PBN garners 3 awards in national biz pub competition

ATLANTA – For the third time in the last seven years, PBN.com was judged to be one of the three best websites for business publications in the Alliance of Area Business Publishers annual Editorial Excellence contest. The award for PBN.com was one of three that Providence Business News earned at the AABP annual competition that honors the best work of business publications across the nation and beyond.

Taking home PBN’s only first-place (or gold) award was the three-part series, “Rising Waters,” in the category of “Best local coverage of a national business/economic story” for medium-sized newspapers. The pieces, published on Jan. 19, Feb. 16 and March 23, 2018, were authored by former PBN staff writer Eli Sherman. They examined the current and expected damage that climate change and accompanying sea level rise is having and will continue to have on Rhode Island.

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The competition’s judges – all faculty members of the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism – said the series’ “great data reporting provided a strong structure for a powerful set of stories that warn the community that Rhode Island is facing significant danger due to climate change. The increasing number of ocean storms alone – combined with rising seas – mean that Providence homeowners and businesses face a growing challenge. More than ringing a warning bell, the reporter has carefully laid out the details of what’s going to happen next.”

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EARNING RECOGNITION in the annual AABP editorial excellence competition were a single story about the state considering taking on debt and the effects of rising sea levels today and in the future for the Ocean State.
EARNING RECOGNITION in the annual AABP editorial excellence competition were a single story about the state considering taking on debt and a series of stories about the effects of rising sea levels today and in the future for the Ocean State.

Earning silver (or second-place) honors in the “Best explanatory journalism” category for medium-sized newspapers was another Sherman piece, “How much debt is too much for Rhode Island?” The story used the ballot initiative to approve half a billion dollars in bonds to repair or replace Rhode Island schools in bad physical condition to examine just how the state’s finances would be able to handle taking on the debt.

The judges said that “the challenge of paying for school projects daunts many states. This story brings in context from other areas along with scads of data to answer the very real question posed in the headline. The reporting brings transparency to a complicated issue.”

PBN.com earned a bronze award for the best website among all publications. The judges said, “Everything that’s on the page feels intentional. Key icons to denote subscriber-only content show readers the value of a subscription. The use of different headings and color blocks do a nice job of attracting the eye to featured sections, for example, health care updates, calendar and events.”

The award follows a redesign of the homepage earlier this year to expose and emphasize more stories to visitors to the site.

PBN’s awards were among 116 given out by AABP from 511 entries contributed by 41 business newspapers and magazines in the United States, Canada and Australia. The awards dinner was held in Atlanta.

“The high-quality journalism being done by these publications keeps readers thoroughly up-to-date and, importantly, includes a lot of data, context and historical perspective that are especially important as truth increasingly gets drowned in a flood of social media snippets,” said Reuben Stern, who coordinated the judging at the University of Missouri. “The winning entries once again combine solid research, great sourcing, excellent on-the-ground reporting, deep community knowledge and creative thinking.”

At last year’s AABP competition, PBN earned silver awards for best newspaper and best website as well as for best editorial and best body of work by a single reporter.

Earlier this year, PBN was awarded first place for general excellence for a specialty publication for the second consecutive year by the New England Newspaper and Press Association.