Craig, in his Townie Bastard blog, wonders how I feel about journalism awards. Fact is, I was ambivalent about them for most of my career as a journalist. In my early days as a writer with The Newfoundland Herald, most of my stuff was crap; I learned how to write in public and am eternally grateful that none of that stuff is available online. So I didn’t even think about submitting award entries.
My writing style had evolved and matured by the time I started at The Sunday Express, but even then, neither myself nor my colleagues thought much about awards. Once in a while someone would say to someone else, ‘Hey that was a great piece – you should enter it for an award,’ but I don’t think we ever did. We were too busy chasing down the next week’s story list. There was absolutely no resting on your laurels.
The folks at the Atlantic Journalism Awards actually created an award for the Express during it last year of operation, apparently to correct the fact that we hadn’t been recognized up to that point (through every fault of our own). We were given a plaque-mounted Five-Year Award of Achievement, featuring an artist’s rendition of all staff members. I had been indifferent about awards up to that point but I must confess, it felt great to receive it… though I have no idea where it is now.
In 2003, I actually entered an awards competition for the Media Spotlight column I wrote for The Express newspaper. That submission won an Award of Merit from the International Association of Business Communicators. And it felt very good.
My take on awards? Easy to dismiss until you actually win one. I invite other journalists to comment on this subject…I am sure there are some interesting views to be shared.