Up front: August 2011

Prize catch

Ed Martin, our senior contributing editor, did it once again, this year winning the gold prize for best magazine feature in The Alliance of Area Business Publications Editorial Excellence Awards. This one — the 23rd he’s won from the AABP, 16 of them gold — was for his piece on Darold Londo and the Cherokee casino, the cover story in last October’s issue.

“This captivating, insightful story about the challenges of operating and expanding a tribal casino was strengthened by a strong narrative voice and visual writing that worked on a number of different levels,” wrote the judges, who are members of the University of Missouri journalism faculty. “In addition to taking a deep look at the gaming industry, this piece also spoke to the human issues and how background and heritage inform a present-day business leader.”

The story was also cited in the judges’ comments about the bronze prize Ed won for best body of magazine work by a single writer. “Nothing is more secret than gaming operations, and Martin’s profile of Darold Londo, the CEO of a new Cherokee gaming operation, really shows how Martin was able to negotiate total access. This ‘push’ was evidenced in his other selections — the inside story of doctors battling a hospital CEO [cover story, April 2010] and inside the life of an insurance investigator [“Fraudian Slips,” January 2010].” This marks the ninth time Ed has been honored in this category. Last year, he took the top prize — for the fifth time, including one stretch in which he won it three consecutive years. No other writer has come close to his record of winning AABP awards.

Headquartered in Los Angeles, AABP comprises regional business magazines and newspapers in the U.S., Puerto Rico, Canada and Australia. The awards are presented at its summer convention, held this year in Providence, R.I. Forty-five publications submitted nearly 500 entries. The silver award for the best magazine personality profile went to contributing editor Tim Gray’s cover story in our June 2010 issue about the owner of Highland Brewing Co. in Asheville. “This engaging profile, rich on literacy about craft breweries, shows how Oscar Wong and his button-down personality emerged from an engineering career and found success in an industry known more for artists than business people.” Tim won the gold prize in this category two years ago for his cover story about Durham funeral director Mark Higgins.

We also won a silver prize in the magazine category for best use of photography/illustrations. Citing the work of Art Director Manny Marquez, the judges wrote, “Business North Carolina has an entry with variety, from photo essays to portraits to illustrations. They are respectful of images, which are not overly manipulated or controlled. Their portraits are thoughtful, many of which show a sense of humor, such as the ‘In Another Life’ portraits [cover story, January 2010]. Judges were impressed with the use of multiple documentary photographs in photo essays.” We also won a silver prize in this category two years ago, followed by the gold prize last year.

In the open category for magazines and newspapers, we won bronze prizes for best recurring feature — for our monthly Regional Report — and best explanatory journalism — for the 2010 Business Handbook in that year’s February issue.

“Thickly reported and clearly written best describes Regional Report,” the judges said. “The accompanying graphics always reveal stories that connect the dots in detailed ways. Rich in context, Regional Report details for readers the complicated layers of business, economic development and politics of North Carolina.”

As for the Business Handbook: “The magazine takes an exhaustive look at the recession by dedicating an entire issue to how the whole state has been hurt. Charts, graphics and sidebars help tell the story, as do articles that drill down into each region and tell how they are trying to dig out.”

David Kinney