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Times Reporters Win Best Range of Work, Media/Entertainment Awards in SABEW Best in Business Contest

Sam Dean, left, and Meg James
(Los Angeles Times)

The Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing (SABEW) annual Best in Business Awards honor excellence in business journalism. L.A. Times earned two wins, including Best Range of Work and the Media/Entertainment category, and three honorable mentions in the contest.

The Los Angeles Times earned two wins and three honorable mentions in the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing’s 2021 Best in Business contest.

Business Reporter Sam Dean won for Best Range of Work in the large publication division. The judges commented: “Exceptional range demonstrating savvy, clever, analytical writing; plus, angles that separated him from the pack and showed readers new sides of widely reported stories.”

Meg James, who covers corporate media, won for Media/Entertainment reporting, large publication division, for her investigation into allegations of racist and abusive behavior at CBS-owned television stations. The stories also received honorable mention in the investigative category. Said the judges: “The L.A. Times’ reporting showed that while CBS took steps to reform its troubled workplace culture in recent years, it didn’t address alleged discrimination involving managers of the 28 local TV stations it owns – despite previously hiring two white-shoe law firms to conduct an investigation. As a result of this laborious reporting, the CBS TV Stations president and several other longtime top executives departed.”

The Times also received honorable mention in the Data Journalism category for a piece on the groundwater crisis in California’s San Joaquin Valley, produced by Maria L. La Ganga, Gabrielle LaMarr LeMee and Ian James. The judges noted: “The L.A. Times groundwater crisis piece explored an old phenomenon: ‘Farms here have been overpumping groundwater for decades.’ However, the data visualizations in the piece conveyed extremely effectively that the present situation is atypically dire. Heavy on facts and figures, the data was then complemented with the voices of those impacted in a way that made readers care. Bonus points for the deft usage of iconic heights (Transamerica Pyramid, Eiffel Tower) to make these great drill depths graspable. This piece was satisfyingly local and universal at the same time.”

Times’ staff won honorable mention in the Explanatory category for three stories about the COVID economy in Los Angeles: “There’s no labor shortage – just not enough good jobs,” “Perks like never before: Employers are bending over backward to keep you from quitting” and a look at how the businesses along Pico Boulevard have fared during the pandemic. “There are many ways to capture the impact of a year-old pandemic. We found the multimedia interactive piece on Pico Boulevard, even without extensive statistics and expert input, to be an engrossing and powerful way to do that. The individual vignettes of small business owners all strung together by a geographic narrative device gave a panoramic snapshot of the city’s struggle to endure an unprecedented disruption — and some of the creative workarounds that allowed some to thrive in spite of it,” the judges said.

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For more about the SABEW Best in Business awards, visit sabew.org.


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