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Business Journal Earns National, Local Recognition

The Los Angeles Business Journal on June 23 won a bronze award for Best Newspaper in a national contest among business journals. And in a separate award banquet June 24, reporter Richard Clough was named Journalist of the Year among smaller local newspapers by the Los Angeles Press Club.

Those were among the 17 prizes and honors won by the Business Journal and its reporters, designer, editor and photographer at the two events. The awards ceremonies close out the contest season for journalism done last year.

The June 23 awards banquet was held in Milwaukee by the Alliance of Area Business Publications, which is the national professional organization of business journals, and state and regional business magazines. In all, 51 publications competed. The L.A. Business Journal was in the Large Tabloid category.

In awarding the bronze, or third-place award, for Best Newspaper, the judges said: “LABJ does a lot with a limited staff. It provides good coverage of a sprawling, diverse metro area. Photography is innovative and breaks out of stereotypical business journal mode.” The bronze ends a string in which the Business Journal had won the gold award three consecutive years.

Other awards from the AABP:

Reporter Alfred Lee won a gold award in the Best Feature category for his tale about how the heirs of the Alta Dena dairy founders believe they had been swindled. The judges said: “Superlative reporting and graceful writing abound in ‘Spilled Milk,’ a compelling story that traces a family’s fall from riches and its soured relationship with a once-trusted adviser. … (Lee) took full advantage of data from public records, including legal filings, to expertly trace the complex story.”

Clough, the Business Journal’s banking and finance reporter, won a silver award for Best Body of Work. The judges, who are faculty members of the University of Missouri’s journalism school, said they were “especially impressed with Clough’s exhaustive investigation into the questionable success of a little-known L.A. bank. … Similarly strong reporting chops were on display in his digging into a troubled minority-owned bank.”

Reporter Joel Russell won a silver in the Best Personality Profile category for his article headlined “Party Life Too Much for Ad Exec,” about the tragic fall of a formerly successful local media buyer. Said the judges: “This can’t-put-down read of L.A. ad exec Mike Ramirez’s spiral from drug abuse gave insight into the good and bad of the media ad-sales business. The powerful narrative was made even better by appropriate restraint in describing Ramirez’s over-the-top lifestyle.”

Design Director Robert Landry won a silver for Best Overall Design. “This hefty publication is well-organized and easy to get through, with nice illustrations, good visual planning, and solid graphics,” said the judges. They said the Wealthiest Angelenos Special Report “stands out for its excellent visual presentation.”

Landry and Chief Editorial Photographer Ringo Chiu won a silver in Best Use of Photography/Illustration. Said the judges: “The use of white space creates a great space to display good, large images. … The staff exhibits attention to visual storytelling and creative portraiture.”

The Business Journal’s sister publication, the San Fernando Valley Business Journal, won a bronze medal for Best Newspaper. It competes in the Small Tabloid category.

Local awards

The June 24 L.A. Press Club Awards, held at the Millennium Biltmore hotel in downtown Los Angeles, honored work done in 2011 by local print and electronic journalists. The Business Journal competed in the under-50,000 circulation print category.

Clough, who’s been with the newspaper 5½ years, won his Journalist of the Year award based on a sampling of articles. In that way, the award is similar to his Best Body of Work honor from the AABP.

The judges said, “Richard Clough’s submitted work shows depth and style. The bank pieces reflected tough looks at technical topics, told in an engaging way. Such sophisticated work can only come through rigorous reporting. Well done.”

Other awards from the L.A. Press Club:

Clough won a first-place award in the Business category for his article headlined “Money Machine,” about OneWest bank. The judges wrote that it was “a well-documented and well-written piece.”

Russell won first place in the Personality Profile category for his article about the ad executive. The judges wrote: “Getting people to talk about someone with a life as complicated as Ramirez’s is a difficult task. Russell kept going when others might have stopped. The result was a detailed story of how life in fast lane can go bad.”

David Nusbaum, who covers sports business, tied for a first place award in the Sports category for his interview with Luc Robitaille of the Kings. The judges said that Nusbaum “takes on a hockey legend’s use of entirely different job skills to be a team executive, seeing the parallels and differences even more clearly than his subject seems to.”

Tom Hicks, the Business Journal’s newsdesk editor, swept the headline category, winning first, second and third prizes. His first-place headline, about Wal-Mart’s L.A. expansion strategy, was “Greetings.” The judges noted that it was “an ideal fit. … Clever, succinct and appropriate.” His second- and third-place headlines, respectively: “Is L.A. Taking Shots at Liquor Tastings?” and “Fat Lady Finally Sings for Napster.”

Landry won first place in the Design category for the section “20 in Their Twenties.” The judges noted that the section was “inviting and easy to read,” and that Landry “balances photography, type and white space for maximum effect.”

In addition, Clough won second place in the Investigation category for his story headlined “Risky Business,” about problems at Wilshire State Bank. Lee won a second-place award in the News Feature category for his “Spilled Milk” article. Editor Charles Crumpley won a second-place award in the Commentary category for his column headlined “Wasting and Wanting,” about wasteful spending at City Hall.

The San Fernando Valley Business Journal won second place in the Business category for “City Denies Business Loans” by Mark R. Madler and Jaclyn Giovis.

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