Count me as decidedly not a fan of journalism-awards competitions. Given the state of the media industry (financially and in many cases morally bankrupt), it’s kind of like giving an employee-of-the-week award for seamanship to the captain of the Titanic — hey, he got halfway across the Atlantic without mishap, didn’t he?
Over the years (thankfully, not for a few now), there were people up the Sun Gazette management chain who thought it was imperative that the newsroom enter awards competitions. (Compensating for some other shortcomings? That’s what I always thought, too…) So we’d dutifully do it, but with no enthusiasm, wondering aloud if our time couldn’t be better spent doing things like, say, our jobs.
One thing I did enjoy about the experience was sending off our usually right-wing (and right-thinking!) editorials for evaluation. Because, with a very few exceptions, most newspapers these days have either:
(a) Given up on editorials altogether.
(b) Only will write namby-pamdy editorials that take no real position on anything.
(c) Go with the left-wing media crowd.
Given all that, I’m sure ours — snide, sarcastic, condescending, obnoxious, imperious — ended up giving a jolt to the system to the judges in such competitions. Occasionally, we even came away with an award, which tickled me to no end because of the sheer absurdity of the occurrence. It only meant there was somebody who shared both our world-view and our sense of humor doing the judging.
So, to those around the commonwealth who still have to enter these things because your editors and publishers deem them important, my condolences. It’s just another thing piled on the to-do list of overworked, underappreciated newsroom folk.
- Scott McCaffrey