I’m delighted to announce that Pacific Coast Business Times is the winner of a Society of Professional Journalists Sigma Delta Chi award for excellence in news.
SPJ is one of largest organizations dedicated to advancing an open society and free press, and its Sigma Delta Chi awards are a national competition. The four stories we submitted for the competition were from a single edition — May 7, 2010. Our articles covered the sale of Pacific Capital Bancorp and the first signs of post-recession stability in the regional banking system.
For that coverage, the judges determined the Pacific Coast Business Times submission to be the best example of breaking news coverage by a non-daily paper in 2010. I hope you will join me in congratulating staff writers Stephen Nellis and Marlize van Romburgh, and former staffer Tony Biasotti, who worked as a team on our coverage.
This is the first time in 11 years of publication that your weekly business journal has entered a competition that involves general news topics as well as financial news. We’re gratified that the judges thought our coverage was clearly written, easy to understand and that our subject matter was worthy of recognition.
Although this is our first general news award, it is not the first national award for Pacific Coast Business Times. We’ve already taken home hardware for print and online news coverage in the Society of American Business Editors’ and Writers’ annual “Best in Business” awards.
In the rush to promote our prize-winning efforts, it’s easy to overlook the tremendous amount of work that goes into our reporting and writing every week. For Nellis and Van Romburgh, who have been promoted to new leadership positions in the newsroom this spring, that means hours of reporting and document review before they sit down and write. It means discussions and debates about verifying information and separating fact from speculation and about how to clearly and concisely present complex material.
As we all look over the flood of information that comes through the Internet every day, it’s easy to get sucked into the belief that news articles simply appear out of thin air. They do not. At the Business Times, they are created by news professionals whose work is anchored in facts.
And recognition from our peers is important because competitions such as Sigma Delta Chi validate our work and encourage us to tackle new topics.
Recognition in the Society of Professional Journalists competition comes as we’re prepared for a number of exciting changes at the Business Times.
Publisher George Wolverton, my friend and right-hand for more than a decade, will be retiring next month. With the Sigma Delta Chi award happening on his watch, he can now claim he’s leaving on a higher note than Los Angeles Lakers Coach Phil Jackson.
Wolverton’s successor, Associate Publisher Linda le Brock, has been gearing up to take over our sales effort since the first of the year.
She already has played a key role in making our Top Women in Business, our 101 One Hundred and our upcoming Champions in Health Care special reports the most successful in our history. And she’s been working diligently to create a social media strategy using Facebook, Twitter and other outlets to raise the visibility of our events and special reports.
Finally, Le Brock, Wolverton and Van Romburgh also have been working on ways to provide digital access to our main news stories in a way that makes sense for our print subscribers and advertisers. We are making steady progress with these plans and we’re pleased that the publishing industry has begun to embrace the idea of a “paywall” that provides paying subscribers exclusive access to valuable digital content.
We will have more to say about our subscription-based online model later this summer. Meanwhile, we’re going to stay focused on regional business and financial news. As our economy emerges from the Great Recession and as California confronts yet another budget crisis, there will be plenty to report and write about in 2011 and beyond.
• Contact Henry Dubroff at [email protected]