Apr 09, 2018

WWD Wins Jesse H. Neal Award for Best Subject-Related Package

Water & Wastes Digest Designer Jason Kenny, Managing Editor Bob Crossen, Editorial Director Bill Wilson, Associate Editor Amy McIntosh and Associate Editor Lauren Baltas won the Jesse H. Neal Award for Best Subject-Related Package.
The WWD editorial and design team wins Jesse H. Neal Award for Best Subject-Related Package.

Left to right, Water & Wastes Digest Designer Jason Kenny, Managing Editor Bob Crossen, Editorial Director Bill Wilson, Associate Editor Amy McIntosh and Associate Editor Lauren Baltas.
Left to right, Water & Wastes Digest Designer Jason Kenny, Managing Editor Bob Crossen, Editorial Director Bill Wilson, Associate Editor Amy McIntosh and Associate Editor Lauren Baltas won the Jesse H. Neal Award for Best Subject-Related Package for covering the effects of Hurricane Harvey on municipal and industrial water and wastewater treatment facilities in Houston in print, online and with video.

The Water & Wastes Digest (WWD) team is honored to receive a Jesse H. Neal award for its coverage of Hurricane Harvey. This award is considered the “Pulitzer of the business press,” and the team is excited and grateful for the recognition.

After learning about winning, the editorial team wanted to make a post to pull back the curtain and give you an idea of what its experience was like covering the hurricane and its effects.

The Water & Wastes Digest October issue was one of several editorial pieces included in the submission for the Jesse H. Neal Award.
The October issue of Water & Wastes Digest was one of several pieces submitted for the Jesse H. Neal Best Subject-Related Package Award.

Last August, WWD underwent some editorial restructuring. Bob Crossen, Amy McIntosh and Lauren Baltas took on new and greater roles for magazines for the parent company, Scranton Gillette Communications (SGC). And they also were taken under the wing of a new editorial director, Bill Wilson. Wilson has almost 20 years of experience in business-to-business journalism covering infrastructure, and when he became part of our team, he pushed us to reach for the next level of content creation and become elite journalists in our industries—usually by regularly saying that we were going to “elevate the game.”

We took this to heart and as soon as our transitions began in earnest, news of Hurricane Harvey was mounting. We scrapped the entire October issue and began calling facilities in Houston affected by the storms. On the website and social media platforms, Baltas posted regular updates on the effects of wind, rain and flooding in Texas, and she also covered the Arkema plant explosions for the print issue. The team also filled eight tabloid pages with photos, informational tables and text in print—more than 6,000 words when all was said and done. Editors listened in and asked questions in phone press conferences, contacted local water and wastewater facilities for their perspective and spoke with manufacturers about how they prepare stock to replace any broken equipment following disastrous events like that in Houston.

Operators and managers at the 69th Street Wastewater Treatment Plant in Houston kept operations running during Hurricane Harvey.
WWD staff interviewed operators and managers of the 69th Street Wastewater Treatment Plant in Houston about the effects of the storm on the plant and its personnel.

To add more complications, Crossen was on a trip on the west coast talking to potential authors about editorial content while trying get the issue to the printer. One of those days, he was typesetting his editorial letter from the back seat of a rental car connected to the phone of SGC’s vice president of marketing for internet access.

Water & Wastes Digest editors visit Houston following Hurricane Harvey.
Water & Waste Digest editors visited Houston in October to see how water and wastewater treatment plants were fairing in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.

Then one week after WEFTEC, the team traveled to Houston and visited with the 69th Street Wastewater Treatment Plant in Houston, the Deer Park Water Treatment Plant in Deer Park, Texas, and Homer’s Soft Water in Rosenberg, Texas. All those visits included Facebook live video and social media postings conducted by McIntosh, video footage shot by Baltas and video interviews conducted by Crossen and McIntosh from those sites. All the video accumulated in Houston was used to develop a five-part video series last November and December.

We are grateful for all the individuals who helped us make this coverage possible and for the many people who agreed to be interviewed. Special thanks to our friends in Houston—Sidney Bomer, Tomas Martinez, Raymond Romdeo, Nicholas Cook and Kevin Davitt. We could not have covered this event as extensively without your hospitality and the cooperation of you and your coworkers. Thank you sincerely for your time.

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