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Source: DTN news release

A series of DTN articles on the aftermath of the West, Texas, fertilizer explosion won a Neal Award for Best News Coverage at the 60th Annual Jesse H. Neal national business journalism awards program.

The news coverage package, written by reporters Russ Quinn and Todd Neeley, Ag Policy Editor Chris Clayton, and with writing and editing additions by Associate Managing Editor Elaine Shein and Editor-in-Chief Greg Horstmeier, bested three other finalists from Architect, Aviation Week and Modern Healthcare magazines.

The Best News category was one of six in which DTN/The Progressive Farmer (DTN/PF) achieved a finalist spot this year, the most of any agricultural media company.

Other DTN/PF finalist categories included: Best Subject-Related Series for the "Crop Management" series in The Progressive Farmer; Best Blog for "An Urban's Rural View;" Best Website for the paid-subscription site; and two finalists in the Best Use of Mobile for the DTN/PF iPad app and the DTN Ag Weather app.

The 60th Neal Awards saw 612 entries from business-to-business media companies throughout the U.S.

DTN's reporting on the explosion at the West Fertilizer Co. began almost minutes following social media and television news that the April 17 event happened

The news of a fertilizer facility exploding had DTN reporters and editors contacting experts in Texas, in the fertilizer industry and elsewhere in search for clues and opinions on what might have gone so tragically wrong in this small Texas town.

Later, coverage focused on both the lack of regulations around safe ammonium nitrate storage and on the status of emergency responder training to agricultural chemical disasters. The reporting and follow-up on these issues and on the town of West continues.

Judges praised the depth and breadth of reporting that went beyond normal disaster event coverage.

"To have six finalists, from news coverage to features, online blogs to print magazine packages, plus web and mobile products, shows the depth of DTN/The Progressive Farmer efforts to give farmers and agribusinesses the information they need to be successful in today's marketplace," said Matt Bradford, General Manager of Agriculture at DTN/The Progressive Farmer.

"We continue to have the most decorated newsroom in agriculture and our products are second to none in terms of ease of use and depth of information. They are products professional farmers use to make successful business decisions every day, and we're proud that our efforts are also recognized by our media peers for their professionalism," said Bradford.

The Jesse H. Neal Awards, named after the first managing director of the American Business Media association, are conducted by the Association of Business Information and Media Companies.

The awards are the most prestigious in the business media world, which includes media companies that serve agriculture, industry, construction, education, legal, medical and other fields, with more than 4,000 titles.

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