Business Journal, ProPublica Honored for Investigative Series

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing has awarded The Business Journal, in partnership with ProPublica, honorable mention in its 2020 Best in Business competition, recognizing excellence in business journalism.

The honor went to the series, “Desperation Town: How Youngstown Gave Itself Away for the Promise of Jobs,” in the investigative category.

Business Journal associate editor Dan O’Brien, along with publisher Andrea Wood and ProPublica’s editors and research team, explored in-depth how incentive programs administered by the city over the past three decades have failed to create and sustain jobs in a region still suffering from high unemployment and poverty. The much heralded Chill-Can project, which has yet to produce one self-chilling beverage can, was the focal point of the series, along with the residents who were uprooted by the city to make way for the promised manufacturing complex and 200-plus new jobs.

The story, along with other pieces on the Chill-Can project, can be found HERE.

“The Business Journal of Youngstown, Ohio, and ProPublica partnered in this deeply reported and well written project that uncovered how struggling cities disbursed millions of dollars in failed efforts to attract well-paying jobs to the Youngstown area,” the judges in the competition said. “The team studied 25 years of business development grants and other documents to accomplish the investigation, uncovering a story that likely would have remained buried in a region that is rapidly becoming a news desert.”

In August 2019, The Business Journal joined ProPublica’s Local Reporting Network to pursue the project.

The awards were announced during a virtual ceremony May 11. 

SABEW received 1,126 submissions from 161 news organizations representing international, national, and regional news outlets and specialized business publications, the organization said. Judges chose 78 winners and awarded 69 honorable mentions.

SABEW, established as the Society of American Business Editors and Writers in 1964, is headquartered in the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications at Arizona State University. 

Copyright 2021 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.