The work that I’ve seen win SIPAwards the last few years could win awards in any journalism competition. So I strongly encourage you to enter the Neal Awards. Most of the categories that you’ve become familiar with—Best Blog/Commentary, Best Profile, Best Podcast, Best Series, Best Use of Video, Best Instructional Content—are there in the Neals.
Neal Award winners provide their audience with value. “Basically, I’m using data to help tell a good story—whatever it may be…,” Todd Dills, a senior editor at Randall-Reilly and a multiple Neal Award winner once told me. “I started looking around at the different sources of data that concerns issues readers have. It’s the readers who drive this. And I’ve always been interested in numbers.”
He spoke about the difference data was making in their journalism—and equally important in their readership (truckers). “We started doing a series of state law enforcement profiles; at the end of the day information like this gives the readers a better sense, a better reality,” Dills said.
The key, he added, is serving readers. “The big takeaway is that there’s data gathered on everything our readers do,” noting that the way you use it shows your “valuable priorities as a journalist. I have been able to essentially prove our readers right on some things and wrong on others.”
That is just one example of the importance and relevance of the awards we give out. Not only do they recognize people like Todd doing great work in our industry, but they amplify the trends—sometimes even before they become trends! Of course, data journalism is now one of the biggest difference makers in the content world of B2B publishing and media companies.
Over the last few years, I have had the privilege of working on both the SIPAwards and the Neal Awards. Both have been essential in honoring and promoting the amazing work done by B2B (and some B2C) publishers. This year—in order to devote the amount of resources that the entries and awards deserve—the SIPAwards have been integrated into the Neal Awards.
For SIPA members, it adds an even more prestigious layer. Now in its 67th year, the Neal Awards have a celebrated history and are known as the most respected awards in the world of specialized journalism. Named after Jesse H. Neal, the first managing director of American Business Media, the Neal Awards were established in 1955 to recognize and reward editorial excellence in business media.
You will be up against the best of the B2B world, but in categories separated by company size. I can say firsthand that the work I’ve seen win SIPAwards the last few years could win awards in any journalism competition. So I strongly encourage you to enter. Most of the categories that you’ve become familiar with in the SIPAwards—Best Blog/Commentary, Best Profile, Best Podcast, Best Series, Best Use of Video, Best Instructional Content, and Best Editorial Use of Data, to name just a few—are there in the Neal Awards. Check out all of the 2021 Neal Awards categories.
And as an homage to the SIPAwards, there is a new Neals category: Best New Product, recognizing innovation in new product development, including events and pivots to virtual events. In addition, there are two more new categories that I know SIPA members have the work to nominate for: Best COVID-19 Coverage and Best COVID-19 Package.
Early nominations—which represent the most cost-effective way to enter the Neals—will be accepted through Jan. 31. Regular nominations then go from Feb. 1-21. And the extended nomination period is Feb. 22 – March 7.
We Also Need Judges
Award entries will then be assessed by your peers in three rounds of judging. This is also where we can use your help. Judging will be all virtual, of course, and will not require a huge time commitment. As in the past, it is a great way to see the best work of your industry, learn new ideas and observe how others are approaching work and revenue strategies during the pandemic. All the details about judging—including a detailed FAQ—can be read here.
Be assured that your voice is still clearly heard and will resonate loudly throughout the industry with your entries in the Neal Awards. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to email me. We are excited to expand these awards and reward and amplify even more great work by people in this industry.