The Mercury News' business staff has taken three top professional awards, including one for overall excellence, in a contest sponsored by the Society of American Business Editors and Writers.
The awards recognize the best publications and Web sites and the best business news reporting for 2009. The Mercury News was the only Bay Area newspaper honored this year.
Brandon Bailey and Elise Ackerman won top honors in the breaking news category for their coverage of Carol Bartz's appointment as CEO of Yahoo.
Chris O'Brien won in the business columnist category for work ranging from a column on the behind-the-scenes players in Silicon Valley who make the region a center of innovation to a piece on the Silicon Valley executives who were the best "bargains" -- based on their pay -- for the value they delivered to shareholders.
The Merc won in the overall excellence category for papers of its size, an award that recognizes the work of the entire staff and is judged based on the submission of a number of editions from throughout the year.
Also honored for overall excellence in this category were The Des Moines Register and The Detroit News.
The awards will be officially presented at a SABEW meeting March 20 in Phoenix.
"It's gratifying to see the efforts of the Merc's excellent business reporting staff get this national recognition yet again," said Dave Butler, editor of the Mercury News and vice president for news for MediaNews Group. "Excellent business and tech coverage have been and continue to be one of the newspaper's primary ways to serve Silicon Valley readers."