Up Front: August 2010

To win again

The emcee at the ceremony in Indianapolis suggested that the Alliance of Area Business Publications open a hall of fame so it could put Ed Martin in it. After all, this was the fifth time our senior contributing editor has won the organization’s top award for best body of work by a magazine writer, including one stretch of three consecutive years. That doesn’t include the two silver prizes and one bronze he has received in this category. Or the two other awards he got this year.

In all, Ed has taken 21 prizes — 15 of them gold — in the annual AABP Editorial Excellence Awards, a record unparalleled in regional business journalism and a big reason this magazine can claim nearly 100 national honors for its writing, reporting and design. (Not that anyone’s keeping score, mind you.)

Here’s what the judges — members of the University of Missouri journalism faculty — had to say about some of the entries that won him this year’s gold: “Great detail gives wings to great writing. You can almost hear the stillness when Martin poses tough questions to race team owner Rick Hendrick [March 2009], or hear the hope and hopelessness of Hispanic workers [May 2009]; he even makes you feel the emptiness of a has-been shopping mall [October 2009]. Martin clearly elevates every story he touches, regardless of subject, and is one of the few writers who uses dialogue well.”

That touch is evident in the cover story that won the bronze prize for best personality profile: “Strong narrative elements — scene-setting, dialogue, character development and effective use of anecdotes — reveal the personal tribulations of NASCAR icon Rick Hendrick in the context of his business empire.” Ed’s gift for storytelling shines through three pieces that took the bronze for best local angle of a national business/economics story. “With engaging narrative, reporter Edward Martin takes readers on a tour of North Carolina hospitals in the midst of the national health care debate. He paints a variety of stories, showing one strong hospital that was crippled by a critical medical error [March 2009]. He explains why community hospitals are joining large systems [July 2009]. He tells the stories of worried doctors [November 2009]. An accompanying list of the state’s best doctors is a true reader service.”

But a magazine is measured by more than the talent — no matter how immense it might be — of one individual. That was evident in the other gold prize we received: best use of photography/illustration, which cited the work of photographer Steve Exum and illustrators Rob Edwards and Tim Foley, plus the deft design work of Art Director Manny Marquez. “This is a smart, well-rounded entry. Good use of both illustrations and photography. The Wachovia illustration [January 2009] is humorous and technically well done. “Deficit Spending” [November 2009] graphic is clean, easy to read and contains good information without distracting elements in the design. “Hot Stocks” [January 2009] show the publication’s willingness to take risks with their work. It was nice to see a photographic essay in the entry [July 2009].”

The varied talents, skills and efforts of our staff and freelance contributors combined to win the prize that Ed says he’s most proud of — for that very reason. For the second year in a row, the judges bestowed the bronze prize on Business North Carolina as the nation’s third-best regional business magazine. “The magazine offers a great combination of well reported and written feature stories, informative infographics and helpful front-of-the-book departments. Each issue reflects an insightful understanding of North Carolina’s economics and the ability to communicate the factors that influence the business community.”