Updated March 29 at 4:29pm

Jobs coverage, Sandy effects stories win first place in N.E. newspaper contest

Providence Business News took two first-place awards Saturday in the New England Newspaper and Press Association’s Better Newspaper Competition as well as second place for general excellence.

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Jobs coverage, Sandy effects stories win first place in N.E. newspaper contest


BOSTON – Providence Business News took two first-place awards Saturday in the New England Newspaper and Press Association’s Better Newspaper Competition: one for a series of stories on the kinds of jobs being created in the region at this time of high unemployment; the other, for immediate and long-term coverage of the effects of Hurricane Sandy on Rhode Island businesses.

In addition, PBN took second place for general excellence in the specialty publications division in the competition, which held two awards events last weekend at the Park Plaza Hotel in Boston during the annual New England Newspaper Convention.

In the Business/Economics Reporting category, the NENPA judges recognized PBN’s occasional and continuing series about companies and industries that have been adding jobs in the region. Starting with a profile of efforts by Taco Inc. to train its workforce, the series went on to note the growth in the number of people taking advantage of freelance opportunities, how Collette has created an engaged and growing workforce by offering excellent workplace perks, the rebound in the mortgage industry from the depths of the Great Recession, and finally the jobs being created by national chains in the region.

The first place award in the Environmental Reporting category acknowledged PBN’s coverage of Hurricane Sandy, which started in the weeks following landfall in the fall of 2012 and continued into the spring of 2013. In remarks delivered at the time of the award presentation, judges noted the PBN “hammered away at numerous angles in the aftermath of the story, interviewing dozens of businesses about recovery and rebuilding, insurance coverage, rebuild permitting, a special section with detailed database rankings of contractors and disaster agencies, volunteerism, tourism impacts and research on future at-risk properties. A persistent, public-service effort.”

In addition to the initial print edition story, the following stories were part of the winning entry:

The second place finish for general excellence marked the fifth time in the last six years that PBN has placed among the top three publications in its class (PBN took home top honors for its work in 2009). Judges in this category said that PBN represented “textbook local business coverage from A-Z. Superior modular design, and robust local ads.”

Earlier this year, PBN was named Newspaper of the Year for specialty newspapers by NENPA at the organization’s fall conference.

The New England Better Newspaper Competition attracted more than 3,000 entries from daily, weekly, bi-weekly and monthly publications throughout the six-state region, with awards given in 98 advertising, editorial and promotions categories in both digital and print divisions.

Other newspapers in Rhode Island and Bristol Co., Mass., winning first-place honors included:

  • AAA Horizons – local ad (color); themed, banner or sponsored ad page

  • The Advocate, of Fairhaven – local election coverage

  • The Dartmouth Chronicle – feature photo; sports photo

  • Fall River Spirit – human interest feature story

  • The Block Island Times – editorial writing; feature photo; newspaper-sponsored event promotion; real estate display ad

  • The Standard-Times, of New Bedford – business/economic reporting; editorial cartoon; environmental reporting; history reporting; sports column; sports story; subscription sales promotion; website interactivity and engagement

  • The Sun Chronicle, of Attleboro – feature story; general news story, headline writing; living page or section; overall mobile application; reporting on religious issues; social issues; and sports page or section

In addition, Rick Foster of the Sun Chronicle was named reporter of the year for daily newspapers, and Ariel Wittenberg of the Standard-Times was named rookie of the year.


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