RALEIGH — Clifton Barnes, son of W.C. and Lorraine Barnes of Atlantic Beach, has won a national award for Commercial Real Estate Reporting.

Writing for The Triangle Business Journal of Raleigh, Barnes won an Award of Excellence from the DC area-based Communications Concepts through its 2020 Awards for Publication Excellence competition.

Barnes, a UNC-Chapel Hill journalism and political science grad who lives in Cary, was one of only three people across the nation to win Awards of Excellence in the Financial & Investment Writing category.

Two of the articles that helped Barnes win the honor were considered scoops as he was the first journalist to write about prominent builders starting a million-dollar home community and a popular office tower building going on the sale block. The third article addressed the increasing trend of medical office buildings in the Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill market, known as the Triangle area.

Judges said that there were many excellent written pieces in the category, but that these were special. “Most did not venture outside of their main purpose,” judges wrote. “These articles definitely addressed the financial & investment aspect of the stories, but went beyond that, providing interesting facts and information regarding the history and ramifications of those issues.”

Judges went on to say that Barnes went beyond the numbers and provided relevant news for people in the related fields and provided general interest information for those who aren’t.

This was the first time Barnes has won an award for commercial real estate reporting, but he has now won a writing award in the APEX national competition 10 years in a row, including four awards for his website That site features articles from all the top media outlets and sports teams in the Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill area along with his own original sports commentary.

Barnes said his varied writing background allowed him to write real estate articles differently than many business/financial reporters. But he credited his Triangle Business Journal editors Dane Huffman and Sougata Mukherjee with helping him understand what the business community needed to know.

Barnes served as director of communications for the N.C. Bar Association for 15 years, and before that, was a newspaper writer and editor.

Today he is a freelance writer, editor and Web developer who owns several websites, including one that chronicles each UNC-Chapel basketball game.

Barnes is known for spear-heading movements to get a highway marker for Kay Kyser in Rocky Mount and a yearly Hometown Spirit Award in Cary.

Along with his wife Andrea, he raises their 14-year-old son Will Griffin. Barnes is a native of Rocky Mount.

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