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NAREE's 69th Annual Journalism Contest Winners
Published Friday, June 28, 2019 9:00 pm

GOREY, Freelancer, The Boston Globe, “Borderline Behavior”


Judges’ comment: This collection of thoroughly reported and well-written stories both entertains and informs the reader on topics, particularly two of them (weird borders and what real-estate agents do when they’re in the middle of a family dispute during a sale), that aren’t typically covered. All three stories are well sourced. 



MICHELE LERNER, Freelancer, The Washington Post, "The New Boomtowns"


Judges’ comment: This collection of stories addresses what happens when home price gains outstrip incomes, from where to live (think Sacramento and Nashville) to downsizing baby boomers calculating whether to rent or buy. Data-driven but tied to real people, these stories compellingly reflect the zeitgeist of the day.



JASON HIDALGO, The Reno Gazette-Journal, "Rock wall failures in Reno"


Judges’ comment: Hidalgo dives into data and neighborhoods to provide well-written and in-depth stories that reveal the motivations and consequences of poorly conceived laws.  Detailed, thorough and important watch-dog reporting.



DEVON THORNSBY, U.S. News & World Report, “What Limits Can Your Landlord Put on Gun Possession?”


Judges’ comment: The story collection tackles two subjects often written about – pets and what to do when your rent is raised – but takes a fresh angle on both. The story about what limits landlords can and can’t put on renters who possess guns was insightful, with information not seen in other stories. 


Category 2: Best Collection of Work by an Individual Covering Commercial Real Estate



JONATHAN O’CONNELL, The Washington Post, “Do posh waterfronts make a city world-class? D.C. is betting hundreds of millions on it,” “The unspoken factor in Amazon's HQ2 hunt,” and “Trump's interest slows FBI HQ project.”


Judges’ comment: O’Connell’s collection of stories includes some unique angles on widely reported stories, such as an in-depth and nuanced exploration of the waterfront project in SW Washington, D.C., that traced the evolution over more than two decades and remains controversial. Beautifully written and deeply reported.



NOAH BUHAYAR, Bloomberg News, “Opportunity Zones”


Judges’ comment: This collection shines a light on the fine print in IRS rules for the Trump administration’s opportunity zones, including that the biggest breaks go to Goldman Sachs and other large investors, while the intended recipients of the breaks -- investors in disadvantaged neighborhoods – get frozen out. Colorful maps vividly drive the point home.



JACOB ADELMAN, Philadelphia Inquirer, “Malls of Vacant Halls”


Judges’ comment: A trio of informative and entertaining stories, with the best of the bunch being how Namadar Realty Group in New York is buying dying malls and making them worse instead of improving them. This collection includes original data and analysis from the Inquirer, making it all the more unique.  



LORETTA CLODFELTER, Institutional Real Estate Americas, “All about that bass”


Judges’ comment: Data and well-placed sources drive these three stories about how real estate investment is and can be used in today’s 401(k)s; the use of technology in the real estate industry; and how investors can make money and do well by investing in affordable housing.


Category 3: Best Real Estate Column



BECKIE STRUM, Dow Jones / Mansion Global, “Over-Customizing a Home May Lead to Trouble Selling it.”


Judges’ comment: Strum uses vivid examples to make her point about homeowners’ eccentric touches hurting resale value. Guns ‘n’ Roses guitarist Slash added a stripper pole and a 36-foot skateboard ramp to his home (and ended up needing to cut his price by $2.3 million), and Bulls star Michael Jordan built a mansion with 15 bathrooms and a regulation-size basketball court.  Strum’s wealthy readers learn good lessons from her “show, don’t tell” efforts. 




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