IBJ won 10 national journalism awards for news coverage in 2019—one gold, six silver and three bronze honors—in the Alliance of Area Business Publications’ annual Editorial Excellence competition.
The gold medal recognized IBJ’s efforts in covering Roger Penske’s acquisition of Indianapolis Motor Speedway
The awards event, which took place virtually Thursday night, recognized print and online writing, photography and design by regional business publications. IBJ competes in the largest publications category against business journals in Chicago, Detroit, New Orleans, Dallas and other major cities.
Two dozen judges from the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism evaluated 448 entries overall from 34 publications from the United States, Canada and Australia.
IBJ received the bronze award in the category of “best newspaper,” finishing behind silver winner Crain’s Detroit Business and gold winner Crain’s Chicago Business.
The judges commended IBJ’s “expansive content that reaches into the corners of transportation, technology, sports, health, higher education, civic affairs, state government and more.” In particular, the judges noted IBJ’s Innovation Issue as well as coverage of cancer research at Eli Lilly and Co. and the Capital Improvement Board’s deal with Pacers Sports & Entertainment to expand Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
“The design is sturdy, the writing is stylish, and the mix is timely and diverse, overall making this publication a winner,” the judges wrote.
IBJ’s gold honor for coverage of the IMS sale came in the breaking news category and recognized a team of reporters and editors that included Anthony Schoettle, Mickey Shuey, Mason King, Lesley Weidenbener and Greg Andrews, as well as columnist Mike Lopresti.
The coverage “demonstrated the journal staff’s expertise, its understanding of the Speedway’s complex challenges and its knowledge of Penske’s success in other automotive business pursuits. It is steeped in insightful background, thoroughly sourced and well-written.”
Other awards, with judges’ comments:
Silver for King’s Eight@8 newsletter in the Best Daily Email category. “Time pressed readers will love Eight@8’s consistent, concise and actionable content. The newsletter’s insightful and approachable summaries stood out from the crowd.”
Silver for Lindsey Erdody’s The Rundown email in the Best Specialty E-Newsletter category. “This is an insightful newsletter that is nicely curated. The author mugshots help to personalize it. The weekly rundown seems like the right frequency for this newsletter. The reporting is solid and thorough.”
Silver in the Best Scoop category. The award honored coverage of Ambrose Property Group’s decision not to develop Waterside at the former GM stamping plant site. The reporting was a team effort that included Mickey Shuey, Susan Orr and Weidenbener. “Developing and maintaining close sources within the state government helped to break this story about yet another failed attempt to redevelop a shuttered General Motors plant. Reporters got a tip … and followed it, revealing a $1.4 billion mixed-use project on the city’s largest piece of available land was no more, once again leaving a one-time economic engine undeveloped.”
Silver for Lopresti’s sports columns in the Best Recurring Feature category. Lopresti’s columns “can only be the result of deep team immersion and Indianapolis devotion. The work reveals a superb sports reporter, historian and storyteller.”
Silver for former IBJ reporter Hayleigh Colombo for Best Explanatory Journalism. The award honors Colombo’s package headlined “City’s poor often have few affordable options,” which was part of her “One City, Worlds Apart” series about poverty and its impact on the city’s economic growth. The coverage “vividly demonstrate how working-class city residents struggle financially, thanks to excessive banking fees and loan rates. The reporter includes specific stories of peoples’ struggles, along with data to show the bigger picture of city residents overall.”
Silver for Best Editorial. The editorial, headlined “Public kept in dark on Pacers deal until 25-year pact was fait accompli,” criticized the secret nature of the Capital Improvement Board’s negotiations with Pacers Sports & Entertainment. “Insightful, impassioned and bold, this editorial courageously calls out a regional business transaction and illuminates issues of transparency that reverberate well beyond this one deal.”
Bronze for Best Overall Design by IBJ’s art staff. “Slick covers with dominant photographs grab attention and invite readers to open the publication. Charts and maps are done consistently well. A high point is the thoughtful design on the Fast 25 and Forefront inserts. Opinion pages are clean, with cartoons to break up the text.”
Bronze for The IBJ Podcast in the Best Multimedia category. The podcast is produced and hosted by King and edited by Weidenbener. “IBJ clearly has shown a serious commitment to this podcast. The Roger Penske interview was a standout and had a nice production value and pace. The podcast feels like it has a voice and is deeply reported. The format pairs well with digital content.”