Copper is the New Black

National Magazine Award 'Ellie' statue

Last week the BusinessWeek crew donned their Sunday best and headed off to Lincoln Center for the National Magazine Awards. This year we were pleasantly surprised to receive not one, but two nominations. Here’s the the real kicker though—both were for online. (For those keeping tabs that’s one for “General Excellence,” another for “Interactive Service.”)

And wouldn’t you know it, we actually won one of them. After seven years “the Ellie” is back at BusinessWeek, thanks to the tireless efforts of the entire online team. If anyone tells you that Old Media can’t thrive on the Web we’ve got a shiny copper statue that says otherwise.

It’s not every day that I find myself in the mix at a black tie soirée, but when ASME comes calling you jump over chairs to get there. It’s the top industry honor and, no matter how much ASME leadership may cringe when they hear it, it’s typically referred to as, “The Oscars of the magazine industry.”

Well, the glamour factor was certainly in full effect anyway. Milton Glaser! Ira Glass! John Waters! My only regrets are not getting a chance to chat with Glaser and not having my copy of Heyday on hand for Kurt Andersen to sign.

All of this was sandwiched between back-to-back all-nighters for the launch of one of our largest projects to date. (I’ve dubbed the combined Sunday/Monday, Tuesday/Wednesday runs “Smonsday” and “Twedsday” for conversational ease around the office.)

Once the big shindig wound its way down in the wee, small hours we headed back to the office, doffed the tuxes and settled in to prepare for a 5AM product launch. Levers were pulled, switches were flipped and the Company Insight Center went live, quietly transforming BusinessWeek.com into one of the largest providers of free company financial information on the Web. No joke. This little project nearly quadruples the site’s page count—and we weren’t exactly small to start with.

Wanna know how many Euros Apple is trading for on the Frankfurt exchange? Or exactly how many boards Steve Jobs sits on? Now you can. For free. While that might not blow the wind up your particular skirt, in the business news industry it’s a very, very big deal. We’ve still got a number of tweaks to plow through, but this thing is already going a long way towards signaling just how serious we are about competing in the sector.

All of which, I’m afraid, leaves very little time for sleep. Even as something of a legendary insomniac I found myself desperately grappling for the bed by the time the weekend rolled around. An unfortunate upshot is that I’ve spent most of that time nursing what seems to be the Mother of All Head Colds. (Either that, or someone stuffed a gym sock up my sinuses while I was sleeping—the jury is still out.)

I’m not complaining though. We’ve still got our Ellie.