Providence Business News earned four awards, including two first place, or “Gold,” honors in the Alliance of Area Business Publishers annual Editorial Excellence contest.

The Norwalk, Conn.-based association’s 2021 awards were announced on June 23 during a virtual ceremony. AABP represents approximately 65 publications in North America.

PBN staff writer Nancy Lavin earned first place among medium-sized publications for best body of work by a single writer for four cover stories published in 2020. They include stories on solar farms facing a backlash across Rhode Island; whether Rhode Island was ready to reopen its economy in May 2020; whether the state can level the field for minority business owners and on R.I.’s She-Cession.

The judges, faculty members at the University of Missouri School of Journalism, commented that, “every article in Nancy Lavin’s portfolio asks important questions and answers them with authority and masterful reporting. Why don’t minority business owners trust banks? Why have working women been hit so hard by the pandemic? She uses facts, data and the techniques of a sociologist to discover the questions and then turns to her superb writing talents to deliver the well-informed answers.”

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Lavin and fellow PBN staffers Mary MacDonald and James Bessette also earned a Gold award among medium-sized publications in the category of best recurring feature for their contributions to PBN’s monthly Everybody’s Business conversation with minority business owners and leaders.

The judges said the feature “gives a platform to those whose voices are not always present. Unflinching questions about racism, discrimination, trust and acceptance are met with astute, insightful answers.”

For the fifth time in the last nine years, PBN was judged to be one of the three best websites for business publications of all sizes in the competition, earning a third place, or Bronze, award.

“There is a nice mix of breaking news and features, with the availability of both free and premium content reserved specifically for subscribers,” said the judges. “The website had a nice touch by dividing stories by relevant topics and also by subject matter. The site was simple and easy to navigate.”

PBN also earned a second place, or “Silver,” award among medium-sized publications in the category for best local coverage of a national business or economic story for in-depth looks by former staff writers Elizabeth Graham and Alexa Gagosz at the challenges facing Rhode Island nursing homes during the pandemic.

The judges commented that, “The writers offer a vivid account of the stress faced by nursing home administrators and caregivers as they fought to keep patients and their business models healthy. The stories deftly weave together financial details, historical context and personal accounts.”

In April, PBN earned eight awards from the New England Newspaper and Press Association, including three first-place honors, during the 2021 New England Newspaper Convention.