IBJ wins national honors for vaping, Salesforce, Carrier coverage

IBJ reporters and editors won national gold and silver honors Saturday from the Alliance of Area Business Publishers for coverage in 2016 that included stories about a controversial vaping law, a Salesforce expansion in Indianapolis and free trade issues.

Judges from the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism evaluated 438 writing, photography, digital and design entries from 42 publications. IBJ competes in the largest publications category against business journals in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and other major cities.

Reporter Hayleigh Colombo won three awards, including a gold in investigative reporting for an in-depth story about a law that created a monopoly in Indiana’s e-liquid manufacturing industry.

The judges called the story an “impressive feat, detailing how legislation was crafted to benefit a single company, and providing a fascinating window into a business that often exists in the shadows.” They credited Colombo with “great digging, strong sourcing and clear, powerful writing.”

Colombo won a silver award in explanatory writing for a story about free trade that the judges lauded for going “beyond the political talk” and examining “how restrictions on free trade might hurt Indiana.”

She also shared a silver award with IBJ reporter Susan Orr in a category honoring local coverage of a national or economic story for coverage of President Donald Trump’s efforts to keep Carrier jobs in Indianapolis. Judges called the series “excellent enterprise on a story of national importance.”

An IBJ team—reporters Scott Olson and Jared Council and editors Mason King and Jeff Newman—won a gold award for best coverage of local breaking news for stories about the Salesforce decision to add 800 jobs in Indianapolis and move into what would become Salesforce Tower.

“These stories provide smart, thorough reporting of the tech company’s announcement of [its] downtown expansion,” the judges said. “Good use of additional stories to add context and provide more information.”

IBJ’s Eight@8 email, written by King, won the gold award for best daily email newsletter and the #IBJtech email, written by Council every Friday, won gold for best specialty e-newsletter.

The judges said King’s voice “shines through each edition” of Eight@8. “Strong active verbs and cheeky writing hook readers’ interest and make this a great read,” they said.

Judges said #IBJtech “offers strong, informative headlines that don’t feel like clickbait. It also has summaries of the stories that give just enough information to let the reader know whether he or she wants to click the More button.”

Reporter Anthony Schoettle won a silver award for body of work by a single reporter. Judges said the “wide-ranging subjects make this entry stand out: The complicated business operation behind the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, a WNBA star turned fashion consultant, and the battleground of dashboard radio.”

IBJ also won a silver award for editorial writing for an editorial about the vaping law that judges said provided “an impressive display of original thought in constructing an argument against a law that over-regulated the e-liquid industry.” The editorial made “its point sharply and forcefully,” they said.

AABP handed out the awards Saturday at its summer conference in Dallas.

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