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LABJ Garners National, Local Kudos

For the second consecutive year, the Los Angeles Business Journal has won the top award for overall excellence among weekly business newspapers from the Alliance of Area Business Publications.

The Business Journal won the honor, called the gold award, in the Best Newspaper contest, at an awards banquet June 26 in Indianapolis. The Business Journal won five other awards from the AABP, which is the professional association for weekly and monthly business publications.

The Business Journal also won six awards and two honorable mentions at the Los Angeles Press Club’s annual awards banquet June 27, as the year’s journalism contest season winds down.

“Someone once told me that awards don’t matter – unless you win them. Well, I’m here to tell you they matter,” said Publisher Matt Toledo. “I couldn’t be more proud of the dedication and leadership provided by Charles Crumpley, my editor. Each week he starts with a fresh canvas and pulls together a great issue by inspiring and challenging our reporters and editors to produce the best work they are capable of. I am so pleased that the judges recognize the quality they deliver each week.

“In addition, we received awards for our outstanding design thanks to the refined artistic abilities of Robert Landry, my creative director, and his design team.”

Besides the latest round of awards, the Business Journal in March won top honors from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers, a journalism group that represents business sections of daily newspapers and other business news publications. The newspaper won a Best in Business award for general excellence in the business weekly category and it went on to win a higher award, called Best of the Best, in which some winners from all the categories were lauded for particularly outstanding work. It was the highest award the Business Journal has ever won.

Also earlier in the year, the Business Journal’s real estate reporter, Daniel Miller, won the Best Entry by a Young Journalist award from the National Association of Real Estate Editors. For the contest, Miller submitted his profile of Richard Meruelo, the bankrupt L.A. real estate chieftain, which was headlined “Won’t Back Down.”

“We’ve won a bumper crop of awards this year,” said Crumpley. “That tells you that it’s not an accident or a fluke. Our efforts are impressing journalism judges in different organizations and doing so over time. That’s gratifying.”

Six national awards

The gold award from the AABP was given for overall excellence and in that way is akin to a best of show award or a best picture Oscar. The judges said the Business Journal “is well organized and couldn’t be more informative. It is packed with expert columnists (who) … cover all the hot-button issues in Los Angeles. It puts a human face on the community with its strong reporting and feature stories. This publication is important to this city and to its readers. It does a great job of telling the types of stories that readers need to be well informed.”

New Orleans CityBusiness and Crain’s New York Business won the silver and bronze awards, respectively, in this top category.

Other awards from the AABP, which is headquartered in El Segundo:

• The gold award for Best Personality Profile was given to Miller for his profile of Meruelo.

“Opening with a revealing anecdote, this profile introduces readers to a major real estate owner who is almost unknown in his own city,” the judges wrote. “This profile reveals, informs and entertains with its narrative flow.”

• The gold award for Best Online Scoop was given to Richard Clough, the banking and finance reporter, for his coverage of the failure of First Federal Bank of California.

“The reporting and writing carry an air of authority that begins at the outset and continues throughout,” the judges wrote. “The original tips and sourcing both reflect the kind of beat reporting that comes with knowing your territory.”

• The silver award for Best Use of Photography/Illustrations was awarded to Landry, the design director.

The judges wrote: “Two projects in the entry were very strong: ‘City of Industry’ and ‘Best Face Forward.’… The ‘Wealthiest Angelenos’ list also attracted the judges’ attention.”

• The silver award for Best Local Coverage of National Business/Economic Story was given to Clough for a package of stories about credit unions.

“Strong financial journalism helps readers understand what’s happening when their world collapses around them,” the judges said. “In three separate stories, reporter Rick Clough explains the reasons behind the credit union crisis, the dangers of buying banks in a downturn and the threat of large commercial real estate portfolios.”

• The bronze award for Best Scoop, given to Alexa Hyland, then the legal affairs reporter, for her story headlined “The Big Slip-Up.”

“Hyland dug through the court record to expose a scandal in which a local attorney recruited Nicaraguan men as dummy plaintiffs in a fraudulent pesticide lawsuit against Dole Food Co.,” the judges wrote. “The timing couldn’t have been better as the Los Angeles Film Festival prepared to premiere a documentary extolling the virtues of the ‘heroic’ attorney, Juan Dominguez.”

Local awards

What follows are the awards from Los Angeles Press Club, where the Business Journal competed in the “under 50,000 circulation newspapers” category.

• In the Business contest, Hyland won first place for “The Big Slip-Up.”

Judges said: “Excellent treatment of a story within a story. It reveals how a documentary film may be more fiction than fact. Well-written and reported.”

• For the Entertainment News or Feature contest, reporter Charles Proctor won first place for an article headlined “Speaking Terms” about Adam Carolla’s move from broadcasting to podcasting. “Excellent feature about podcasting as a talk show format used by a man bouncing back from a layoff,” the judges said.

Also in that contest, Hyland won second place for her story headlined “Branding Brando” about the effort to license the late Marlon Brando’s image and name.

• In the Best Headline contest, Newsdesk Editor Tom Hicks won first place for his headline “Kind of a Drag” for a story about how the National Hot Rod Association was hurt by the recession. “This is a good example of a label head to grab attention, followed by an actual headline to define story content,” the judges said.

Hicks also won an honorable mention for his headline “Do these jeans make my bill look big?” that went with a story about expensive jeans.

• For the Design contest, Landry won first place for the “Wealthiest Angelenos” package. The judges called it a “clean, organized layout that feels streamlined and makes it easy to absorb and be engaged in the information presented.”

• In the Personality Profile contest, Miller won second place for his “Won’t Back Down” – the third award of the year for that story.

• And in the Sports contest, Proctor won an honorable mention for his question-and-answer interview with Jerry West.

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