The members of our Community Leader team have come to accept many labels since we launched the magazine in February 2016. Do-gooders. Advocates. Pests. And, no doubt, a host of other things no one (yet) has said to us directly.
But whatever else you may say about us, give us credit for this: We have chutzpah. What is chutzpah? My late editor Irving Leibowitz defined the term as “more than gall, more than brass. For example, if a boy murdered his mother and father and then threw himself on the mercy of the court because he was an orphan, it could be said he had chutzpah.”
We had plenty of chutzpah when, at the same time our business press colleagues were downsizing their staffs and cashing out of the Fourth Estate, we declared: We can do better.
Renowned journalist Hamz Shaban asked this in The New Yorker four years ago: “What has become of business journalism?” We sought to provide an optimistic answer. Rather than surrendering on the mission to provide thoughtful, intelligent, meaningful reporting, we decided to be the authoritative voice of the very business community we charged ourselves to cover.
In doing so, we expanded the definition of business success. We took on the environment, philanthropy, politics, education, medicine. And, in this issue, the elusive concept of talent. We endeavored not only to interpret the news for non-experts but to be a forum for the experts themselves.
That meant we had to add to the brainpower on our pages and we set out to meet the challenge by engaging the best minds in the business community and inviting — perish the thought! — their help.
We mention all this by way of delivering some breaking news: The approach has worked. I am very pleased to report that we received multiple honors at the recent Ohio Excellence in Journalism Awards, including first place in the prestigious Public Service/Investigative category for business publications. Walking away with the elite award was writer Terry Troy, who was honored for “The River Runs Through It,” his August 2017 exploration of the economic impact of the Cuyahoga River.
In addition, Troy — along with writers Joanne Parrino Cahill and Lynne Thompson — took home honors for “Cleveland Cures,” a delineation of the areas in which our medical community has risen to the pinnacle of American health care.
We also were honored for the continuing feature “Conversation,” which last year explored success with such influential leaders as Gov. John Kasich and philanthropist and magnate Monte Ahuja. Meanwhile, Managing Editor Jennifer Bowen Sima was recognized for headline writing, and the magazine’s February 2017 “Power 100” issue, featuring LeBron James, was singled out for cover design.
We may not have fully solved the ongoing crisis in business journalism (yet), but we believe our success shows that a little bit of chutzpah needs to be part of the equation — and we are grateful to our colleagues in the business press for noticing.