Northwest Arkansas Editor Chris Bahn’s astonishing revelation that the University of Arkansas’ advancement office had spent millions of dollars more than budgeted has been recognized as one of the best scoops of 2012 among business journals.
Also recognized at the Alliance of Area Business Publishers awards program on Saturday was Greenhead, Arkansas Business Publishing Group’s annual magazine for duck hunters. Greenhead received the bronze award in the category of best ancillary publication. It was the third straight year that the 3-year-old publication has been recognized in that category.
Here’s what the panel of judges from the journalism faculty at the University of Missouri at Columbia had to say about Greenhead:
“Greenhead, the Arkansas duck-hunting magazine, shows readers guns, gear, landscape and ducks with real people. The photographs and stories of these real people reflect the values and interests of Arkansas hunters. The features are fresh, and the illustrations do a marvelous job of conveying the stories.”
Bahn’s scoop, which revealed that UA Vice Chancellor Brad Choate would lose his job after budgeting errors of more than $4 million in a single fiscal year, received the bronze award for best print scoops among large tabloids.
The judges said: “Keeping a watchdog’s eye on the complex budget of a public university system is no easy chore, so a weekly business journal deserves credit when it beats the local daily in uncovering a $4 million budget deficit in a prominent division of the University of Arkansas. This story is thoroughly reported and features an uncommon level of candor from university sources.”
The gold award in the scoop category was given to the Los Angeles Business Journal for a story with an Arkansas angle: “Downtown L.A. Greets Wal-Mart.” The silver went to NJBiz, which reported that the state of New Jersey had given a disaster-recovery contractor a multi-million-dollar, no-bid contract in aftermath of the storm called Sandy.
Bahn, who was formerly editor of Arkansas Business Publishing Group’s defunct sports website, ArkansasSports360.com, had joined the business staff of Arkansas Business less than a month before he uncovered the problems in Choate’s division.
The ancillary publication category was open to all 64 independent magazine and newspaper members of the organization in the United States, Canada and Australia.