June 25, 2018

WBJ named industry's 2nd best business journal

The WBJ's cover of the 2017 40 Under Forty issue.

Worcester Business Journal on Saturday was honored with the Alliance of Area Business Publisher's Silver Award for overall excellence, along with four other industry awards in specific categories, including best investigative reporting and best editorial.

"The WBJ staff works hard every day to deliver the best business news to the Central Mass. audience, in ways both engaging and informative," Editor Brad Kane said. "We have the utmost respect for our AABP peers, and to receive such a standout award is truly humbling and empowering."

WBJ competed against 36 other publications from the U.S., Canada and Australia. The best overall award is broken down into three categories based on size; WBJ won a Silver Award in the Best Small Newspaper category, which also included publications from markets like Detroit, Minneapolis/St. Paul, and New Orleans.

"The publication is communicating clearly with its readers and makes good use of photography and story packaging," wrote the judges from the University of Missouri School of Journalism. "The content itself show that the publication does a fantastic job of representing its community — there is a mix of serious and light-hearted reads. There is a simplicity of design and clean typography that also helps aid the reader; consistently well done."

WBJ won three first place awards and one other second place award, all in the small newspaper category.

News Editor Grant Welker won a Gold Award for Best Investigative Reporting for his story "Hit & Miss: Despite company shortcomings, Worcester kept tax breaks in place" about the results of the city's economic incentive efforts.

"Excellent use of public records to nail down the story and find notable hits and misses," the judges wrote.

Publisher Peter Stanton and Kane won a Gold Award for Best Editorial for the WBJ Editorial Board's opinion piece "Berkshire, you should have picked Worcester" about Berkshire Bank's decision to move its headquarters to Boston from Pittsfield after buying Worcester's Commerce Bank.

"This editorial is clever, smart and well-played. It's got a clear point of view that makes a convincing and smart argument to its readers," the judges wrote.

Kane won a Gold Award for Best Recurring Feature for the Shop Talk Q&A appearing on the back inside cover of every print issue. Although the entire year-round feature was honored, the three stories included in the nomination were about The Queen's Cups bakery move from Millbury to Worcester, the owners of the deadhorse hill restaurant opening a second location, and Allen Fletcher's proposed mixed-use housing development in the Canal District.

"While the Q-A format is grounded in business plans and practices, more light-hearted questions reveal much about the character and style that define these business leaders," the judges wrote.

WBJ Associate Art Director Mitchell Hayes won a Silver Award for Best Overall Design of a Small Newspaper for the print edition. This is the second year in a row Hayes has been honored in the design category, after winning a Gold Award last year.

"Covers attract attention and lead to opening pages that are great to get scanners to read," the judges wrote "There is a diversity of charts. Good use of color and typography."

WBJ's sister publications -- all owned by New England Business Media by Stanton and company President Joe Zwiebel -- won six other AABP awards. Hartford Business Journal won four Gold Awards, and MaineBiz won a Bronze Award and a Silver Award.

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