Last month, Long-Term Living learned that it had been chosen as a finalist for a Jesse H. Neal National Business Journalism Award, the highest honor for editors of a business media brand. The Neal Award body makes no bones about it. The business publication industry views it as “the Pulitzer Prize of the business media.” This year, 621 entries had been submitted nationally across 21 categories.
Our chosen submission was our 10-component, team-reported coverage of Long-Term Living’s 2013 OPTIMA Award winner, called “The gift of the present,” a story package that included both online and print feature stories, several companion stories, an expert Q&A, podcasts, videos, a photo gallery and a blog. We knew our sources had given us a great dementia care success story that needed to be told, and we were extra pleased when we learned our story package had been chosen by the Neal judges as one of the four national finalists in the category of “Best Subject-Related Package.”
So, in mid-March, Vendome Director of Editorial Initiatives Charlene Marietti and I traveled to Manhattan to attend the Neal Awards banquet, along with hundreds of other seasoned journalists. From the podium, Michael Marchesano, managing director of American Business Media‒Software & Information Industry Association, reminded us all: “Editors are constantly expected to do more with less. But by embracing technology and data analysis, editors can do the best work they’ve ever done.”
As each category was announced from the podium, it really was just like the Oscars (only without the glittering ball gowns), with each entry being displayed on a huge video screen and Erin Moriarty of CBS News, acting as the emcee, saying, “And the Neal Award goes to…”
We didn’t end up winning in our category, but I remain thrilled that our brand was recognized for access to that very rare awards room, where Long-Term Living sat equally among publication giants like Architectural Record, IEEE Spectrum and Crain’s vast storehouse of national business magazines.
No other long-term care publication had been chosen as a Neal finalist this year. Very few healthcare-related publications were finalists, for that matter.
I am extraordinarily proud of our deft and mighty reporting team—Sandra Hoban, Lois Bowers and myself—especially since most of the other finalists had six to eight staffers who had worked on their submitted stories.
We may not have won the gold, but the mouse definitely roared that day.