Thursday, December 14, 2017
Business

Tampa Bay Times wins two national business journalism awards

The Tampa Bay Times won two awards and was a finalist in another category in the Society of American Business Editors and Writers' annual "Best in Business" national competition.

Times staff writer Drew Harwell won SABEW's top prize in the real estate category for an entry that included stories about how Wall Street giants were buying up thousands of area homes to rent out. The stories detailed how the explosive land grab had widespread implications for the Tampa Bay area's slow-recovering housing market.

Harwell also reported on a company that was quietly holding on to mineral rights below people's homes. The publicity prompted the builder to offer to return those rights to home buyers statewide.

The real estate category was open to all news outlets. The two finalists were Bloomberg News and the New York Times.

In the breaking-news category, Times staff writers Ivan Penn, Robert Trigaux, Barbara Behrendt, Jeff Harrington and Harwell won for coverage of the Crystal River nuclear plant's closing.

SABEW judges described the Times as "bold" in covering Duke Energy's decision to close the plant last February. "The team clearly knew the issues, which gave them the ability to both break the news and spin a good story with a sharp point of view," judges wrote.

Separately, Penn was a finalist in the explanatory category for ongoing coverage of the nuclear power industry.

The Times' awards in the breaking-news and explanatory categories were for newspapers with daily circulations between 200,000 and 400,000.

The SABEW awards announced Thursday honor excellence in business journalism. Bloomberg News and its related media outlets led with 13 honors. The New York Times had eight and Reuters garnered seven.

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