Heavy Duty Trucking magazine has captured the 2009 Grand Neal Award-the highest honor in business journalism. The magazine won for its special theme issue, Fuel Crisis Survival, published in June 2008 as trucking struggled with sky-high fuel prices.
The Grand Neal, established in 1996, goes to the one publication judged to be the best of all entries in American Business Media's annual Neal Awards competition. This year there were 842 Neal entries from national media, covering all fields of business.
An independent panel of journalism experts selects the Grand Neal recipient from winners of Jesse H. Neal Awards in several categories. Judging is based on the magazine's service to the industry, journalistic enterprise and editorial craftsmanship.
When fuel prices hit record levels last spring, Heavy Duty Trucking editors quickly shifted their editorial plan to focus an entire issue-June-on fuel management strategies. The issue offered specific advice on driver behavior, idling reduction, equipment specifications, aerodynamics, hybrid trucks, technology and more.
When published, the special issue drew record numbers of requests for extra copies and was used by the American Trucking Associations' workshop for the fuel crisis. In addition, it was used to create a free online driver training program for fleets, and a leading industry association asked permission to post the entire magazine content on its web site to help its members cope with fuel costs.
In addition to the Grand Neal, the June fuel issue won two other 2009 Jesse H. Neal prizes for best single theme issue and best series of articles. The Jesse H. Neal is regarded as the Pulitzer of business journalism.
Contributing staff members included Editorial Director Deborah Whistler, Executive Editor Steve Sturgess, Senior Managing Editor Deborah Lockridge, Washington Editor Oliver Patton, Senior Equipment Editor Tom Berg, Contributing Editors Jim Park and Bette Garber, Technology Editor Jim Beach and Creative Director Susan Overstreet.
This year's three Neal honors add to the staff's wide margin of leadership in trucking journalism. Newport Communications editors, who produce Heavy Duty Trucking and Heavy Duty Aftermarket Journal, have now won 42 Neal prizes and 62 awards in other journalism competitions. In addition, three Heavy Duty Trucking editors hold the American Business Media Crain Award for distinguished careers.