Tag Archives: Awards

Hamilton Spectator

Canadian biz reporter wins award for steel coverage

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Senior business reporter Steve Arnold of the Hamilton Spectator in Canada has won this year’s SONG Labour Journalism Award for his reporting on how foreign domination has impacted Hamilton’s steel industry and its workers.

A story on the Spectator’s website states, “Arnold’s reporting took readers ‘into the inner worlds of multinational steel giants ArcelorMittal Dofasco and U.S. Steel, and into the living rooms of steelworkers worried about their pensions, job security and meaningful employment,’ said Paul Morse, president of Unifor Local 87-M, Southern Ontario Newsmedia Guild.

“Morse gave credit to Arnold’s eye for detail. The business journalist tracked down employees, former executives, politicians and union representatives to create a full picture of the company’s ownership changes and their impacts on labour relations.

“Randy Kitt, national chair of Unifor’s Media Industry Council said the series ‘speaks to the realities of globalization on our national economy.’

“Unifor is the new national super-union born of the merger of Canada’s two largest private-sector unions, the Canadian Auto Workers and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada.”

Read more here. Read Arnold’s steel industry coverage here.

Book finalists

Finalists names for business book of the year

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The Financial Times and Goldman Sachs have named the six books selected as finalists for Business Book of the Year 2013.

They are:

  • The Alchemists: Inside the Secret World of Central Bankers (UK subtitle); Three Central Bankers and a World on Fire (US subtitle) by Neil Irwin
  • Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think by Viktor Mayer-Schönberger and Kenneth Cukier
  • The Billionaire’s Apprentice: The Rise of The Indian-American Elite and The Fall of The Galleon Hedge Fund by Anita Raghavan
  • The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon by Brad Stone
  • Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg
  • Making it Happen: Fred Goodwin, RBS and the Men Who Blew Up the British Economy by Iain Martin

The winner will be named Nov. 18 at an awards dinner in London.

Henry-Dubroff

Biz journal founder receives entrepreneurship award

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Henry Dubroff, the founder, editor and chairman of the Pacific Coast Business Times, recenly received the Joe Nida Entrepreneurial Spirit Award.

A story on the paper’s website states, “The award recognizes exception work promoting entrepreneurship on the South Coast. ‘Henry has been at the heart of the success of so many entrepreneurs, businesses, and organizations throughout our region — including our own,’ California Coast Venture Forum CEO Jerry Knotts said in a statement. ‘We are extremely honored to present The Joe Nida Spirit Award to Henry, to acknowledge his exhaustive efforts on behalf of entrepreneurs and to salute him as an example of entrepreneurship and clean business growth.’

“Dubroff founded the Business Times, the largest financial and business news publication between Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area, in 2000 after serving as the editor of the Denver Business Journal and as business editor at The Denver Post. He received a bachelor’s degree from Lafayette ZCollege and a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University. He is a longtime board member and past president of the board of governors of the Society of American Business Writers and Editors, is a member of the council of advisors for the dean of the California Luthern University School of Management and serves on the boards of the United Way of Santa Barbara County, Ventura County Economic Development Association and the San Luis Obispo County Economic Vitality Corp. His previous awards include winning the Small Business Journalist of the Year and American City Business Journals’ General Excellence Award.”

Read more here.

SABEW

SABEW to recognize top young business journalist

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The Society of American Business Editors and Writers will honor the nation’s top young business journalist with a new award named after one of its past presidents.

The Larry Birger Young Business Journalist Award will be presented March 29 at SABEW’s annual spring conference at the Cronkite School in Phoenix.

Made possible by a $5,000 gift from rbb Public Relations of Miami, Fla., the award will commemorate Birger, the 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. “We want this to a be a reminder of the importance of good journalism.”

The award is defined for professional journalists up to age 30.

“We’re pleased to do this in Larry’s honor,” said Kevin G. Hall, SABEW president. “This supports the next generation of great business journalists. More than ever, we are committed to spotlighting the best in business journalism.”

The initial award will be decided by a panel of four judges – a SABEW officer and three others — and presented at the 2014 SABEW conference.  SABEW will award a cash prize of $500 to the winner and pay for that journalist’s expenses to pick up the award. Consideration will be for an individual’s body of work.

Applicants will be asked to write a letter detailing their work.  They would also be asked to include a letter of recommendation from a supervising editor.

Jurors would consider applicants during January and determine the winner the first week of February.

“Besides this being a fitting tribute to Larry Birger, this is a recognition of the essential role that journalists (and journalism) play in our business, in our society and in our everyday life,” said Lisa Ross, president at rbb.

Respected by his peers and revered by younger journalists who worked with him, the cigar-chomping Birger was a pioneer in business journalism, recalled Gail DeGeorge, a later SABEW president who also was business editor at the Herald.

Passionate about the importance of covering the local business community, Birger launched Business Monday at the Herald in July 1980, creating a publication whose format was copied by dozens of newspapers across the country.

“He was a guy who wasn’t afraid to pound his fist on the table with the higher-ups to devote more resources to local business coverage,’’ said David Satterfield, who worked as a reporter at the business section for Birger and later became business editor. “He was a very strong proponent of local business coverage.”

He also mentored many. That aspect of his personality surprised Bruce Rubin after Birger became a partner in Rubin Barney & Birger the precursor to rbb in 1994.  Rubin remembers young associates at the firm, many of whom had never worked at newspapers, spending sessions with Birger on Friday mornings in the conference room.  “You could have blown me over with a feather how the young kids and Larry liked each other,” said Rubin.

Shortly after being diagnosed with cancer, Birger died Dec. 18, 1998, at age 71. The conference room at rbb still bears his name and a scholarship at the School of Business at the University of Miami was established in his honor.

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Nation’s top personal finance reporters named

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Tennessee television reporter Don Dare, along with National Public Radio senior editor Uri Berliner and CNNMoney.com personal finance writer Blake Ellis, are being recognized for outstanding reporting on personal finance issues.

A story on the website of WATE, the television station where Dare works, states, “The Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) and the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE) named Dare one of the winners of the 2013 RTDNA/NEFE Award for Personal Finance Reporting.

“The organization announced the award winners Wednesday. Dare and two other winners will be honored in a presentation later this month in Anaheim, Calif. at the national convention of RTDNA, the Society of Professional Journalists and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.

“Dare, along with National Public Radio Senior Editor Uri Berliner and CNNMoney.com Personal Finance Writer Blake Ellis, are being recognized for outstanding reporting on personal finance issues.

“Each winner receives a $1000 cash prize. They will present a training seminar entitled Excellence in Financial Reporting: How Award-Winning Journalists Get it Done at the Anaheim conference.

“Dare is the only winner for television reporting. His award is for a series of 6 On Your Side reports on debt issues, options and answers.”

Read more here.

Barlett & Steele award

Deadline for Barlett & Steele is approaching

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There’s still time to submit your work for the 2013 Barlett and Steele Awards for Investigative Business Journalism, which offer $8,000 in prizes.

Named for two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists Don Barlett and Jim Steele, the awards were first given in 2007 and have featured a gold award of $5,000 and a silver prize of $2,000. Due to the growing number of exceptional submissions each year, a bronze award of $1,000 was added in 2011.

Entries must have appeared in print or online in the year ended June 30, 2013.

The deadline to apply online is Aug. 1. The awards are operated by the Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism.

Last year’s winners were The New York Times, USA Today and a joint project by The Charlotte Observer and The (Raleigh) News & Observer, which won gold, silver and bronze awards, respectively.

tom secunda - official headshot (2)

Bloomberg’s Secunda in charge of technological revolution

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Bloomberg co-founder Tom Secunda was ranked No. 1 on Institutional Investor’s Tech 50 list, which recognizes innovators in the financial services industry.

Institutional Investor writes, “Secunda and his team 3,000 technologists, meanwhile, have continuyed to produce and product innovations at a breakneck — and accelerating pace.

“Last November, Bloomberg launched its App Portal for third parties such as software companies, financial firms and academics to offer data analysis, visualization and other tools. Secunda, vice chairman and global head of financial products and services, sees it as a way “to embrace innovation and fuel creativity” and to “enhance the user experience and grow the value of the Bloomberg Professional service.”

“Other recent developments include integrating Twitter feeds into the terminal work flow; filing to to serve as a swap execution facility; releasing Instant Bloomberg Dealing, a chat-based platform for foreign exchange trading; and announcing Bloomberg Beta, a $75 million venture capital fund with a handful of high-tech start-ups in its portfolio.”

Read more here.

Emmy

ABC, CBS, CNBC and PBS nominated for biz Emmys

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ABC and CBS were each nominated twice for outstanding business and economic reporting in a regularly scheduled newscast on Thursday when the 34th Annual  News and Documentary Emmy Awards were announced by the  National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.

In the category of outstanding business and economic reporting in a news magazine, CBS and PBS received two nominations, while NBC received one nomination. Both of the CBS nominations in this category came from “60 Minutes.”

Meanwhile CNBC, CNN, HBO and PBS were the nominees for outstanding long form business and economics reporting. The CNBC nomination was for “The Costco Craze” with Carl Quintanilla.

Bloomberg TV’s nomination was in the outstanding graphic design and art direction category for “The Economy of Caterpillar.”

The winners will be announced Oct. 1 at a ceremony at  Frederick P. Rose Hall, Home of Jazz at Lincoln  Center, located in the Time Warner Center in New York City.

To see all of the nominees, go here.

DCEO July August cover (2)

The D CEO magazine brand of business journalism

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Christine Perez is managing editor of D CEO magazine in Dallas and founding editor of its D Real Estate Daily news site.

Prior to joining D, she was a longtime commercial real estate reporter for the Dallas Business Journal and served as a columnist for National Real Estate Investor magazine. Before that she worked for various business publications in Kansas City and Minneapolis. She’s also the author of a book on the Corrigans, a notable real estate family in Dallas.

Christine Perez (2)Perez has been recognized with national and regional journalism awards—two for a report on former HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson, which sparked a federal investigation. Most recently she earned a bronze award in the “Best Body of Work by a Single Writer” category in AABP’s 2013 Editorial Excellence Awards.

D CEO won five gold awards at the AAPB conference last weekend in Nashville, including best magazine, best feature and best profile.

Talking Biz News asked Perez about the magazine’s approach to business journalism. Here is what she told us:

So how does a city magazine go about covering business in a way that’s unique to other media in its market? At D CEO, the business title of D Magazine Partners in Dallas, we do it by focusing in-depth on top North Texas executives. Through our intimate storytelling approach, readers learn how the experiences of these c-level execs help shape their leadership strategies—and the companies they run.

In the current issue, for example, Steve Jacob writes about Bert Marshall, the new CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas, and how he’s bringing a public-health sensibility to the post. Readers get solid information on the company, as well as rich details about Marshall’s upbringing as the son of a nomadic oil executive:

Marshall vividly recalls the shantytowns outside the Libyan capital of Tripoli, a landscape dominated by clapboard lean-to tin-roof dwellings. It was his first glimpse of abject poverty. Such early experiences “and travel inevitably shape you,” he says. As a result, he adds, “I am a firm believer in diversity. I embrace different cultures and people.”

A member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, Marshall himself is a member of a minority group. His great-great grandmother was named Green Feather. Although he’s only 1/64th Native American, his unbroken lineage gives him Cherokee voting rights. So it’s not so surprising that an Indian headdress and shield are mounted on the wall of his 15th-floor office in Richardson.

In another story, D CEO Executive Editor Glenn Hunter gives readers an inside look at two well-known families (one of which is notoriously press-shy) that own iconic Dallas shopping centers. He writes about their intense rivalry, as they battle for affluent consumers and luxury tenants like Valentino, Versace, Dior and Chanel.

A third feature is a collection of shorter profiles on all 48 Dallas area Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year contenders, plus Ross Perot and Ross Perot Jr., who were presented with a special award as part of the program. For this story, I was able to spend more than four hours with the Perots. We didn’t have enough space in D CEO for some of the fun nuggets that emerged during the interview—like stories about the time young Ross Jr. and his father were on a U.S. military submarine, trying to outrun the Russians; or how Ross Sr. managed to get out of paying our lunch bill—so we ran a separate story in D Magazine.

Along with three or four longer (2,500- to 4,000-word) features, each issue of D CEO includes regular industry columns (commercial real estate, law, and technology; healthcare will launch in October), plus a number of standing features — Breakfast With D CEO, You Need to Know, My Office, and Meet the CEO — as well as a back-page Bottom Line column written by Steve Kaskovich, a business editor at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Launched in 2006, D CEO comes out nine times a year (up from eight in 2012); we combine the Jan/Feb, May/June, and July/August issues. We may go up to 10 at some point, but nine is a schedule that seems to work well for everyone for now.

We have a lean editorial staff — essentially, two editors and an editorial assistant. Regular columnists write the industry columns; for other stories, we rely on a stable of talented freelancers. A team of three interns helps with fact-checking and writing briefs for our news sites, D Real Estate Daily and D Healthcare Daily, another important part of our business media platform.

D CEO is not afraid to invest time, resources, or pages to achieve desired results. Features may take three or four or even six months to pull together. For a report on U.S. Trade Representative and former Dallas mayor Ron Kirk, we flew the writer to Washington, D.C. I’m heading to California next month to interview a Dallas CEO who has a number of business interests there.

That being said, Glenn and I have learned to work within budgetary constraints — as has our art director, Hamilton Hedrick, whose creativity and impact cannot be overstated.

In the May/June issue, for example, we profiled ReelFX CEO Steve O’Brien. Hamilton came up with the idea of incorporating characters from an upcoming ReelFX movie into the photos, taken by our outstanding in-house photographer, Elizabeth Lavin. (I especially love the shot of the turkeys photocopying their “butts.”)

For a story on the CEO of a sports memorabilia company, Hamilton recruited two other employees to give their boss a Gatorade-style trading card “shower.” And for a feature on our Top Financial Executives Awards program, which could easily have veered into “boring” territory, Hamilton and Elizabeth scouted estate sales and found an old desk and adding machine, and built the creative concept around that.

The resulting photos, shot at our office, are dramatic — and cohesive. Overall, D CEO strives for a luxury magazine feel.

Along with our magazine and two news verticals, D CEO also hosts a number of events, most of which are invite-only, to help preserve the quality of the networking experience and to align with our mission of connecting c-level execs.

One key strategy: D CEO intentionally practices collective ambition. Our entire group (editorial, art, production, sales, audience development, and marketing) meets as a team every other week to share information and ideas. We try to take a collaborative approach to everything we do, while at the same time respecting the sales-editorial divide and other boundaries.

D CEO began holding the biweekly meetings about 18 months ago, and the results from rowing in the same direction are now being realized. Ad sales are up significantly in 2013, we’re continuing to add staff, and we’ve launched several new initiatives — with others in the works.

We think there’s a real need for a magazine like D CEO in Dallas, not only because of the region’s size and prominence, but because it’s a top corporate relocation market, with new executives moving in on a regular basis. D CEO helps them get to know the local leadership class.

Our readers tell us they view the magazine as a peer. It all comes back to the connecting and the storytelling. We’re fortunate to be in an area where there’s no shortage of interesting executives and companies to cover.

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A Loeb Award winner discusses her stories

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Mandy Locke was born and reared in Shelbyville, Tenn., where she started her journalism career as a high school student covering the Tennessee walking horse industry.

After graduating from the University of Virginia, she worked at the Vineyard Gazette in Edgartown, Mass., before joining The (Raleigh) News & Observer in 2004 to report on the criminal justice system. She has won numerous North Carolina Press Association awards for breaking news and investigations.

On Tuesday, Locke and her News & Observer colleague David Raynor won a national Gerald Loeb Award for their three-part series “Ghost Workers.” Loeb Awards are the highest award to receive in business journalism.

Lock and Raynor revealed the competitive trick many contractors in North Carolina have used to win bids: they cheat.  The series details the ways in which worker misclassification and other tax and labor law violations hurt not only construction workers but contractors and the state itself.  Sadly, lax enforcement and poor inter-agency communication has allowed the cheaters to win, and has threatened the future of contractors who do play by the rules.

In part one of the series, “Cheating Businesses Make It Tough for Honest Employers,” Locke tells the story of an honest contractor who is losing business because he won’t cheat.  Part two, “Injured Worker Pays for Employer’s Gamble,” profiles Clemente Hernandez Gonzalez, who was paralyzed in an accident at work but must now fight for just compensation because his employer misclassified him as an independent contractor.  In the final third part of the series, “Inept Bureaucracy Lets Dishonest Businesses Win,” Locke and Raynor report that segmented information and bureaucratic “silos” have helped create a bidding environment in which cheaters win.

Locke spoke Thursday with Talking Biz News about the series and how it was reported and written. What follows is an edited transcript.

LoebLogoHow did the idea for the series come about?

My work on these issues began earlier in 2012 and quite innocently. I was writing a story for Sunshine Week about the trend of private companies using the public records law to get information from government. One of the companies I learned about had been wrestling with the state Industrial Commission to get its database of companies and their workers’ comp policies. I wondered why, so I called the company’s owner. His business model wasn’t particularly interesting or relevant to my reporting, but he told me that he thought North Carolina had a big problem. He couldn’t account for as many policies as there should be based on the number of companies in our state requires to carry insurance.

I decided to take a look myself. We got a copy of the database, and Raynor worked hard to clean it and account for individual policies. Then, we used some simple math. There should have been at least 170,000 companies carrying it. The database revealed only 140,000. I double checked with the Rate Bureau (which collects the data) to make sure our count was accurate.

The problem of uninsured employers had plagued the Industrial Commission for years, though little had been done to stop it. I talked to current and former employees of the commission and searched their database of cases to find some compelling examples. It was a problem in plain sight.

We had a pretty good run of stories about this issue in April and May. State leaders promised reform, and the IC woke up.

During this collection of stories, I started to hear from all sorts of business people about all sorts of problems. I heard from Doug Burton, a masonry company owner. (He was highlighted in day one of the series). He was the first person to mention to me the problem of misclassification, though I’d seen the issue of subcontractors arise in some of the workers comp cases I had studied. The more I learned, the more I realized this was an important story.

I also heard from other employers who told me about the scheme of ghost policies. I got busy searching the database for a good case to explore and found the Worrell/ Gonzalez case.

I convinced Mr. Burton to let me use his business struggles to tell readers about the problem of misclassification. He eventually agreed and opened up his business records and schooled me on the masonry business.

Where did you begin your reporting?

As I mentioned above, my first entree was Doug Burton. I studied his business and spent quite a bit of time with him in those early days. I read all I could about the problem and what other states were doing to tackle it. I spoke with an expert at SAS. I knew very little about payroll taxes and profit margins in the construction industry, so my early weeks were spent talking to as many people as I could who could educate me.

How did you find contractors willing to talk on the record?

My main characters like Burton came to me because of my workers’ compensation stories. A few others, like the Baker brothers, had written a letter to the editor after some of my stories. The others I found by scouring workers compensation cases. For as many as were willing to speak openly and freely with me, many, many more weren’t. Business people like to guard their personal details, and I needed complete disclosure.

You used a lot of paystubs and other paper documents that aren’t public record. How did you get those?

After we decided to focus on masonry to explain the scheme of misclassification, sources directed me to Martin’s Bricklaying, a big player whom they had heard was misclassifying workers. Another source introduced me to a former employee of Martin’s, and that worker became my ambassador to other bricklayers. He shared pay stubs he had from time working with Martin’s and contacted old coworkers to do the same.

Because of their immigration status, some were too scared to speak, but they were willing to share paperwork through my ambassador. Also, Martin’s bricklaying had a pending workers compensation claim from a former employee. While none of those records were at a public stage at the Industrial Commission, I convinced the employee’s lawyer to share paystubs from that worker. In short, I had to navigate a network of undocumented workers, quickly earn their trust and convince them of the value of my story. Some days were particularly challenging, and I had the weight of trying to ensure I wasn’t endangering them by using them as subjects.

Some contractors were not willing to talk to you. What steps did you take to try to get them on the record?

I worked really hard to try to get the owner of Martin’s Bricklaying, and I started early in the process. I called him multiple times, and spoke to his wife two of those times. She assured me she would share a message. I got his cell phone number and left messages there. I went to his home, and while he wasn’t there, I left a message with a relative. I went to worksites where I was told I might find him.

Finally, I sent a registered letter explaining to him what I wanted to talk with him about and what the stories would say. I had the great benefit of hearing about his business in his own words from his application to become a Historically Underutilized Business with the state. I’m confident he knew I wanted to speak to him and that he had every opportunity to connect with me.

The only other contractor I can recall that I wasn’t able to capture was one of the masonry contractors who often hired Martin’s. I left multiple phone messages with his assistant on his cell and home phones over a course of weeks. She assured me he’d received the messages and would call if he liked. I also emailed both him and his son, I seem to recall.

How long did the reporting take? And then the writing and editing?

I spent most of April writing and reporting exclusively about workers’ compensation problems. In May, I started to explore these other issues. June and July were devoted to more reporting and juggling a few other unrelated stories. I spent four days writing the stories. Steve Riley and I took a week to edit, then it was off to copy editors and designers who worked for another week, while Steve and I did massive fact checking and polishing. The stories ran mid-August.

How did you use state databases to improve the storyline?

The database of employers and workers comp policies was critical to both the April stories as well as our August series. In August, we used the database to illustrate missed opportunities with state officials who do health and safety inspections for businesses. We compared OSHA records with the database to show how many possible opportunities there may have been to detect employers without insurance. I simply wanted to illustrate lost opportunities for how agencies could work together to find cheating businesses.

Also, the IC has a searchable database of opinions rendered in contested workers’ compensation cases. I found a great many uninsured cases there once I figured out some key words to use in searches.

Has anything been done about the “ghost policies”?

The governor appointed a task force after our series to explore all of these issues. That group recommended ghost policies be eliminated. That effort, though, hasn’t been spearheaded at the legislature.

What was the most surprising thing you found out in your reporting?

I was surprised at how blatantly some employers broke the laws and how easily they avoided detection. I think we all expect some of this would happen in the free market, but even with government funded projects with a fairly high level of scrutiny, this still occurred.

How did you and David work together in putting the series together?

David was a huge support in analyzing and cleaning the databases we studied. The insurance policy database was pretty dirty, so he worked hard to make sure we were making sound conclusions.

Some news researchers at the paper also contributed. What did they do?

News researchers offered help in trying to find alternate contacts (phone, email) for some of the people I needed to track down.