From The Columbus Dispatch

The Dispatch shared top honors with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinelfor producing the best Business section in the U.S. among similar-size newspapers as part of an annual contest by the Society of American Business Editors and Writers.

Dispatch Business Reporter Dan Gearino tied for second place in the investigative reporting category.

The “Best in Business” awards were given last night in Phoenix during a banquet after the group’s annual conference.

The Dispatch’s section award was for newspapers with circulation of 100,000 to 200,000. The award is judged on a “news organization’s quality, strength and consistency over time.” The Dispatch and Journal Sentinel were the only two papers honored in the category.

Judges said The Dispatch’s Business “staff showed consistently good quality work, with a solid contingent of enterprise pieces.” They concluded by saying the “Business section served its audience well.”

Gearino was recognized for his work that looked at unregulated “submeter” utility companies that primarily serve apartment and condo buildings as part of agreements with developers that can lead to much higher rates than the norm for tenants.

The work led to a three-day report that ran in October.

Judges said: “This entry distinguished itself by helping to bring to a stop an unconscionable practice. One of the higher goals in any investigative journalism project — the exposure helped to end the evictions, with legislation introduced to bring the middlemen under regulation.”

The contest attracted a record 1,123 entries from 181 news outlets.

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