Up Front: August 2005

Consistency

For the third year in a row, a story by Senior Editor Ed Martin won the gold prize for best magazine feature in the Alliance (formerly Association) of Area Business Publications Editorial Excellence Awards — the fifth time in six years a writer for this magazine has claimed top prize in that category. Pieces by Contributing Editor Irwin Speizer won it in 2000 and 2001.

Here’s what the judges, members of the University of Missouri journalism faculty, had to say about Ed’s cover story on executive gambling (November 2004), which brought home the gold this year. “A story about running a business into the ground as the result of a gambling addiction is the type of creative idea that’s bound to attract reader attention. Using strong imagery that describes lives in free fall, the author captures the tragedy of a recreational diversion that slowly turns into a compulsion.

“This feature reads like a psychological thriller combined with solid business journalism as it narrates the implications of management that’s too willing to roll the dice.”

This was the second year in a row we captured the top prize for best headlines in the open category for newspapers and magazines. “These heads attract attention with their nice word play, but they also match the tone of the story without sensationalizing. This headline portfolio offers a nice variety of approaches. Notable: In a story about State Auditor Ralph Campbell’s effort to root out misuse of state property, the headline says, ‘State gets taste of Campbell’s snoops.’”

And it was the third consecutive year we’ve taken the bronze award for best regional business magazine: “Business North Carolina contains some of the best writing in the category, from profiles of a black college president to issue stories on timber companies, a Merck vaccine plant and an NBA team. The stories are packaged in a straight-forward manner that’s clean and simple and accessible to any reader.”

Ed’s cover story on Raleigh lawyer Wade Smith (January 2004) won the silver prize for best magazine profile. (He won gold prizes in the category in 2002 and 2003.) “Martin accomplishes what any good profile should aspire to do: show, rather than tell, how personality can directly influence someone’s professional success or failure. He doesn’t let Wade Smith’s reputation get the best of him, choosing to frame the story around a case that Smith lost. Martin makes good use of the tension between Smith and his brother, which reveals much about how Smith’s values were shaped and how they motivate him.”

After winning the gold award for best body of work by a magazine reporter three years running, Ed got the bronze prize this year. (As I told him, if he had snatched the top prize again, they would have had to retire it — writers on other magazines would’ve cut their throats or at least taken to their beds and pulled the covers over their heads.) “Edward Martin leaves no stone unturned in his comprehensive, in-depth stories on CEOs addicted to gambling, the impact of the gaming industry on the Eastern Band of Cherokees, medical malpractice and Honda’s new little jet.”

The competition attracted a record 689 entries from 60 publications. The alliance represents independent regional business magazines and newspapers in the U.S., Canada, Australia and Mexico.