Virginia Business wins four national journalism awards

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Bernie Niemeier accepts the awards at AABP's summer conference in Dallas.

Virginia Business has won four awards in a national business journalism competition.

The awards were presented in the medium-sized publication category by the Alliance of Area Business Publishers (AABP) at its summer conference Saturday in Dallas.

The magazine received one gold and three silver awards.

Publisher Bernie Niemeier won a gold award for Best Editorial for his commentary on the Supreme Court of Virginia’s ruling on Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s executive order that restored voting rights to 206,000 convicted felons.

Judges said: "What could have been a dry lecture on constitutional law in the matter of voting rights for felons — a recent Supreme Court case in Virginia — is instead a lively and provocative look at history. The decision turned on the issue of standing, and the writer astutely demonstrates how broadly and significantly that relates to business."

Managing Editor Paula Squires and Senior Editor Jessica Sabbath together received a silver award for Best Scoop for their online story on a reorganization of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership that occurred while the state authority was looking for a CEO. Judges said the entry "represents classic reporting. Squires and Sabbath heard rumors (sourcing) that a shakeup was underway at the state’s Economic Development Partnership and found documents that backed-up the hearsay. They then interviewed sources with first-hand knowledge and broke the story about the serious problems in the state’s largest business recruitment agency."

Sabbath also received a silver award in the Best Local Coverage of a National Business/Economic Story category for her coverage of the growth of the drone industry in Virginia. Judges said the story "is a fascinating analysis of the future of the drone industry and how Virginia has put itself in position to be a national leader in realizing its potential. Well-rounded sourcing and crisp writing make it a pleasure to read."

In addition, freelance writer Richard Foster received a silver award in the Best Feature category for his story on millennial homeownership. Judges commented: "Dreams sometimes get dashed on the rocks of reality – they crave privacy but can’t afford a home, so end up living with parents. In narrative that doesn’t pander, Foster takes you inside the mind of millennials who are rethinking or deferring homeownership in the face of low salaries and student loan debt."

The University of Missouri School of Journalism judged the competition, which attracted 483 entries from 43 publications in the U.S., Canada and Australia.

AABP represents 55 regional and local business publications in the United States, Canada and Australia.

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