Wednesday, October 3, 2007

A question about award judging...

I got this e-mail this morning from a reporter who asked that I post it for discussion. I didn't have any answers for her, given this blog is all I do for the Press Club.

Feel free to chime in with the comments section and we can get a conversation going. Just keep it civil -- we all know how easy it is for internet comments to get insensitive and out of hand.

Hi Jay,

I just had a question that … concerns the Press Club awards. Every year there are categories that say "no results available as of press time" or something like that. If we pay entry fees and send in stories, it seems fair that we should at least get results, if not by the time of the banquet, certainly at some point. As far as we know, there are still no results for those categories.

Can you give us some insight? This question came up a lot, the question of what constitutes "good" reporting. The judges who say "none of these stories warranted an award" seems short sighted and frankly, ignorant, given that our logistics are so different in Alaska.

Ok, all of this rambling is to say, people are starting to feel that it isn't worth paying the entry fee to get absolutely no feedback, or to be criticized by people who have never tried to report in rural Alaska. Constructive criticism is great, but to slam a whole slew of reporters from small Alaska stations seems counter productive.


1 comment:

Brian O'D said...

Jay, It takes a huge effort to line up judges and package contest submissions. Trust me, when something goes amiss we all feel terrible. What the membership doesn't see is the effort behind the scenes to prod tardy judges for results. Usually that works. Occasionally, we face a situation where a judge simply flakes out, switches jobs or material is apparently lost in shipping. For example, I believe we lost the Best Weekly submissions several years ago due to poor packaging on our end. We now take more care bundling those up. In such situations, the best we can do is refund fees and try and learn from the regrettable outcome.