Up Front: August 2009

The Business North Carolina magazine staff pays attention to business and the people important to the state’s stories,” the judges — members of the University of Missouri journalism faculty — said. “They do this with great writing, classic design and an ear to the business around them. This magazine is no doubt popular with readers because it covers diverse topics that are professionally satisfying. They do a great job with illustrations, especially infographics. All of this adds up to a substantial, important magazine.”

The bronze for best magazine was among six prizes — including two golds — that BNC won in this year’s Alliance of Area Business Publications Editorial Excellence Awards. That brings to more than 90 the number of national awards we’ve won. The gold prizes went to Senior Editor Ed Martin for best magazine feature and to Contributing Editor Tim Gray for best magazine personality profile.

Ed’s was for his cover story in last year’s July issue. “Saying that the writer put his heart into this story would normally be considered a meaningless cliché, but in this case it’s the truth. Leading with a visually dramatic description of his own heart surgery, the author then spins a compelling, information-packed story about North Carolina’s cutting-edge health care, both as business and lifesaver. The intricate weave of memoir and solid business reporting gave this piece its unique, award-winning quality.”

Ed also won the silver prize for best body of magazine work, the second time he’s won that specific award. Last year, he struck gold in the category for the fourth time — after winning first place three consecutive years, followed by a bronze prize. No writer for a regional business publication has come anywhere close to that tally. As the judges noted, “Martin tackles tough stories.”

Tim’s gold was for last October’s cover story about Durham funeral director Mark Higgins. “Descriptive writing that makes the most of relevant detail to show rather than tell helps set apart this lively personality profile that centers on the craft — and business — of death. Along with showing his subject’s empathy and sense of humor, the writer takes care in addressing the psychological toll of dealing with grief on a daily basis. Business insights, both local and global, are smartly integrated.”

Art Director Manny Marquez and freelance photographer Joey Seawell combined talents on a piece that took the silver award for best magazine feature layout. The story about Durham industrial designer Jonathan Kuniholm, who turned his attention to prosthetics after losing an arm in Iraq, appeared in our April 2008 issue. ”Strong documentary photography makes this feature layout shine. The opening photo presents a telling portrait and sets the mood, while the other high-quality images work together to support the narrative. The well-done graphic explaining the various types of artificial hands provides another important element within the layout.”

“Thoroughly reported and engagingly written” is how they described Senior Editor Frank Maley’s cover story in that same issue. His tale of a union’s struggle to organize the world’s largest pork plant won the bronze prize for best coverage of a national business/economic story in a category open to both magazines and newspapers. “Balancing the often ignored perspective of labor with the more typically offered business perspective, the writer gives readers a rich sense of the people involved in the battle.”