A leading organization of financial journalists unveiled its picks for the year’s best business writing, and Fortune emerged on top—tied for first place among all media outlets with six winners in categories ranging from banking to transportation.
The “Best in Business” awards, announced on Friday by the Society of American Business Editors and Writers, recognized Fortune for ground-breaking exposes like “Hoaxwagen” (about the VW emissions scandal) and for excellence in retail reporting based on a series of articles penned by Phil Wahba.
“This is a great tribute to the serious journalism we do at Fortune,” said Fortune president and Time Inc’s Chief Content Officer, Alan Murray. “Our staff is a fraction of the size of some of our larger business news competitors, but we punch well above our weight.”
Fortune‘s total of six top prizes matched giant Bloomberg News, and eclipsed that of other publications with hundreds more reporters on staff, including the Wall Street Journal.
Clifton Leaf, a long time Fortune journalist who ascended to the editor-in-chief position this month, said the recognition relates to the title’s signature storytelling ability.
“This extraordinary string of SABEW awards is a recognition not only of our phenomenally talented journalists, but also of the culture these same journalists and their colleagues have created at Fortune—a culture that holds sacred deep and thoughtful storytelling even as other media brands have abandoned such reporting as old-fashioned, or as somehow inconsistent with the demands of a modern digital audience. In truth, such reporting couldn’t be more essential today,” said Leaf.
Other deeply reported Fortune pieces tapped for awards included “Bitter Sweets” by Brian O’Keefe, which exposed the intransigent problem of child labor in the cocoa industry, and Erika Fry’s “Hot Mess,” which unfolds the saga of one of the strangest public relations stumbles by a major corporation in memory—after a crisis with Nestle’s popular Maggi noodles product in India.
Last Friday’s recognition comes on the heels of another publicity coup for Fortune—earlier this month, a widely publicized photo showed President Trump’s aides descending Air Force One clutching a copy of the brand’s flagship magazine.
Meanwhile, the 88-year-old title has made up for lost time in the digital media game, attracting more than 20 million users a month to its website, and dramatically expanding its video offerings. Fortune also remains famous for its iconic annual reports, including the Fortune 500 and “100 Best Companies to Work For.”
In choosing Fortune and the other award winners, the news organization employed a new format that eliminated long-time distinctions between different types of media.
“SABEW overhauled the contest in 2016 to better reflect journalism’s digital focus,” said the organization. “This year’s entries were judged almost entirely by subject matter, regardless of format.”