Updated March 27 at 7:04pm

Bank hiring examination, 30th anniversary book, event promotion take top honors for PBN in N.E. contest

Three firsts, three seconds, one third in annual NENPA contest

Providence Business News editorial and advertising work received three first-place awards in the annual New England Newspaper and Press Association’s 2017 Better Newspaper Competition.

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Bank hiring examination, 30th anniversary book, event promotion take top honors for PBN in N.E. contest

Three firsts, three seconds, one third in annual NENPA contest

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BOSTON – Providence Business News editorial and advertising work received three first-place awards in the annual New England Newspaper and Press Association’s 2017 Better Newspaper Competition. Those honors, as well as three second-place awards and one third-place award, were announced Saturday at the NENPA Newspaper Convention, which was held Feb. 24-25 in Boston.

PBN’s staff was recognized editorially with top honors for its 30th Anniversary book in the Special Section or Supplement category for Specialty/Niche Publications. The advertising, marketing and event staff also received first place in the Newspaper Sponsored Event Promotion category for Specialty/Niche Publications for its work promoting the newspaper’s 30th Anniversary book and the gala event held in conjunction with the celebration. In addition, PBN staff writer Eli Sherman took home first place for his story “Despite diversity gains, white men still rule R.I. banking,” in the Social Issues Feature Story category in the Specialty/Niche Publication grouping. The story examined the under-representation of women in executive positions in Rhode Island banks despite making up a majority of the banking workforce. Judges for the contest noted that the story was a “terrific, multi-faceted investigation with myriad sources.”

Second-place recognition came for Advertising General Excellence by Specialty Newspapers. This year was the first time that PBN’s advertising and marketing department applied for recognition in NENPA competitions. Also garnering second-place awards were two news stories by PBN staff writers. Sherman was recognized for his three parts of a four-part series on pension and other long-term liabilities, “The (still) looming crisis,” (the fourth part of the series, by staff writer Mary MacDonald, was not eligible based on its publication date). Contest judges recognized that the series was “an in-depth examination of one of the most serious fiscal problems in cities and states across the nation.” Former staff writer Patricia Daddona was recognized with a second place award for her story, “Is there a missing link in state job training?” examining how effective state job training programs have been in helping the state’s unemployed find gainful employment. The judges for the Education Reporting in the Weekly Newspapers with circulation greater than 6,000 noted that the story had “good interviews, and an excellent graphic kept the reader’s interest in a timely topic.”

Third-place honors went to PBN’s staff for Best Overall Website in the Specialty/Niche Publications category. Judges said “Kudos to the news and editorial team for the sheer volume of content on the site, keeping the readers engaged and wanting to come back!”

The year’s competition drew more than 3,200 entries from daily, weekly, bi-weekly and monthly publications throughout the six-state region. The competition was judged by 57 industry veterans and academics, with awards given in 81 editorial categories in both digital and print divisions.

A year ago PBN received first-place awards in the 2016 Better Newspaper Competition in the Best Mobile Application and Transportation Reporting categories, as well as second place both for Best Overall Website and best Website Design for weekly newspapers. In addition, PBN took home third place in the Government Reporting category. In NENPA’s fall Newspaper of the Year competition PBN was designated a Distinguished Newspaper among specialty newspapers.

Other newspapers in Rhode Island and Bristol Co., Mass., winning first-place honors in both editorial and advertising categories at the Boston conference included:

  • The Block Island Times – advertiser campaign, local display ad (black & white), real estate display ad, serious columnist

  • Easton Journal – racial or ethnic issue coverage

  • The Herald News, of Fall River – food page or section, front page, infographics, political columnist, spot news photo

  • The Independent, of South Kingstown – sports feature story, sports section

  • Newport Life Magazine – digital revenue building idea, human interest feature story

  • The Providence Journal – editorial writing, portrait photo, sports photo

  • The Standard-Times, of New Bedford – crime and courts reporting, feature photo, humor columnist, overall design and presentation, personality photo, photo story, science/technology reporting, serious columnist, special section or supplement

  • The Sun Chronicle, of Attleboro – advertising sales presentation

  • Taunton Daily Gazette – general news story, sports story

  • The Westerly Sun – multimedia campaign for an advertiser, special section/advertising supplement

At the organization’s annual meeting, held during the convention, PBN Editor Mark S. Murphy ended his one-year term as president.

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