Association Headlines

60th Year of Annual Real Estate Journalism Awards Presented
Published Tuesday, June 8, 2010 7:00 am

News Release: 6-4-2010


Winners Announced in Austin, Texas

Austin, Texas – The National Association of Real Estate Editors (NAREE) announced the winners of its 60th Annual Journalism Awards today. NAREE’s Journalism Awards program recognizes excellence in reporting, writing and editing stories about residential, commercial and financial real estate and home and design.

A near-record number of entries from professional journalists across the U.S. were received this year. This year's President’s Award for Best Overall Entry by an Individual ($1,000) went to Jason Hidalgo of the Reno Gazette-Journal.

NAREE’s President’s Award for Best Freelance Collection ($500) went to Mary Umberger for her
freelance contributions to the Chicago Tribune and Inman News.

NAREE’s President’s Award for Best Entry by a Young Journalist ($250) went to Dan Miller, Los Angeles Business Journal.

All award winners were selected by a panel of expert judges from the E. W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University. Professor Patrick S. Washburn, a former news reporter and editor, chaired the panel of jurors. First-place winners in 25 categories also received cash awards of $250 each for a total of $8,000 in awards.

More information about NAREE’s Journalism Awards is available at
This year’s winners are:

Best Overall Entry by an Individual
Winner: Jason Hidalgo, Reno Gazette-Journal
Judges’ comment: “Utilizing a rich array of data sources, the writer demonstrates expertise across a variety of stories, from the personal and intimate to the national. Particularly outstanding is a focus story which surely shocked readers with the magnitude of the foreclosures and defaults resulting from adjustable rate mortgages. What is significant about this article are the instructions that it gives to readers about how to avoid unfortunate mortgage terms and the inclusion of an online foreclosure data base."

Best Freelance Collection Award
Winner: Mary Umberger, Chicago Tribune, Inman
Judges’ comment: “This writer’s off-beat columns are fun to read because they are not conventional real estate facts and figures. The columns on speed-dating for a contractor and a profile of a condo “vulture” were eye catching. She says that she ‘tries hard not to be a how-to buy-a-house real estate writer’, and she clearly succeeds in doing this.”

Best Entry by a Young Journalist Award
Winner: Dan Miller, Los Angeles Business Journal
Judges’ comment: “When one of Los Angeles’ major real estate moguls, Richard Meruelo, finally agreed to be interviewed in the middle of his bankruptcy proceedings, the reporter put together an informative, insightful, and fun-to-read profile. The lead about a confrontation in a parking lot when Meruelo was a young man was so good that readers from all backgrounds, including those with little or
no interest in real estate, were pulled into the article and wanted to keep reading. In another story, he uncovered a federal investigation of a businessman, who was at the top of a real estate empire and became known as ‘LA’s Bernie Madoff’ after six stories by Miller.”

Category Winners

Category 1: Best Residential Real Estate Report in a Daily Newspaper
Winner: Tim Logan and Kevin Crowe, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Comment on Winner: “This story about the bottom of the real estate market is an excellent mix of hard data with personal and descriptive detail which humanizes a disturbing trend in the real estate market. Sophisticated data analysis is paired with a great lead and a solid conclusion.”
Second Place: Lori Weisberg, San Diego Union-Tribune
Comment on Second Place: “This article is an engaging narrative about real estate fraud that contains a lot of useful cautionary information for homeowners. It is told through the eyes of people devastated by fraud.”
Honorable Mention: Bob Hagerty, Wall Street Journal
Comment on Honorable Mention: “This is a good trend story about the return of house flipping. Combining excellent sources with hard data, it seamlessly constructs a portrait of a growing segment of the real estate market.”

Category 2: Best Mortgage or Financial Real Estate Report in a Daily Newspaper
Winner: Mary Shanklin, Orlando Sentinel
Comment on Winner: “This engaging story demonstrates how the financial meltdown disproportionately impacts minority home owners. The writing is heart wrenching and eye opening.”
Second Place: Lori Weisberg, San Diego Union-Tribune
Comment on Second Place: “The reporter has performed the old-fashioned government oversight that too often is lacking in everyday journalism. The story about qualifications of loan agents in the San Diego area is a fine example of the kind of watchdog journalism that more reporters should be doing.”

Category 3: Best Commercial Real Estate Report in a Daily Newspaper
Winner: Anton Troianovski, Wall Street Journal
Comment on Winner: “The Wall Street Journal demonstrates how a financial meltdown in the concrete canyons of Manhattan affects the retirements of public servants half way across the country in Missouri’s Ozarks. The reporter is to be commended for taking something abstract and distant and making it concrete and real.”
Second Place: Kris Hudson, Wall Street Journal
Comment on Second Place: “This story demonstrates that no one, no matter how much money they have, is immune from the financial crisis. No doubt many readers found some guilty pleasure in discovering how billionaires, who owned luxury hotels, suffered along with everyone else.”

Category 4: Best Report in a Daily Newspaper under 250,000 Circulation
Winner: Carol Hazard, Richmond Times-Dispatch
Comment on Winner: “This story about a real estate investment that went sour is extremely well reported.
It brought together sources from public records, a multitude of interviews, and photographs to bring home to the reader the devastation to the victims of a purported Ponzi scheme.”
Second Place: Josh Brown, The Virginian-Pilot
Comment on Second Place: “Solid reporting records the volume of foreclosures with high-impact maps and effective graphics. The article shows how nearly every neighborhood in the region faces foreclosure problems.”

Category 5: Best Report in a Weekly Business Newspaper
Winner: Kari Hamanaka, California Real Estate Journal
Comment on Winner: “Focusing on the impact of ocean liners on the Los Angeles port complex, the writer explores an issue far from the conventional realm of real estate journalism. The story does a good job of weaving together sources to describe an intricate problem.”
Second Place: Kim A. O’Connell, Onsite/Washington Business Journal
Comment on Second Place: “A well-researched historical piece, it provides context for a current predicament of rehabilitating a vacant Virginia prison. The article takes readers into the opportunities and challenges of completely changing the land-use plan.”

Category 6: Best Real Estate, Mortgage or Financial Report in a Magazine
Winner: Lisa Gibbs, Money Magazine
Comment on Winner: “This is an extremely well reported story about the process associated with investing in the lowest level of real estate from the most devastated part of Detroit, which is the hardest hit part of the American real estate market.”
Second Place: Scott Kaufmann, Ocean Home Magazine
Comment on Second Place: “A nice mix of information complimented with stunning photography, this story about commercial real estate in Dubai provides an eye-opening reassessment of development in what many consider a paradise.”

Category 7: Best Trade Magazine Report for the Residential Real Estate, Mortgage/Finance, or Home Building/Residential Development Industries
Winner: Matt Power, Green Builder Magazine
Comment on Winner: “Interesting and fresh, Green Builder takes a look at a topic that has seldom been explored: the limits of technology in constructing environmentally friendly homes. The writer demonstrates that technology is not always our friend. This is deep science, but it is easy to digest and fun to read.”
Second Place: Jenny Sullivan, Builder Magazine
Comment on Second Place: “Utilizing graphics and photography effectively, the writer examines the trends and possible futures of high-end housing in middle income neighborhoods. The story recognizes a growing animosity towards ostentation.”

Category 8: Best Trade Magazine Report for the Commercial Real Estate Industry
Winner: Les Shaver, Multifamily Executive
Comment on Winner: “In a revealing article about the state of the Florida condominium market, the writer focuses on three leading executives and their plans to revitalize. The article shows extreme enterprise in telling a story when one of the main subjects refused to cooperate.”
Second Place: Rachel Azoff, Multifamily Executive
Comment on Second Place: “This is a well analyzed take on the pluses and minuses of public housing versus mixed-income housing. The reporter packs in a nice mix of history with the human touch.”

Category 9: Best Residential Real Estate or Mortgage/Finance Report or Feature
Winner: John Gittelsohn, Bloomberg News
Comment on Winner: “Mixing hard data from public records with extensive interviews, the writer positions a spot-new story about condo sales in Miami into a much broader context. The quotes are refreshing for their candor. ”
Second Place: Karen Aho, MSN Real Estate
Comment on Second Place: “This story about pet policies in rental properties is delightfully surprising. The author mixes hard news with step-by-step information that readers can use to their benefit.”

Category 10: Best Commercial Real Estate Report
Winner: Daniel Taub and Ari Levy, Bloomberg News
Comment on Winner: “An early indicator of Bank of America’s problems with uncollectible loans, this writer broke an important story that was picked up by other major American media and foreshadowed the crisis to come in commercial real estate. It does a good job of tying commercial real estate to other sectors of the economy.”
Second Place: Andrew Deichler, News
Comment on Second Place: “Although this article targets commercial real estate professionals, it is useful and informative for a broad spectrum of readers. It has a nice mix of details with helpful suggestions for tenants and landlords.”

Category 11: Best Blog
Winner: Ilyce Glink, “Home Equity”
Comment on Winner: “The blog has a wide range of subject matter from serious to the light. It is undated regularly and has established strong links to the community as evidenced by multiple commentary posts.”
Second Place: Tim Bryant and Tim Logan, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Comment on Second Place: “The authors constantly update their blog, posting sometimes several times a day, on matters of interest to St. Louis readers. Like the winner, they also prompt community discussions that help shape the news. They get a lot of responses.”

Category 12: Best Broadcast Report—Online, Radio or Television—Local, Network or Cable Channels
Winner: John Wordock (with Ann Cates), & MarketWatch Radio Network
Comment on Winner: “MarketWatch did a favor for first-time home buyers by providing an easy to understand guide to the requirements and deadlines associated with a new federal program. It examined home buying chaos from a multitude of angles.”
Second Place: Rebecca Teagarden, Seattle Times
Comment on Second Place: “This story about an international contemporary furniture fair is fun and engaging. The reporter showed initiative in crossing the country to find a local angle.”

Category 13: Best Home & Design Feature
Winner: Aisha Sultan, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Comment on Winner: “Hundreds of readers responded when they read this article about a perfectly preserved 1950s house, which the author used to explore trends in home preservation and retro furnishings. This feature presented a slice of life that many readers will identify with.”
Second Place: Mary Beth Breckenridge, Akron Beacon Journal
Comment on Second Place: “Barbie lives in an incredibly imaginative feature. Kudos to the writer for the idea of a real dream house (on the fiftieth anniversary of Barbie dolls) and to the designers whom she got to play along by providing their versions of what such a house might be like.”

Category 14: Best Column
Winner: Ken Harney, Washington Post Writers Group
Comment on Winner: “The writer takes readers to places where they probably would never go in terms of real estate news. These include: a surprisingly cogent legal case for walking away from a mortgage and how your perfectly legal questioning of your credit report could potentially prevent you from getting a loan.”
Second Place: Lew Sichelman, United Features Syndicate
Comment on Second Place: “It is obvious that this columnist has been covering real estate for more than thirty years. Columns include wading through the hype of ‘green washing’ and sellers needing to look through their home listings for errors. These topics are presented humorously, which keeps readers interested.”

Category 15: Best Series
Winner: Kirsten Grind, Puget Sound Business Journal
Comment on Winner: “It is impressive that a local business journal would cover something with such depth and clarity and impact that the series would resonate throughout the country. The many responses, including anger and disbelief, are sufficient evidence of the stories’ importance.”
Second Place: Michael M. Phillips, Wall Street Journal
Comment on Second Place: “This series is the epitome of the focus story structure, crystallizing a major issue through the details of four unique homes in different cities. This is an impressive slice of American history.”

Category 16: Best Collection of Work by an Individual
Winner: Lori Weisberg, San Diego Union Tribune
Comment on Winner: “This writer’s articles touch on real estate issues that affect people regardless of their income level. Her body of work is varied but uniformly reported and readable.”
Second Place: Mary Shanklin, Orlando Sentinel
Comment on Second Place: “In the contest’s largest entry, the articles by this reporter stood out because they put a human face on a variety of foreclosure issues, including renters, minorities, and the middle class. She obviously spent enough time with her sources for them to feel comfortable to open up on some of the most intimate and unpleasant episodes in their lives.”
Honorable Mention Winner: Carol Hazard, Richmond Times-Dispatch
Comments on Honorable Mention Winner: “The author displays an admirable range of writing skills from hard news investigative pieces to neighborhood features. No matter the subject (including having sheep, rabbits, and chickens in an urban yard), the stories were engaging and informative.”

Category 17: Best Newspaper Real Estate or Home Section More Than 250,000 Circulation
Winner: Stacy Downs, Kansas City Star
Comment on Winner: “Appealing to readers of many background, this section combines show case features with informative standing columns. The judges particularly liked the question-and-answer sessions with local people.”
Second Place: Maryann Haggerty, Elizabeth Razzi, Renae Merle and Dina ElBoghdady, Washington Post
Comment on Second Place: “This section features a good mix of hard news stories with local angles and fun features. The latter includes an insider’s look at the tricks to decorating a model home, which readers could use to better understand and apply their own marketing techniques when selling their homes.”

Category 18: Best Newspaper Real Estate or Home Section Less Than 250,000 Circulation
Winner: Michael Gottlieb, California Real Estate Journal
Comment on Winner: “A vast amount of information is packaged with an attractive design and an easy to follow layout. Additionally, the journal includes special inserts such as a distressed property report that provides a deeper analysis of the California real estate market.”
Second Place: Paul Weideman, Santa Fe New Mexican
Comment on Second Place: “Slick, colorful, and inviting, the magazine focuses in depth on the wants and desires of the Santa Fe real estate market. It is useful in many ways for the homeowner or potential home buyer.”

Category 19: Best Shelter Magazine
Winner: Gail Ravgiala, Design New England Magazine
Comment on Winner: “This magazine is far more than just pretty pictures. It combines stories about home and garden, decoration, and furnishing with useful environmental news, and the design is extremely inviting. ”
Second Place: Jack Morris, Melissa Gillespie, Ocean Home Magazine
Comment on Second Place: “Using the most stunning photography of any entry in the contest, this magazine is for those who dream about a life of leisure by the seashore. The articles and photographs suggest many useful ways to improve or design both interior and exterior environments.”

Category 20: Best Residential Trade Magazine
Winner: Denise Dersin, Builder Magazine
Comment on Winner: “This magazine gives its reader a wide array of information to help them plot their way through the current economic crisis. It gives good analytical research along with good nuts and bolts information about new products. Evidence of its engagement with its readers can be found in its very healthy letters section.”
Second Place: Kati O’Keefe, Matt Power, Green Builder Magazine
Comment on Second Place: “It caters to a devoted, highly-motivated audience and writes about science and engineering in clear and understandable ways. As a bonus, it has a clean and open design.”

Category 21: Best Commercial Trade Magazine
Winner: Matt Valley, Sibley Fleming, Denise Kalette and Jaun Mims, National Real Estate Investor Magazine
Comment on Winner: “This magazine combines in-depth information with easy to read charts and graphs in a simple design. It invites readership into complex financial issues.”
Second Place: Bryan Pope, Tierra Grande Magazine
Comment on Second Place: “This magazine is impressive because of its solid, useful reporting aimed at a specific Texas audience. An unusual advertisement-free publication, it gives readers a lot of information on a broad variety of subjects.”

Category 22: Best Newsletter
Winner: Danielle Douglas, Distressed Assets Investor
Comment on Winner: “Unlike most newsletters, this one combines text with video and web content to strengthen the impact on their target audience. It combines news and information for the commercial and legal real estate markets.”
Second Place: Daren Blomquist, Foreclosure News Report
Comment on Second Place: “This newsletter provides insightful interviews with many of those whose careers touch on the purchase of properties at auctions or on short sales. The standing feature ‘My Take’ provides provocative commentary from a variety of outside voices.”

Category 23: Best Web Site Solely Devoted to Residential or Commercial Real Estate and/or Home Design
Winner: Glenn Roberts Jr., Inman News
Comment on Winner: “Multiple points of entry give the user lots of options. The headline feature on the top of the splash page provides quick summaries while the standing columnists and special reports anchor permanent features.”
Second Place: Jean Dimeo, Katy Tomasulo, Jennifer Goodman, Rick Schwolsky, Shelley Hutchins and Ian Blyth, EcoHome
Comment on Second Place: “This web site combines breaking news, informative blogs, and an archive as well as a prominent, changing feature. The hierarchy of design invites quick choices.”

Category 24: Best Team Report
Winner: Jeanne Lang Jones and Kirsten Grind, Puget Sound Business Journal
Comment on Winner: “The idea of using one week’s foreclosures, totaling 172 families who lost their homes, provided an ingenious window into the nation’s larger financial housing crisis. The personal and individual stories revealed in this series go together like tiles in a mosaic to create a large but focused picture.”
Second Place: Dina ElBoghdady and Dan Keating, Washington Post
Comment on Second Place: “This was a high-impact story causing an immediate discussion on Capitol Hill and a change in policy of the Obama administration. The series deeply mined public data to underscore alarming trends in FHA home loans.”

Category 25: Best Investigative Report or Series
Winner: Michael Braga, Chris Davis and Matthew Doig, Sarasota Herald-Tribune
Comment on Winner: “This series examines more than 18 million real estate transactions over a decade and did an in-depth analysis on 100 to identify a particular type of mortgage fraud: illegal property flipping. Months were spent poring over land records to expose those who helped to create the worst economic meltdown since the depression.”
Second Place: Kelly Bennett and Will Carless,
Comment on Second Place: “This analysis of eighty-one bogus condominium sales exposed the vulnerability of innocent investors to fast-talking pitchmen. The story impacts not only the victims but also the taxpayers of San Diego Country, who will likely be stuck with the bill.”
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NAREE, the National Association of Real Estate Editors, is the only professional association for the nation’s journalists covering residential, commercial and financial real estate and home and design for the consumer, business, and trade media. NAREE members report on real estate finance, housing policy, the environment, urban growth, land use, investment, construction, urban and building design and related trends. Active members include editors, staff reporters, columnists, bloggers and freelance writers working in print, broadcast and online media.
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