Are you a business journalist upset about the attacks on our profession and the outrageous charges of “fake news”? ‘Tis the season to turn that frown upside down. The Azbee Awards season is officially open, bringing good cheer to all.

While some hostile groups of Americans have become convinced that journalists set out to manipulate the masses and are the enemies of the people, we know better. You’ve heard from the haters that the quality of news coverage is slipping? There’s plenty of proof that it isn’t.

Occasionally on the business beat, an ill-tempered interviewee will mutter something like, “What does it matter what I tell you? You people just make everything up anyway.” It took me years to think of my pithy response but this is it: “Sir, if we made everything up, we’d be at the pub drinking martinis by 11 a.m. every day.” This particular Scrooge, of course, probably never received a phone call from you at home at 9 p.m. to check that one last fact. The people who HAVE received those calls know darn well that you don’t make stuff up. You work hard every day to ensure your reporting is accurate and fair and presented in context.

 The truth is, some of the best, most enterprising and deepest-dive journalism we’ve ever seen is happening today in the USA. Look no further than the amazing achievements that have been recognized recently in the Pulitzer Prizes, the Sigma Delta Chi Awards and the many specialized journalism associations’ awards programs. While the economics of news companies have posed challenges, the level of professionalism among the reporters, editors, multimedia and art and design staffs continues to climb to new heights. 

The Azbee Awards recognize the best nation’s reporting and presentation in the business-to-business (B2B) sector. The Azbees are organized annually by the American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE), a 1,700-member group that fosters excellence in B2B journalism. Our members run trade magazines, specialty newspapers, newsletters and digital services that publish some of the most sophisticated enterprise reporting, investigative projects, data packages and other news products that are vital to the subscribers’ firms and careers. That means topnotch beat reporting, how-to articles, in-depth interviews and, yes, aggressive government coverage that relies on the ability of a free press to do its job. 

If you worry that the attempts at belittling and delegitimizing of journalism are hampering our efforts to report stories for the American people, spending a few minutes in our Azbee Awards winner gallery should restore your confidence and provide inspiration. Here are just a few examples from last year’s Azbees:

In the impact/investigative category, Gold Award winner Louise Esola of Business Insurance magazine explored the question, “Who Pays to Heal the Mental Injuries of First Responders?

For excellence in multimedia presentation, check out Meatingplace magazine’s feature on a system to sell locally produced meat in vending machines. That was last year’s Best Cross-Platform Package of the Year.

Builder magazine’s sweet layout and illustrations aided readers understanding of the competition between Baby Boomers and young families in bidding for homes in a new community in South Carolina, earning our National Gold Award for Feature Article Design.

Imagine striving for success in the quick-service and fast-casual restaurant industry or homeland security sector without faithfully reading Magazine of the Year winners QSR magazine and Security Management magazine. 

Want to earn similar accolades for the finest work at your B2B publication? The Azbee Awards program offers more than 70 categories in print and online divisions, honoring achievements not only in reporting, editing and design but also webcasts, video, social media and even humor. The 2018 Azbees program is now open, with deadlines fast approaching. Click here for details and to enter. 

And if you are an experienced business editor, writer, art director, designer or multimedia professional, why not share your expertise with your peers by serving as an Azbee Awards judge? Join us in recognizing the greatest accomplishments of the year in B2B journalism and dispensing your knowledge among the current and next generations of practitioners. Click here to volunteer as a judge. What better way to prove the naysayers wrong and counter their flimsy insults with concrete proof of excellence!  

Photo by Marie-Jeanne Fethiere

Photo by Marie-Jeanne Fethiere

Dom Yanchunas is national president of the American Society of Business Publication Editors. Not an ASBPE member? Why not sign up today? It’s free for qualified B2B journalists.