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With awards and promotions, our 13th year is off to a strong start

By   /   Friday, March 23rd, 2012  /   Comments Off on With awards and promotions, our 13th year is off to a strong start

I’d like to exercise my editor’s prerogative and talk about two promotions that have taken place in our newsroom, two big awards and the way forward for the Business Times.

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When I shut out all the background noise and rest my eyes for a second, the history of Pacific Coast Business Times flashes by in one big blur. Nearly 600 issues. Two-hundred special reports. Almost 100 events. Three-hundred payrolls. And amazing stories from up and down the Central Coast.

As we launch into Volume 13, I’d like to exercise my editor’s prerogative and talk about two promotions that have taken place in our newsroom, two big awards and the way forward for the Business Times.

First the promotions. Stephen Nellis, hired five years ago as he was graduating from the University of Missouri School of Journalism, has emerged as a force to be reckoned with when it comes to reporting and writing. He has carved out a substantial niche, covering technology and courts and leading much of our project coverage.

And Marlize van Romburgh, a proud Cal Poly SLO journalism graduate, has emerged as a master at multitasking. She covers finance and commercial real estate, produces our main news section and handles most of our public records and Top 25 list research.

Effective March 1, Stephen took on the title of senior editor. He gradually is taking over many of the editing and content management functions that I’ve held since we commenced publication on March 17, 2000. Also on March 1, Marlize was promoted to managing editor. She will oversee editorial production and design both in print and on the Web.

These are well-deserved promotions and I’m delighted to be making them. One reason for the timing of our promotions is the increased recognition the Pacific Coast Business Times is gaining for its editorial efforts and digital innovation.

This month we won a coveted “Best In Business” award from the Society of American Business Editors & Writers for Marlize’s coverage of the collapse of San Luis Trust Bank and its sale to First California Financial Group last spring. This is the fifth time that we have been recognized in the SABEW competition.

I joined our colleagues from the Los Angeles Business Journal, the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, Reuters, Dow Jones, Bloomberg News and others at the SABEW awards banquet in Indianapolis on March 17 to pick up our hardware. Fittingly, the award came on the 12th anniversary of our first issue.

Also this month, the Business Times earned recognition from Editor & Publisher magazine as an honorable mention in its “10 Newspapers That Do It Right” annual survey of best practices in the news business. E&P said the annual issue showcases newspapers — of all sizes — in the U.S. that “demonstrate flexibility, creativity, sound judgment, and a commitment to high-quality journalism in some unique manner.”

The publication noted that the Business Times has managed to cut costs, increase efficiency and boost circulation with some tech tweaks. The money saved was reinvested into an upgrade for our website that included the installation of a custom paywall that allows our subscribers to get digital access. As part of the recognition, our name was plastered all over the cover of the March 2012 issue of E&P, the leading publication covering the news industry.

This is the second time in the past six months that we’ve been honored by E&P. Last fall, our vastly improved website was a finalist for a coveted “Eppy,” which honors digital innovation in the news industry.
Finally, the way forward. Expanding our news team will enable us to produce more breaking new and more in-depth reporting on topics such as high tech, finance, agribusiness and higher education.

And we are also giving our editorial calendar offerings a bit of a tuneup this spring. Champions in Health Care, which publishes on May 18, will be followed by its inaugural awards reception at the Ventura Beach Marriott on June 7.
A new special report, Latino Business Awards, will make its debut on June 22. Thanks to a surge in sponsorship, we are planning an awards reception at Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach on the evening of July 17.

Publisher Linda le Brock and I are planning some special festivities this year for our annual Spirit of Small Business Awards luncheon, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this summer as a unique partnership between the Business Times and the Los Angeles District Office of the U.S. Small Business Administration.

There is a convergence of opinion in the media industry that business journals occupy a market niche that’s growing and that offers unique prospects for telling great stories in print and online. We’re proud of our entire team and the opportunity that lies ahead.

• Contact Editor Henry Dubroff @[email protected]

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