Thursday, March 19, 2009

Awards for the dead

Congratulations to the folks at "Heavy Duty Trucking" for winning the Grand Neal Award from American Business Media.
HDT, a monthly magazine owned by Newport Communications Group, picked up the prize for a special report called "Fuel Crisis Survival."
It's a pretty good piece of reporting and writing. And the people involved should be proud of their work.
But seriously, wouldn't it make more sense in 2009 to give the top editorial award in B2B to something that at least had a Web component?
You can read "Fuel Crisis Survival" on the HDT site ... but it's hardly a top-notch Web experience. This is shovelware, pure and simple. Take a look. See if you can spot anything that indicates anyone at the company has even looked at this thing online.

There was one other bit of news from this year's Neal ceremony that I found a little disconcerting.
Crain's FinancialWeek and picked up a number of awards -- including Best Web Site.
And as close followers of the B2B world know, the FinancialWeek brand is no more. The print product shut down in December. The website closed earlier this month.


  1. Isn't this similar to Oscars given to movies that are popular with the critics but bomb with the audience? Or Emmys given to cancelled TV shows? Sounds like there should be a name for this? Perhaps 'Zombie' should be in the title.

    PS: Years ago, Hammock Inc. published a magazine that competed in the same category as Heavy Duty Trucking. I was always impressed with the high quality of editorial product in the extremely competitive category -- especially work by Newport. I think one reason the category wins lots of Neals is the surprise judges have when they discover a category whose readers are truck drivers is filled with well designed, well reported and well written magazines.

  2. Shovelware indeed. Page numbers used to identify articles on the website. No evidence of monetization. Hey, at least they got their article headlines into the title tags. Newport does have some ad-supported web presence in trucking, but they don't appear to use their award-winning editorial content to support that. Curious.

  3. I served as a judge once for the Neal Awards. Both of the other judges in that category and I gave very low scores to two magazines that scored second and third in the category. The only reason they were honored is that their publisher/editor served on the board. I've never seen an awards program that is more cooked.