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Providence Publications Awards

Over the last few years, Providence Publications has been recognized for journalistic excellence by three of the major trade associations. The Newsletter on Newsletters, the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), and the Specialized Information Publishers Association (SIPA)have recognized Workers' Comp Executive and Cal-OSHA Reporter for their work in numerous categories including government service, public service, and breaking news.

2013

SIPA 3rd place Bess Shapiro, Nick Hurley, Comeron Congdon, RObbie Lynn When the Senate Rules Committee conducted a confirmation hearing for Department of Industrial Relations Director Christine Baker and Division of Workers' Compensation Administrator Rosa Moran, Workers’ Comp Executive brought cameras to the hearing room. Capitol Correspondent Bess Shapiro provided the wind up with the Capitol Building as a backdrop before moving to the hearing room to capture the action. Using two cameras, Workers’ Comp Executive’s video team filmed both the nominees and the committee members.

Combining Bess Shapiro’s narration with the seamless splicing together of important video clips, Workers’ Comp Executive was able to capture the essence of a two hour long confirmation hearing in a four and a half minute segment.

Reporter: Bess Shapiro

Video staff: Robbie Lynn, Nick Hurley, Cameron Congdon

Title:  And the Ayes Have It

Contest: Specialized Information Publishers Association

Category: Best Use of Video

Place: 3rd

 

SIPA 2nd place Bess Shapiro, Robbie Lynn, Nick Hurley, Cameron Congdon Following a rash of worker deaths and injuries in confined spaces California's Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) launched a special emphasis program and Cal-OSHA Reporter brought out the cameras to bring the news to subscribers. Cal-OSHA Reporter’s crack video team shot live interviews of experts as DOSH and the Oakland Fire Department teamed up to demonstrate confined space hazards, prevention techniques and the importance of rescue plans.

Breaking down the interviews, reporter Kevin Thompson and the Cal-OSHA Reporter’s video staff put together the most important segments of expert interviews with the Oakland Fire Department demonstrations serving as a backdrop. Kevin’s detailed coverage combined with the relative footage of experts and live demonstrations provided an informative video package for Cal-OSHA Reporter subscribers on an important topic.

Reporter: Kevin Thompson

Video staff: Robbie Lynn, Nick Hurley, Cameron Congdon

Title:  Widess: There is No Room for Error

Contest: Specialized Information Publishers Association

Category: Best Use of Video

Place: 2nd

2012

SIPA David Swit Award for Best Investigative Reporting 2012 First place Dale Debber Brad Cain Bess ShapiroState Compensation Insurance Fund, California’s quasi-public workers’ comp carrier of last resort, announced a $50 million dividend for its policyholders. The rules for SCIF dividends are different, yet it announced some specific criteria to comply that discriminated against policy holders. The rules for SCIF dividends are different. Workers’ Comp Executive was the only industry publication to recognize a problem and let loose with a well sourced and well researched story. State Fund can issue a dividend but it needs to be fair in its approach. Under the regulation State Fund’s plan was illegal. Despite a clear violation of statute this was an oversight that apparently even escaped State Fund’s lawyers. The result was an instant reversal on the part of State Fund. It called an emergency public meeting to announce the changes to its proposed dividend plan to make it compliant with the law. 

Reporters: J Dale Debber, Brad Cain, Bess Shapiro 

Title:  Is State Fund’s Dividend Plan Illegal? 

Contest: Specialized Information Publishers Association 

Category: David Swit Award for Best Investigative Reporting 

Place: 1st             

State Fund Declares Dividend

Is State Fund Dividend Plan Illegal

State Fund Fixes Dividend Policy

 

 

SIPA Best Spot News Coverage First Place Brad CainWhen the staff of the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau of California wanted to change a rule that could potentially undermine efforts to combat this kind of fraud, Workers’ Comp Executive was there to tell small employers that WCIRB wanted to remove one of the more effective tools for fighting fraud. One of the biggest areas of premium fraud is in the construction industry. For this reason WCIRB requires that any workers’ comp policy generating exposure in a high wage construction classification have a physical audit, regardless of the amount of premium.  WCIRB proposed to do away with this important check on the construction industry and make it uniform with other policies. Brad’s coverage showed that under cover of some other business, WCIRB tried to sneak in the change to the audit rule.  When it failed before its own committee, the staff backed off and took another look. 

Reporter:  Brad Cain 

Title:  Is WCIRB Aiding Premium Fraud? 

Contest:  Specialized Information Publishers Association 

Category:  Best Spot News 

Place: 1st

Is WCIRB Aiding Premium Fraud

 

 

SIPA Best Use of Video First Place Brad Cain, Robbie Lynn, Cameron CongdonState Compensation Insurance Fund, a quasi-public agency and the largest workers’ comp carrier in California embarked on a reorganization plan that involved downsizing and relocating personnel. Rather than using video cameras to cover a lengthy, pro forma SCIF board meeting, editor Brad Cain decided to get right to the heart of matter and shoot the protest then going outside SCIF headquarters.

As revealed during Brad’s coverage, SCIF employees fear being uprooted and relocated only to be laid off later. Brad not only captured the protest, he interviewed concerned employees and drew contrasts between their plight and those of the Occupy protests going on at the time. 

Reporter:  Brad Cain 

Title:  State Fund Workers Protest Cuts  

Video Team:  Robbie Lynn, Cameron Congdon 

Category:  Best Use of Video 

Place: 1st

State Fund Workers Protest Cuts

 

 

2011

2011 Editorial Excellence Award Best Reference Publication or Directory Second Place Bess Shapiro Jack Duffy Paul Stremple Workers' Comp Executive Most Influential PeopleLooking for a way to capture the talent, expertise and influence of the numerous individuals in the California workers' comp industry, Workers' Comp Executive started by compiling a list of names in several different categories and then came up with a list of questions to ask each and every one of them. What emerged was a comprehensive product of the Who's Who in workers' compensation. The Most Influential didn't just list a name and an affiliation; it gave answers to some of the most pressing California workers' comp questions of the time and provided a glimpse into the future.

Reporters: Bess Shapiro, Jack Duffy, Paul Stremple

Contest: Specialized Information Publishers Association

Category: Best Reference Publication or Directory

Place: 2nd  

The Most Influential People in California Workers' Compensation for 2010 

 

 

2011 The Newsletter on Newsletters First Place Best Deadline Reporting Brad CainWhen a state agency decides to contravene the intent of the Legislature, its big news and Workers’ Comp Executive got the story first when the Division of Workers’ Compensation’s (DWC) decided it was not going to update the permanent disability rating schedule (PDRS). The PDRS sets benefit award levels for workers who are permanently disable by an industrial injury. DWC officials began the process of updating the schedule in 2008 ahead of a January 1, 2010 deadline, but never completed the process. WCE was the first to get DWC officials to say on the record that they would not be updating the PDRS. The story enough buzz to prompt a formal inquiry by the Assembly Insurance Committee and the Senate Labor and Industrial Relations to the administrative director of DWC asking why the PDRS had not been updated. This resulted in the convening of an oversight hearing by the Senate Insurance Committee demanding answers from the administration and information from the industry.

Reporter: Brad Cain

Contest: Newsletter on Newsletters

Category: Best Deadline Reporting

Place: 1st 

http://www.wcexec.com/No-Timely-Update-For-PDRS-Schedule.aspx

 

 

 

2011 The Newsletter on Newsletters Second Place Brad Cain Best Government News CoverageContinuing its fine tradition of acting as the industry’s watchdog, Workers’ Comp Executive discovered that the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau was not operating in a transparent manner. WCIRB is responsible for ensuring that workers’ compensation carriers report accurate information about the California market. Despite doing the business of the Department of Insurance, which includes consumers—in this case employers—the Bureau was managing to keep some of the people’s business under wraps. WCE revealed that WCIRB was disciplining workers’ comp carriers for various infractions of these reporting rules but would not disclose which ones were being disciplined or for what reasons.

Reporter: Brad Cain

Contest: Newsletter on Newsletters

Category: Best Government News Coverage

Place: 2nd 

http://www.wcexec.com/articles/WCE00-20090324-003.html

 

 

 

2011 The Newsletter on Newsletters First Place Best Governmental News Coverage Brad Cain and Bess ShapiroSelf-Insured groups or SIGs are groups of employers in the same industry that band together to provide workers’ comp coverage for their members. Each member is joint and severally liable for the members of the group should one of them go bankrupt. If one falls, they could all fall. Despite the fact that they act like insurance carriers, they are not held to the same standards as insurance companies. SIGs are not required disclose their financials to the public like insurance companies, despite being responsible for billions in payroll. A series of articles written by Workers’ Comp Executive detailing SIG vulnerabilities proved prescient. During 2009, the self insured groups run by group administrator CRM started closing as membership began to flag. The following year Workers’ Comp Executive broke the story about the failure of CRM’s Contractors Access Program Self Insured Program, the first self-insured group in California to fail. The result was millions in liabilities left with small employers. This was despite assurances from the SIG community that California had some of the toughest regulations and administration. 

Reporters: Brad Cain & Bess Shapiro

Contest: Newsletter on Newsletters

Category: Best Governmental Coverage

Place: 3rd

CRM Confirms Auto Group's Closure  

Will Scrutiny Screw the SIGs  

Self-Insured Groups Play Hide the Data   Discussions May Eviscerate SIG Disclosure Bill  

CHSWC Study Says Full Disclosure Not Necessary  

The Virtue of Selfishness: Let Competitors Peek  

Legislature: SIG Transparency Still Controversial  

 

 

 

2010

2010 SIPA Best Spot News/Exclusive Single News Story 3rd place J Dale DebberWhen there was no budget and no money, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger decided that the sale of State Compensation Insurance Fund would bring some quick cash to the state coffers. The only problem was that the scheme was hatched behind the scenes and may have violated the constitution. WCE revealed before a bill even came out in print, the machinations behind the bill. This included the fact that the insurance commissioner would have no say in the transaction and that the State Fund board of directors would have no choice but to comply with the sale. The revelations helped stall the plan, which has never been revived. 

Reporter: J Dale Debber

Contest: Specialized Information Publishers Association

Category: Best Spot/Exclusive Single News

Place: 3rd 

http://www.wcexec.com/SCIF-SALE-It-Might-Happen.aspx

 

 

2009

2009 SIPA Best Spot News Story Secon place Brad CainWorkers’ Comp Executive got wind that a big retailer was about to go belly up, but the Office of Self-Insured Plans, the regulator of self-insured employers had failed to obtain a security deposit. When Brad Cain found out that Mervyns changed its bankruptcy filing from reorganization to liquidation, OSIP found it would have to payout bout $3.4 million a year to cover $20 million in workers’ comp claims that should have been covered by the deposit. The story exposed a glaring hole in the regulation of self-insured employers in California and showed how other employers in California can end up footing the bill. Workers’ Comp Executive as ahead of the story before anyone else. 

Reporter: Brad Cain

Contest: Specialized Information Publishers Association

Category: Best Spot News

Place: 2nd  

http://www.wcexec.com/articles/WCE00-20081103-003.html

 

 

 

2008

 

2010 Newsletter on Newsletters Award for Public Service Dale Debber and Bess Shapiro First PlaceIn 2008, Workers’ Comp Executive was back at it as legislators introduced bills to bring more openness and transparency to State Fund’s operations and governance in response to the scandals. Two bills were introduced addressing management and the board of directors and requiring that State Fund be subject to California’s open meeting laws and public records act requests. But we discovered the process was rigged from the start. Workers’ Comp Executive followed the legislation process from the beginning analyzing the language and hearing from the experts. State Fund’s board of directors controlled the language of the legislation from the beginning giving new president Janet Frank very little access. Despite a pledge to transparency, State Fund managed to keep most of the information that would be of greatest interest to policy holders and the public under wraps.

Reporters: Dale Debber, Bess Shapiro

Contest: Newsletter on Newsletters

Category: Award for Public Service  

http://www.wcexec.com/articles/WCE00-20070302-000.htm.aspx

 

 

2010 Newsletter on Newsletters Best Deadline Reporting Dale Debber and Brad Cain First PlaceWhen new president Janet Frank took the reins at State Compensation Insurance Fund, Workers’ Comp Executive was interested in her compensation packages. We obtained a copy of her contract and it was revealing was her hiring bonus which was paid in increments totaling more than $139,000. State Fund refused to answer questions about the bonus or about the fact that Frank was allowed to spend four days a week in California and the rest in Colorado where she lived and whether State Fund was paying her travel expenses. State Fund told us one thing and our sources told us another. Things got testy when State Fund eventually answered our questions…to our competitor.  In doing so, it revealed that it was willing to put its own spin on the answers and violate the principle of transparency. Once we finally got a copy of her contract it was revealed that what we had been told by our sources was the accurate version.

 

Reporters: Dale Debber, Brad Cain

Contest: Newsletter on Newsletters

Category:  Best Deadline Reporting

Place: 1st 

            SCIF Hides President’s Hiring Bonus

             It’s Good When the Truth Gets Out  

             State Fund Responds  

 

 

2010 Newsletter on Newsletters Best Government Reporting Dale Debber First PlaceWhen there was no budget and no money, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger decided that the sale of State Compensation Insurance Fund would bring some quick cash to the state coffers. The only problem was that the scheme was hatched behind the scenes and may have violated the constitution. Workers’ Comp Executive revealed before a bill even came out in print, all the machinations behind the legislation. With a series of articles we revealed not only the behind the scenes wheeling and dealing, but  the fact that the insurance commissioner would have no say in the transaction and that the State Fund’s board of directors would have no choice but to comply with the sale. The revelations helped stall the plan, which has never been revived.

 Reporter: Dale Debber

Contest: Newsletter on Newsletters

Category: Best Government Reporting

Place: 1st

 

             Sale of State Fund under Real Consideration  

             SCIF Sale Discussions an Evolving Issue  

             SCIF Sale: It Might Happen  

 

 

2010 Newsletter on Newsletters Best Feature Article Bess Shapiro First PlaceIt’s not too often that one gets called for jury duty, but in this instance our Capitol correspondent was called to perform her civic duty. As a journalist Bess Shapiro had to listen to her instincts, not to mention her conscience, as a reporter in deciding whether or not she could be an impartial juror. It became a journey through the legal process with a little workers’ comp thrown in.

Reporter: Bess Shapiro

Contest: Newsletter on Newsletters

Category: Best Feature Article

Place: 1st  

             The Journalist in the Jury Pool  

 

 

 

2010 Newsletter on Newsletters Best News Writing Brad Cain First PlaceThe workers’ comp reforms are Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s greatest legacy, but increasing medical severity and two damaging Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board decisions threatened to undermine them. The Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau of California responded by recommending the largest rate increase in five years. And it was a whopper. We were there to break the story way ahead of our competitors and let the industry and employers know that the good times were over.

Reporter: Brad Cain

Contest: Newsletter on Newsletters

Category: Best News Writing

Place: 1st

             27% Rate Hike Recommendation Coming  

 

 

2007

In 2007, Workers’ Comp Executive took State Compensation Insurance Fund’s group program to task after the high profile resignation of SCIF’s president and vice president for group programs. First we covered the resignations themselves and the fallout followed by the machinations behind the group programs. Using copious research and interviews we showed that despite being paid millions of dollars in fees, group administrators provided very little by way of service. As the fallout continued more State Fund employees resigned, we scored the next big scoop breaking the news that State Fund had dropped its largest safety group. The scandal really hit the fan when the California Department of Insurance, California Highway Patrol, and the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office announced a probe into the group programs at State Fund.

Reporters: Dale Debber, Nils Wright, Bess Shapiro

Contest: Newsletter and Newsletters

Category: Best Government Coverage

Place: 1st, 2nd, 3rd

2007 Newsletter on Newsletters Government Converage Nils Wright, Dale Debber and Bess Shapiro First Place1st Place  Workers' Comp Executive for Government Coverage. Reporting by Dale Debber, Nils Wright & Bess Shapiro

             Tudor Shown the Door after Internal Investigation  

             State Fund Group Administrators Paid $500 Million  

             SCIF Governance Proposal  

             SCIF’s Charles Savage Canned  

             State Fund in for Three-Pronged Probe  

             State Fund Drops Its Largest Safety Group  

             Welcome to the Jungle  

             Major Associations Leaving State Fund  

             Does State Fund Control Contractor Pure Premium  

             Former Director DelRe Lures Business from State Fund  

  2007 Newsletter on Newsletters Bess Shapiro, Dale Debber, Nils Wright Providence Pubications Second Place Governmental Coverage Workers'Comp Executive 2nd Place  Workers' Comp Executive for Government Coverage. Reporting by Dale Debber, Nils Wright & Bess Shapiro

             Tudor Shown the Door after Internal Investigation  

             State Fund Group Administrators Paid $500 Million  

             SCIF Governance Proposal  

             SCIF’s Charles Savage Canned  

             State Fund in for Three-Pronged Probe  

             State Fund Drops Its Largest Safety Group  

             Welcome to the Jungle  

             Major Associations Leaving State Fund  

             Does State Fund Control Contractor Pure Premium  

             Former Director DelRe Lures Business from State Fund  

2007 Newsletter on Newsletters Bess Shapiro, Dale Debber, Nils Wright Providence Pubications Third Place Governmental Coverage Workers'Comp Executive3rd Place  Workers' Comp Executive for Government Coverage. Reporting by Dale Debber, Nils Wright & Bess Shapiro

             Tudor Shown the Door after Internal Investigation  

             State Fund Group Administrators Paid $500 Million  

             SCIF Governance Proposal  

             SCIF’s Charles Savage Canned  

             State Fund in for Three-Pronged Probe  

             State Fund Drops Its Largest Safety Group  

             Welcome to the Jungle  

             Major Associations Leaving State Fund  

             Does State Fund Control Contractor Pure Premium  

             Former Director DelRe Lures Business from State Fund   

 

2007 SIPA Bess Shapiro, Dale Debber, Nils Wright Providence Pubications Third Place Best Investigative Reporting Workers'Comp ExecutiveReporters: Dale Debber, Nils Wright, Bess Shapiro

Contest: Specialized Information Publishers Association

Category: Best Investigative Reporting

Place: 3rd 

             Tudor Shown the Door after Internal Investigation  

             State Fund Group Administrators Paid $500 Million  

             SCIF Governance Proposal  

             SCIF’s Charles Savage Canned  

             State Fund in for Three-Pronged Probe  

             State Fund Drops Its Largest Safety Group  

             Welcome to the Jungle  

             Major Associations Leaving State Fund  

             Does State Fund Control Contractor Pure Premium  

             Former Director DelRe Lures Business from State Fund  

 

 

 

 

 

Accolades from Officials on Providence Publications’ Winning Five Prestigious Journalism Awards from Newsletter on Newsletters

"Good Journalism is essential for good government and I'm proud to have these California journalists recognized in the national community. We stand with all Californians in recognizing Providence Publications for its great journalism and many awards this year.  Dale, Bess, and Brad are familiar faces around the Capitol and I join the whole Capitol community in recognizing not only the efforts of the whole Providence Publications team, but in thanking them for the kind of accurate and fair reporting they do. I am delighted that they brought so many prestigious awards back to California."

  --Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, on Providence Publications winning five prestigious journalism awards.

 

 "Workers Comp Executive and its excellent team of writers and editors work tirelessly to pursue the latest developments in the workers' compensation market," said California Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner. "Congratulations to Dale Debber, Brad Cain and Bess Shapiro for winning these awards and brining their readers their special brand of determined and detailed reporting."

 --Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner on Providence Publications winning five prestigious journalism awards

 

 

News Releases and Articles

The Newsletter On Newsletters Awards Providence Publications Top Journalism Award For Second Consecutive Year

Providence Publications takes home journalism awards

Workers' Comp Executive Wins NL/NL's Top Journalism Award for Reporting That Opened Records and Meetings of California Agency

 

 

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