.
“He joined ACBJ in 1989 after taking early retirement as president of Dow Jones & Co., publisher of The Wall Street Journal. In his 20 years as chairman and chief executive of ACBJ, the company moved its headquarters to Charlotte from Kansas City, doubled the number of weekly business journals it publishes and expanded into magazines and other media. Along the way, employment grew to more than 1,900 from about 850.”
Read more here.
Media analyst Ken Doctor has published an excerpt from his new book, Newsonomics: Twelve New Trends That Will Shape the News You Get, on PaidContent.org about the current evolution taking place in business journalism.
Here is an excerpt:
“We also see lots of niches within the business niche—as we do in all niches. Business-to-business, tech, gadget, stocks, and lots more. A sampling of these brands: AllThingsD (owned by News Corporation), TechCrunch, SeekingAlpha, and paidContent (owned by The Guardian).
“Not to be forgotten are the local niche plays, best represented by American City Business Journals and Dolan Media. They cater to highly knowledgeable local business audiences. Though their readerships are small, in the five-digit range in most metro areas, their target demographics are very desirable and increasingly well used by business-oriented advertisers online.
“The journalism approach here may be key. ‘Weeklies are doing it right,’ says Chris Roush, who runs TalkingBizNews.com, a blog covering the sector. ‘The average metro daily will do 95 percent of its stories about publicly traded companies—which are 1 percent of the companies out there.’ That gives the weeklies a lot of firms—big privately held companies and all small businesses—to report on that would otherwise be uncovered.”
Read more here.
The Washington Business Journal, an American City Business Journals paper, is looking to hire up to five new business journalists for its staff, according to editor Doug Fruehling.
The paper recently lost Jonathan O’Connell, one of its top reporters, to Capital Business, the new weekly business newspaper from the Washington Post starting next month. Associate editor Tim Burn also recently left.
“We are both filling vacancies and growing,” said Fruehling. “We are looking for reporters specializing in technology, economic development and government contracting, and we have at least one editor position open.” The paper currently has a staff of 18.
Fruehling seemed unconcerned about the new competition from Capital Business.
“Most of our hiring relates to the normal course of business; we had three people leave recently,” he said. “But we are obviously aware of Capital Business and are making sure that we have the right employees to meet and beat any new competition that comes our way.”
Jonathan O’Connell, one of the top reporters at the Washington Business Journal, has resigned for a position with Capital Business, the new weekly business newspaper being started by the Washington Post.
A memo from Washington Business Journal editor Doug Fruehling posted on FishbowlDC stated, “Jonathan has been a tremendous asset at the Business Journal, covering the D.C. government and nonprofits for nearly three years. He is a former employee of the year, and, to be honest, a great all-around guy. I will never be able to say enough good things about him, and we will miss him terribly. He was not only a valued employee but a good friend.
“In other personnel news, Tim Burn has also left the company after nearly three years as our associate editor overseeing our Focus and BizSmarts sections.
“We’ll be looking for new blood to fill these positions. If you know anyone in the job market, please have them contact Liz or me.”
Read more here.
Tucker Echols of the Washington Business Journal has more details on the launch of Capital Business, a competing business newspaper to begin publication next month by the Washington Post, mainly from an interview with editor Dan Beyers.
Echols writes, “In an interview, Beyers said Capital Business will try to help the Washington business community navigate the region’s economy. He hopes ‘every article’ in the publication will generate a business lead for readers or an idea about a business opportunity.
“Asked about the Post’s new publication, Alex Orfinger, publisher of the Washington Business Journal, said: ‘It does not surprise us that the Post wants to cover our vibrant local business market. I’m confident our 28-year commitment to this community can withstand a stronger competitive environment.’
“The Post will hire new reporters for Capital Business, but Beyers would not say how many. His team of reporters will work in the Post’s newsroom, sharing and collaborating on business stories with the daily paper’s business reporters, Beyers said.”
Read more here.
Monica Guzman of SeattlePI.com writes about the new media outlets that have cropped up in Seattle since the Post-Intelligencer stopped publishing last year.
Guzman looks at TechFlash, a site launched by the Puget Sound Business Journal being run by former P-I business reporters Todd Bishop and John Cook.
She writes, “The site, a unit of the Business Journal hosted on its own Web domain, serves up more than just original reports on the Seattle tech and venture capital scene by Cook, Bishop and contributor Eric Engleman.
“Bishop and Cook also round up guest posts from local techies, maintain a geek guide to Seattle and organize events — like the popular Techflash ping-pong tournament — to keep people talking.
“‘It’s not traditional ink and paper journalism or even bits and bytes journalism — it’s in-person journalism,’ Bishop said. ‘Journalism isn’t only about giving a community information. It’s about helping to build that community up.’”
Read more here.
The Washington Post confirmed Monday its plans to launch a weekly subscription newspaper, to be called Capital Business.
It will compete against the Washington Business Journal, an American City Business Journals paper. The paper will be delivered with the Post for the first month.
Capital Business will feature enterprise reporting, business analysis, commentary, industry trends, technology features, highlight entrepreneurs and more.
Much of the coverage in Capital Business will be segmented to focus attention on the area’s largest industries, such as government contracting, technology, finance, commercial real estate, national associations and the legal community.
Capital Business will also focus on the impact politics and policy have on business and technology, shedding light on difficult issues business owners and executives need to understand.
The paper will launch on April 19. Dan Beyers was named editor, and Arnie Applebaum was named general manager of the new publication.
Beyers has been with The Post for nearly 20 years and was previously a senior topic editor overseeing coverage of business, health, science and environment issues both in the paper and online.
Read the announcement here.