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PBN 6-10 Connector series takes top national honors

PROVIDENCE BUSINESS NEWS staff writers Mary MacDonald and Eli Sherman were honored for their two-part series on the 6-10 Connector in Providence by the Society of American Business Editors and Writers.
PROVIDENCE BUSINESS NEWS staff writers Mary MacDonald and Eli Sherman were honored for their two-part series on the 6-10 Connector in Providence by the Society of American Business Editors and Writers.
3/17/17

(Updated, March 22, 1:24 p.m.)

PROVIDENCE – A two-part series by PBN staff writers Mary MacDonald and Eli Sherman on the Providence 6-10 Connector controversy took first place in the Society of American Business Editors and Writers annual Best in Business competition.

The package, which ran Oct. 28 and Nov. 4, 2016, was recognized as the best in the autos/transportation category for publications with staffs smaller than 50 (PBN has an editorial staff of eight). MacDonald’s piece, “Bridges too far gone,” which ran first, focused on the deteriorated series of bridges that form the core of the connection between routes 6 and 10 in the Olneyville section of Providence.

When Gov. Gina M. Raimondo declared that the bridges and roadbeds were in such bad shape and needed to be replaced immediately, and that the new infrastructure would take the form of the existing roads and bridges, the neighborhood was not pleased. Many wanted the state to work with the city to redesign what was seen as a flawed, community-destroying system, and take advantage of the opportunity the new construction provided to re-connect this forgotten working-class and immigrant neighborhood to the rest of the city.

Sherman’s piece, “Hope for forgotten neighborhoods,” focused on the neighborhood itself and what its residents, as well as Providence Mayor Jorge O. Elorza, wanted for the highway complex.

Judges for the contest noted that “Providence Business News got in front of an issue that is now in the headlines. Its coverage showed the obstacles in replacing a crumbling and dangerous bridge, by going beyond dollars and cents to examine the impact on people living in its shadow. We commend the PBN staff for going deep on a local topic that’s not easy to cover, yet has life-or-death implications. Special kudos for the visuals, particularly the photos of the deteriorating concrete.”

SABEW is the nation’s largest organization for business journalism, with 140 member institutions and 3,400 individual members, among them The New York Times, the Associated Press, Bloomberg Businessweek and the Los Angeles Times. The Best in Business competition was divided into three size categories – publications with editorial staffs of fewer than 50, those with 51-250 editorial staffers and those with editorial staffers larger than 250. There were 946 contest entries from 175 news outlets. This was the 22nd Best in Business contest.

The Providence Journal’s Kate Bramson took honorable mention in the explanatory category for medium-sized editorial staffs with “Following the People’s Money,” a story that gave a detailed accounting of the cost of the 38 Studios LLC debacle to the state’s taxpayers.

The SABEW BIB Awards are to be presented at the organization’s Best in Business Ceremony on April 29, to be held in Seattle as part of the organization’s annual conference.

PBN was recently recognized for editorial and advertising excellence in the Newspaper and Press Association’s 2017 Better Newspaper Competition, taking home first place honors for its 30th Anniversary special section and for Sherman’s story, “Despite diversity gains, white men still rule R.I. banking,” which examined the under-representation of women in executive positions in Rhode Island banks. The advertising and marketing department took home first-place honors for event promotion related to PBN’s 30th Anniversary celebration last year.

In June, PBN was judged the “Most Improved Publication” in the Alliance of Area Business Publishers annual editorial excellence awards program.