If you weren’t at the University of Michigan Management Briefing Seminars last year, you missed one heckuva show daily. At least that’s the conclusion of the American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE). The Ward’s AutoWorld dailies, produced here at last year’s event, won the journalism society’s top national award for editorial excellence for on-site trade show coverage. The award was presented in June at ASBPE’s annual conference in Boston.

WAW editor Drew Winter the Ward’s Communications senior reporting staff for winning the award.

“Most show dailies are created and produced on-the-spot as basically throw-away publications. They sum up speeches and deliver a “Cliff’s Notes” version of the day’s events and they aren’t worth much to anyone two days later.

“That’s not the way we do things at Ward’s,” Winter says. “We always try to cram so much news, analysis and statistics into our various publications that readers can never just skim and toss. Even our “throw-aways” are keepers,” Winter jokes. “We think that approach is a better service to our readers and advertisers,” he adds.

While good on-the-spot reporting is crucial, Winter says advance planning is what really moves the Ward’s dailies from the pack. Senior Managing Editor Mike Arnholt starts planning coverage of the Management Briefing Seminars in May, he said, and reporters usually start doing advance reporting on some stories in June and July.

“Advance legwork by folks like Editor-at-Large David C. Smith allowed us to actually break news at the conference, in addition to reporting on events,” Winter said.

In addition to the National Award for the show dailies, WAW won two first place ASBPE regional awards. “Bogged Down Abroad,” the June ’00 cover story on Ford’s troubles in Europe won a first place gold award in the Single News Article category while WAW’s November and December ’00 “State of the Industry” issues won first place in the Feature Series category. WAW sister publication, Ward’s Dealer Business, won first place for a feature series in a smaller circulation category for its own “State of the Industry” package.