2016 SIPAwards Builds on the Best From the Present and Past

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The Las Vegas Review-Journal just won the Sidney Award for unmasking the shadowy buyer of their own newspaper. Impressive. But in 1980—the first year of what has now become the SIPAwards—Paul Warren, then the editor/publisher of Television Digest (now chairman and publisher of Warren Communications News) won the Investigative Reporting award with a similar unmasking. He wrote a series of stories uncovering Nixon administration attempts to control the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and "correct a liberal bias" at CPB.

We've had entries that rocked pillars and other stellar examples in editorial, and we will most certainly get entries this year exemplifying first-class journalism, marketing initiatives and success stories with similar flair and determination.

Nominations are open for the 2016 SIPAwards. Five new categories highlight the 25 overall categories for this 37th edition of the awards—which honor the best editorial and marketing efforts in niche publishing. (Last year's winners are pictured here.) Awards will be given out during a special luncheon on June 7 SIPA's 40th Annual Conference: Pivoting for Profit, at the Washington Marriott at Metro Center.

The new categories include: Best Series of Articles on One Topic, Best Interview or Profile of Someone in Your Industry, Best Use of Video, Best New or Relaunched Website, and Best Mobile Smartphone App (Native). In addition to being honored at the conference, winners will have the opportunity to be profiled in this space, give a presentation on a SIPA webinar, or share their successes at a SIPA conference.

"We're excited by the new breadth and composition of the categories," said Nancy Brand, SIPA's managing director. "They join our tried-and-true categories, such as Best Analytical Reporting, Best Instructional Reporting, Best Blog and Best Daily Publication. The industry is evolving, and so we are embracing both the new and classic in our SIPAwards."

Looking back, I want to highlight two other Investigative Reporting award winners. In 1983, UCG's Charles Pekow, Bruce Levenson and Ed Peskowitz won for a series of stories covering the demise of the Day Care Council of America, the major national trade and lobbying group for day care centers. And in 1988, Christopher Simpson from Capitol Publications won for a series of reports on AT&T's trade activities with South Africa.

Last year, the Investigative Reporting award—now named for the late, former SIPA president David Swit—went to Ellen Smith, owner and managing editor of Mine Safety and Health News for a blockbuster article in partnership with National Public Radio titled Unpaid MSHA Fines Leave Deadly and Crippling Legacies.

"A special investigation conducted by Mine Safety and Health News, in partnership with National Public Radio, has changed the way in which government regulators view mine operators who don't pay their fines—about 10% of all operators in the U.S," wrote Smith. "The joint investigation was also able to determine that the companies who failed to pay $70 million in delinquent mine safety penalties committed 131,000 violations and reported nearly 4,000 injuries during their time of delinquency."

Read more about the 2015 winning entries.

Most times it's easy to say that something isn't going to change the world. In these cases, they just might have. We will also be recruiting judges. So we hope to engage as many SIPA members as possible in this year's proceedings.

There is an early-bird deadline of March 11 when entries are just $99. After that they are $119 until the final deadline of April 1. Nonmembers pay $297. For more than 3 entries, please email me or call (202.289.7442) for a special rate. Everything should be done online—here is the link. Of course, there may be exceptions for a large book or something that you really need the judges to see.

You work hard at what you do, so why not get the accolades?

Ronn Are you subscribed to the SIPAlert Daily?
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Ronn Levine began his career as a reporter for The Washington Post and has won numerous writing and publications awards since. Most recently, he spent 12 years at the Newspaper Association of America covering a variety of topics before joining SIPA in 2009 and SIIA in 2013 as editorial director…