2009 Azbee Awards brochureFortune Small Business, The Scientist take Magazine-of-the-Year Honors

David Silverberg, Frank Lessiter win awards for reporting by an individual; design, editorial winners honored.

Fortune Small Business and The Scientist took honors as the Magazines of the Year in American Society of Business Publication Editors’ 31st Annual Azbee Awards of Excellence.

The 2009 Stephen Barr Award for feature writing went to Frank Lessiter, editor of a 7,000-circulation publication for horse-shoers, American Farriers Journal, for a remarkable series of articles over the last half of 2008 that described the shocking practice of “soring.” In an offense little-known outside the world of equine shows — and too often ignored within that world — some unscrupulous characters injure the feet or legs of animals “to promote hoof action that judges look for in gaited horse competitions.”

The awards were announced on July 16, the first evening of the two-day ASBPE National Editorial Conference, at the Washington, D.C. Marriott Hotel.

In another presentation, HSToday editor David Silverberg was honored with the first annual Journalism That Matters Award for his criticism in the pages of his homeland-security magazine of the National Football League’s unwillingness to run advertisements mentioning terrorism, borders, and immigration. After the HSToday articles, the NFL changed its policy. The award reflects ASBPE’s work on the book Journalism That Matters: How Business to Business Editors Change the Industries They Cover.

For its work over the past year, Fortune Small Business was recognized among magazines with 80,000 or larger circulation, while The Scientist was honored in the under-80,000 category. Larger magazines given honorable mention were Professional Business and Restaurants & Institutions, with Chain Leader and Oregon Business winning honorable mention in the under-80,000 category.

Large-magazine winners of gold editorial awards included American Medical News, Automotive News, Big Builder, Builder, BusinessWeek, Civil Engineering, Computerworld, Exhibitor, Heavy Duty Trucking, IEEE Spectrum, Lawn & Landscape, MyBusiness, Overdrive, PC World, Physicians Practice, Professional Builder, The Progressive Farmer, Realtor, Remodeling, and SHRM Conference Daily. Multiple winners were BusinessWeek, Computerworld, and PC World.

Smaller publications winning gold awards included Aftermarket Builder, American Farriers Journal, The American Lawyer, Architect, Automotive News, Best’s Review, Better Roads, Corporate Event, Corporate Meetings & Incentives, DVM Newsmagazine, EcoHome, Engineering News-Record, Federal Times, Multifamily Executive, Presstime Daily, ProSales, SC Magazine, Today’s Garden Center, and Ward’s Dealer Business.

In ASBPE’s design categories, larger winners included Builder, CFO, Computerworld, Diabetes Forecast, Medical Economics, Packaging Digest, The Progressive Farmer, Remodeling, Replacement Contractor, and Restaurants & Institutions. CFO received three of the gold awards for design, with Computerworld and Restaurants & Institutions also being two-time gold winners in design categories.

Smaller winners of design awards included Best’s Review, Builder, Control Design, EcoHome, Engineering Inc., Golf Course Industry, Government Technology, 1to1 Magazine, One+, Ophthalmology Times, Public CIO, Replacement Contractor, RT Image, Speech Technology, and TED Magazine.

A complete list of winners may be found here (136K Word doc). Winners of an associated ASBPE competition focusing on business-to-business publications’ work in online and multi-platform formats will be announced at a Digital Azbees conference in November in San Francisco. Entries for that competition, in which a Web Site of the Year will also be named, are being accepted through Sept. 1.

Steve Barr Award Winner Takes on Shadowy Characters

The American Farriers Journal series by Lessiter, a business-to-business reporter, editor and photographer for 45 years, not only called attention to the horse-soring scandal, but helped prod an industry response that has been gaining traction. Those who secretly and illegally harm walking-show horses often are shadowy and dangerous characters interested in keeping the practice secret to avoid enforcement of existing horse-protection laws. In the months since Lessiter’s articles began running, federal regulators have sought funding to beef up that enforcement, and the Walking Horse Trainers’ Association has recommended that the National Horse Show Commission turn to a separate governing body to help the industry deal with soring.

One Stephen Barr Award judge cited Lessiter for “the sheer scope and ambition of the series, [which] demonstrated a willingness to take some risks at a time when fewer reporters and editors seem willing to do so.” Another judge remarked on “the writing’s passion and power, which built among readers a sense of anger about this abuse of horses, and the ability of these criminals to get away with it.”

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