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June 12, 2022

WBJ wins top prize at international journalism competition

The cover of the Sept. 13, 2021 edition of WBJ, one of the winning entries submitted in the Best Newspaper category

Worcester Business Journal on Saturday won the Gold Award in the overall Best Newspaper category for medium-sized publications from the international Alliance of Area Business Publishers journalism association.

This marks the second time in three years WBJ has won the top prize for a midsized publication from AABP, and was one of five awards WBJ received on the evening for content produced in 2021.

“There is a no-nonsense approach to stories, and the tone is very upbeat,” the judges from the University of Missouri School of Journalism wrote about WBJ in the AABP competition. “The strength of this publication is in its story selection. The publication offers a range of topics covered with brisk, smart writing … Great graphics sprinkled throughout each edition show strong research in identifying key stats and numbers in storytelling.”

AABP is comprised of business-to-business publications throughout the U.S., Canada, and Australia. For the annual AABP awards competition, the publications are divided into small, medium, and large categories, based on revenue. In all, 537 entries were submitted for the 2022 AABP awards, and WBJ competed against publications from markets like New Orleans; Charlotte; Columbus, Ohio; and Providence.

“To be singled out for excellence by an organization like AABP is a great testament to the journalists who bring their absolute best every day to the Central Massachusetts business community,” WBJ Editor Brad Kane said.

The Gold Award in the best overall category was one of five awards WBJ won on Saturday.

Art Director Mitchell Hayes won a Gold Award for Best Overall Design for his work on the print edition of WBJ throughout 2021. This is the fourth time in the last five years Hayes has won first or second place in the category.

“There’s obvious effort in the photographs, a conscious effort to put a lot of smiles in the book, creating an upbeat vibe,” the judges wrote.

WBJ won a third Gold Award from AABP this year, in the Best Editorial category. The entry “Worcester must play a better hand at the bargaining table” about the city government’s negotiating prowess was co-written by WBJ Publisher Peter Stanton and Kane, marking the fourth time in six years the duo has won this category.

“This editorial lays out the history of negotiations between the City of Worcester and the developers who invest in it. Solid reporting helps readers understand the city’s bargaining power,” the judges wrote.

Kane won a Silver Award in the Best Bylined Commentary category for his “My son, in crisis” column about the difficulties his son, Desmond, has faced in an increasingly strained behavioral health system in Massachusetts.

“Using a personal challenge to highlight a statewide lack of behavioral health beds delivers a powerful, emotional, and engaging piece that is both timely and relevant,” the judges wrote.

For his coverage of the closing of Becker College in Worcester, former WBJ News Editor Grant Welker won a Silver Award in the Best Coverage of Local Breaking News category.

“This story brought an impressive degree of context to a breaking news event, incorporating voices from within the college and community, and from regulators and expert observers,” the judges wrote. “The report effectively framed the college’s closing within national and regional financial and demographic trends in higher education.”

WBJ’s sister publications also owned by New England Business Media were honored by AABP as well, with Hartford Business Journal winning two Gold Awards for Best Scoop and Best Bylined Commentary, and MaineBiz winning two Bronze Awards for Best Feature Layout and Best Overall Design.

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