'Big Picture' Wins 'NYT' Internal Awards

Each year, the New York Times presents in-house awards, called the Punch Awards, to recognize great contributions from the staff. This year they quite rightly recognize the inventor of The Big Picture, the genius Boston Globe-hosted photography weblog. Unfortunately, the owners of the Times are forced to note that staffer Alan Taylor (a software engineer) “developed and promoted the blog largely on his own time.” Perhaps in the future the newspaper company will encourage the development of their most successful products on, say, staff time.

Dear Colleague,
We are delighted to announce the winners of the 2008 Punch Award. As you know, the Punch Award is designed to recognize those employees who achieve outstanding performance in a Company where excellence is the norm, while reinforcing our Company’s Core Values and Rules of the Road. As you would expect, the 2008 Punch Award process was highly competitive, all of the submissions were of exceptionally high caliber, which made the selection process extremely difficult. Yet, as we explored each nomination, taking into account that 2008 was an incredibly demanding year for our industry and as a result of the global economy, it became more and more evident that two initiatives achieved the level of “exceptional” and our Executive Committee has selected them as the winners.

2008 Punch Award Winner – Journalism and Community Service

The New England Media Group’s submission, The Big Picture, is the winner of the Journalism and Community Service category. The concept for this photo blog originated with Alan Taylor, a Boston.com software engineer. He envisioned telling stories on the Web with visual power, then brought his idea to life, using high-quality imagery with a focus on current events.

Alan developed and promoted the blog largely on his own time. And we’re so glad he did. Since its inception in June 2008, The Big Picture has garnered almost 37 million page views and engaged its audience in new and profound ways. What’s more it has gained praise from online leaders, such as PC Magazine and Tim O’Reilly of O’Reilly Media. In addition, it was a finalist in this year’s South-by-Southwest Web Awards.

Alan exemplified two of our cherished Rules of the Road. First, he maintained a “relentless focus on our customers.” Second, he did so by “innovating” so that our organization could continue to strive towards realizing its full competitive potential.

Thank you, Alan, for your magnificent contribution to the Company and for inspiring millions of online readers.

2008 Punch Award Winner – Business

The Circulation & National Printing Team of The New York Times wins in the 2008 Punch Award business category for its successful Circulation & National Printing initiative. This endeavor delivered more than $134 million to the bottom line. Taking into account the downturn in our national economy along with the rapid changes in technology this is truly
an extraordinary achievement.

The team members were Ray Pearce, Vice President of Circulation, Lynda Sachs, Executive Director of Circulation Finance, James Dunn, Managing Director of Consumer Marketing, Cindy Witty, Managing Director of Circulation Marketing, Karen Dong, Managing Director of Call Center Operations, Mark Weitzel, Managing Director of Circulation Fulfillment, Anthony Mazzone, Managing Director of Circulation Fulfillment, John Daly, Executive Director of Circulation Operations, Brian Sheehan, Managing Director of Retail/Corporate Sales, Susan Mills, Managing Director of NexGen Sales, Chi Ho, Financial Director and Todd Socia, Executive
Director, Outside Printing. From multiple departments and areas of expertise, they worked together to focus on revenue by identifying the most profitable opportunities and aggressively growing quality circulation in those areas, coupled with single copy and home delivery price increases.

Yet, as impressive as the results were, how the team went about its work was just as note worthy. Their superior efforts made evident the Rule of the Road focusing on “collaboration to harness their collective strengths.” In addition, the speed with which they acted to deliver outstanding business results demonstrated their ability to “execute with urgency, agility, and excellence.”

We applaud the Circulation & National Printing Team for a job well done.
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We anticipate that the months ahead of us will put our collective strength and dedication to the test. Yet, as our 2008 Punch Award winners showed us through their achievements, we can meet our journalistic and business challenges and triumph. Please visit Insite at http://web.nytimes.com/insite to browse through all the nominations.

Congratulations to our 2008 Punch Award winners.

Arthur & Janet