NEW YORK — Travel Weekly Editor in Chief Arnie Weissmann was the 2013 recipient of American Business Media's G.D. Crain Jr. Award for a career that exemplifies editorial excellence in business media.
The award was presented during ABM's 59th annual Jesse H. Neal Awards ceremony on Tuesday.
The Crain award is presented each year to a journalist who has made outstanding contributions to the development of editorial excellence in business-to-business publishing.
Nominees must have a proven career record of editorial accomplishment and must have assumed leadership in the field that his or her publication serves, ABM said.
The award is named for G.D. Crain Jr., the founder of Crain Communications, which publishes BtoB, Advertising Age, Automotive News and Crain’s city-based business publications.
Weissmann has served as the editor in chief of Travel Weekly since 2001. In 1986, he founded Weissmann Travel Reports, an encyclopedic compendium for travel agents containing continually updated descriptions of every country in the world. Weissmann Reports are now incorporated into Northstar's Travel42 product.
When he sold Weissmann Reports to Reed Elsevier in 1996, Weissmann stayed on to also run Secaucus, NJ-based Star Service and Official Hotel Guide as well as 10 OAG-branded directories in the U.K. He subsequently was named senior adviser for business development.
Northstar Travel Media bought Travel Weekly from Reed Elsevier in 2001, and named Weissmann editor in chief of the publication. Since then, he has added the title of senior vice president and editorial director for Northstar's Travel Group.
In accepting the award, Weissmann said that in the Internet age, the key to excellence in trade journalism is to be found in quality professional journalists differentiating themselves from upstart Web aggregators.
“Increasingly, there is recognition that with such low barriers to entry for publishing on the Web, content that is simply aggregated, packaged and sold without strong editorial imprint is little more than a commodity,” Weissmann said. “And it will be recognized as such both by readers and investors. So the macro-economics of the industry seem, for now, to be on the side of editorial excellence. That presents some great opportunities for ABM member companies.”
Even so, he said, business pressures can too often be the undoing of editorial excellence and integrity.
“There will always be debate over the true and necessary cost of producing quality editorial,” Weissmann said. “But because of the ease with which generic information can be gathered and distributed, there should be no doubt that the movement toward editorial quality and differentiation is secular and not cyclical, and those who invest in it will be rewarded.”
The Crain award carries with it a $1,000 stipend, which Weissmann said he will donate to Tourism Cares, a nonprofit whose mission is to preserve the travel experience for future generations.
Weissmann is the second Travel Weekly editor whose work has been recognized with the G.D. Crain Jr. Award. The late Alan Fredericks received it in 1999.