No profession, it has been said, has higher self-esteem than journalism. And while this may be debatable--doctors never struck us as suffering from negative self-image--few professions bestow upon themselves as many awards as does journalism. In the United States, many have heard of the country's glitziest competitions: the Pulitzer Prizes and the National Magazine Awards. But there are literally hundreds of other competitions, including annual ones for such subjects as the best article about osteoporosis and one for the article judged to have done the best job of "presenting biblical truth in the secular media.
Among these many competitions, the Jesse H. Neal National Business Journalism Awards have established themselves as the premier venue for recognizing excellence in special-interest magazine journalism. So it was particularly gratifying for us here at IEEE Spectrum to win four honors at the most recent Neal ceremony, held this past 23 March in New York City.
One award was for our special issue titled China's Tech Revolution, [June 2005]. The other was for an investigative article by senior editor Harry Goldstein titled "Who Killed the Virtual Case File?" [September 2005], about the FBI's troubled attempt to automate its main record-keeping systems. The other two awards came at the end of the event, when the Neal judges announced the winner and two runners-up for its Grand Neal Award, the highest commendation of the ceremony. As always, the Grand Neal was selected from among the 34 winners in all the various categories, which had themselves been selected from 1200 entries. The Grand Neal is a kind of "best in show that considers all the different honorees and picks three winners among the winners.
We were pleased, and a little stunned, to receive the first and second runner-up Grand Neal citations for the China issue and for the FBI case file story, respectively. To get those honors, we had to beat competition from Baseline magazine, Advertising Age, Aviation Week & Space Technology, Business Week SmallBiz, CIO magazine, Washington Technology, and others. The Grand Neal itself went to Farm Journal, for a series of articles on a disease affecting soybean plants.
The honors are a testament to the diligence of Harry and of our staffers who worked on the China issue, especially Jean Kumagai and Bill Sweet. They pushed for it and took on editorial duties beyond their normal ones.
Most of all, we are indebted to the 367 395 IEEE members, who give us the resources to cover important and complex issues in global technology--and to do it with authority and rigor.
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