The Azbees: Something To Build Pride Among All Of Us

By Roy Harris

For weeks leading up to the Feb. 4 Azbee Award deadline—just next Monday—we’ve heard from ASBPE about the value of entering the competition. And, of course, there is lots of value to it: the publicity and a reputational boost for a publication recognized for its good work, the office morale boost, and the peer credit accruing to individual journalists in your shop, for openers.

But let’s take a minute to talk about why the ASBPE organization itself benefits from the awards program, now in its 35th year, and why the existence of the Azbees should be prized by all of us, and should encourage editors to become ASBPE members, if they’re not already.

With all the pressures that B2B publishers have been under lately, in print and online, many editors and reporters have had to work extra hard to keep the quality of their journalism high. ASBPE members, especially, tend to be attuned to questions of fading excellence, and attempts to keep quality high. We see the result throughout the year, of course. But we don’t get a sense of the collective power of all this great B2B journalism, perhaps, until awards time—when editors examine the year’s output to select their best material to enter.

So now, as publications wrap up their own self-evaluations, and then as the Azbee judges prepare to read through the entries and determine the very best business journalism of the year 2012, it is an important time of year.

It’s also a great opportunity for editors to get involved in the judging, and to learn first-hand about the range of excellence of coverage out their in their industry.

Since I started getting involved with the awards a dozen years ago, I’ve found myself constantly renewed at awards time. It keeps me encouraged that readers of B2B publications around the U.S. are still getting a great product from news outlets they trust. Great reporting abounds in B2B, and it’s a true honor to be a part of identifying it. (It’s still not to late to become a judge. Just contact Travis Stanton of Exhibitor Magazine to raise your hand.)

Ten years ago I got involved with establishing a whole new award: ASBPE’s Stephen Barr Award, designed to identify the best single piece of feature writing from the entire horizon of Azbee entries. What a thrill it has been to crown that winner each year.

Last year’s Stephen Barr Award went to the National Law Journal’s Jenna Greene, for her “Civil Inaction” article, detailing the legal quagmire that keeps radioactive-contamination victims near a Washington state nuclear plant from receiving justice. But each of our nine winners has been remarkable in its own way.

ASBPE is proud to have such winners, and the B2B journalists who are ASBPE members should be just as proud of their organization as it keeps on the lookout for excellence.

Photo of Roy Harris
Roy Harris


Roy Harris, currently the president of the ASBPE Foundation and a former national president of ASBPE, has worked for CFO Magazine, and has served as editorial director of He is a former Wall Street Journal reporter.

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