Engineering News-Record’s Richard Korman Honored at ASBPE Conference with 20th Stephen Barr Award

Richard Korman, deputy editor of Engineering News-Record (ENR) magazine, was announced as recipient of the ASBPE Educational Foundation’s 2023 Stephen Barr Award for Feature Writing during ASBPE’s national Azbee Awards banquet in Atlanta. His was the 20th Stephen Barr prize — the only award presented annually to an individual journalist rather than to a publication.

Richard Korman's Stephen Barr Award-winning article, "The Verdict: How Much Was a Paving Contractor Really to Blame for a Deadly Road Accident in 2019?"Korman’s February 2022 ENR cover story, “The Verdict: How Much Was a Paving Contractor Really to Blame for a Deadly Road Accident in 2019?” received ASBPE’s national gold award in the Impact/Investigative category. The article provides a detailed study of how the causes of a fatal crash were twisted during trial. After extensive, deep reporting, Korman’s article showed that the court case overemphasized the role of the company that built the road, while downplaying the impairment of the driver who hit the victim’s car and more directly caused the death. A special panel of journalists who review top feature writing candidates from select Azbee Awards categories found that Korman’s work deserved the extra recognition that the Stephen Barr Award brings.

As Korman said in his acceptance, “The truth is not always neat or pretty,” and in pursuit of large dollar amounts, and simpler explanations of the case, there are incentives for the court system to misrepresent the actual causes of an accident. In the case that was the focus of his article, trial presentations placed excessive blame on a deep-pocketed paving contractor, Korman’s ENR story showed.

Listen to Richard Korman’s description of his enterprising journalism:

The presentation of the ASBPE Educational Foundation’s special award came at the end of the first day of ASBPE’s 2023 national conference. Earlier in the day, a panel of Stephen Barr Award-winners from prior years — including Megan Gates, Meagan Parrish, Kevin Davis and Adam Minter — talked about the Barr Award’s impact on their careers and described the inspiration the award-winning work provided to them and their publications. That inspiration led the journalists to continue pursuing challenging stories that demand extra reporting and led their publications to continue supporting deeper, more constructive journalism.

The ASBPE Educational Foundation is a not-for-profit 501(c)3 organization supporting education and excellence in the B2B media industry. The Stephen Barr Award for Feature Writing encourages journalism of the highest quality, and the distinction is awarded by the Foundation annually, along with a trophy and a $500 monetary prize. To support the Barr Award and other Foundation initiatives, you can make a tax-deductible individual or corporate donation to the ASBPE Educational Foundation.