In addition to the 17 category winners handed out Friday, the 2017 Neal Awards included four distinctive leadership awards recognizing outstanding achievement and contribution to B2B journalism. This year’s recipients included:
Marianne Decker Mattera Award: Tara Welty, Vice President and Editor-in Chief at Scholastic Teacher Resources, Scholastic Art Magazine, and Scholastic Teacher Magazine
The Marianne Dekker Mattera Mentor Award honors the long-time Chief Editor of RN Magazine and Medical Economics and Managing Editor of MedPage Today. In the course of her more than 40-year career in business media, Marianne was a mentor to editors of all ages, won 18 Jesse H. Neal Awards, more than any other individual editor in B2B media.
Welty is described as a “dream mentor” who consistently brings her co-workers into the editorial process, challenges them, and supports them, pushing them to do the best work they can do.
2017 McAllister Editorial Fellowship: Todd Dills, Senior Editor, Overdrive, Randall-Reilly
The McAllister Editorial Fellowship and the McAllister Top Management Fellowship are awarded annually to an editor and an executive, respectively. These fellowships promote the study of business media, with McAllister Fellows acting as teachers and advisors for approximately one week on the Medill Magazine Project at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. McAllister Fellows receive a crystal bowl and an honorarium.
Todd Dills is the chief editor behind Overdrive’s “CSA Data Trail” which combines reporting and database analysis, which has unearthed inconsistencies in the federal government safety regulation program for trucking. In 2014, Dills and the Overdrive team won the Grand Neal for overall excellence for “CSA Data Trail.”
2017 G.D. Crain Award: Steve Bruce, Managing Editor, BLR
Connectiv's G.D. Crain, Jr. Award is given annually to an individual who has made outstanding contributions to the development of editorial excellence in business media. The award was established by a grant from the G.D. Crain, Jr., Foundation.
The recipient of this year’s G.D. Crain Jr. Award for a distinguished career in journalism, Steve Bruce, managing editor on BLR Media, shares my father’s keen sense of dedication and responsibility. He has been following and chronicling the human resources scene for over 30 years. Having been an HR manager for a Fortune 200 company, Editor in Chief of a major publisher in the HR field, a freelance writer, and president of his own publishing company, he brings a broad, practical perspective to his writing, editing and managing.
2017 Timothy White Award: Rob Blackwell, Washington Bureau Chief, American Banker
The Timothy White Award was established to acknowledge the daily challenges and pressures that editors face. Named after the longtime editor of Billboard magazine, who passed away in June 2002, the award is given to an editor whose work displays courage, integrity and passion.
Rob Blackwell, who joined American Banker in 2000, quickly became one of the Washington bureau's stars (in 2001, Blackwell was part of a team that won a Connectiv Neal Award for Best News Coverage on the FDIC's controversial efforts to reform deposit insurance). The year 2016 marked the culmination of more than a decade that Blackwell has spent building a high performance culture in American Banker's Washington bureau including,
- Playing an integral leadership role in American Banker's coverage of the biggest financial-services story of the year, the Wells Fargo fake-accounts scandal. From the get-go, Blackwell asked hard questions about the lack of executive dismissals and CEO John Stumpf's ability to weather the storm (Stumpf indeed soon stepped down). And the coverage extended well beyond staying on top of the days headline news, delving deep into the far-reaching implications of the scandal, not only for Wells itself but for the industry at large.
- Blackwell spearheaded AB's coverage of the most unpredictable and possibly most consequential presidential election in recent memory, delivering early and regular insights about the candidates' potential impact on financial services policy.
- He also wrote informed commentary on financial services policy that was fearlessly critical of politicians across the ideological spectrum, from Bernie Sanders to House Republicans to then-insurgent Donald Trump.
- Working with several other publications at SourceMedia, Blackwell and his team put together a detailed dossier on each presidential candidate's views on health care, tax reform, and financial services policy. The "presidential matrix" allowed readers to pick and choose individual candidates so they could compare them side by side.
- Finally, on election night, Blackwell coordinated with multiple publications to make sure SourceMedia's brands had a timely, smart and valuable package of analysis the next morning. Crucially, he took nothing for granted. When it became clear, late in the evening, that Donald Trump would be the surprise victor, Rob beat down figurative doors to make sure the next days coverage across all brands would reflect the new reality.
For more information on the 2017 Neal Awards celebration, click here.
Matt Kinsman is vice president of content + programming at Connectiv, the only association focused on the integrated b-to-b model—including publications, events, digital media, marketing services and business information. Prior to joining Connectiv's predecessor American Business Media in 2011, Kinsman was executive editor of Folio:, the leading information provider for the magazine industry.