I spent $40 this weekend. I wish I could tell you I used that money on a new pair of shoes, or on dinner with friends, or even on a few books I have been saving since forever on my Amazon wish list. But instead, I spent my hard-earned wages in the name of journalism.
Don't get me wrong, this was a willing expenditure. Every year, professional organizations hold contests for journalists to recognize their work. There are contests for every level of the industry, from scholastic awards for high school students to Emmys and Pulitzers for media's best of the best. Many of these associations raise money for their operations through these contests… hence, my $40 is going to a good cause.
But us journalists don't squander away our money (that is already hard to come by) just to support professional groups. We do so because we understand the value-and often rely on-the acknowledgment that comes with award-winning journalism.
Yes, most journalists I know aren't in this field for the riches or fame or glory. We do it because we love to tell stories, get a rush when covering breaking news and, essentially, can't imagine pursuing anything else. (I also think, like me, many of my fellow colleagues don't have any other talents or hobbies.)
Still, the power of recognition is undeniable. Having our peers (or, in my case, respected professionals) review our work is a fulfilling part of what we do.
And if you are lucky enough to be determined a winner, the gratification is insurmountable. It is one thing for your readers to extol their high praise, but to have your news article or magazine column or radio broadcast honored through formal channels-well, that's the ultimate goal.
One thing I say often is that I, as my tenure as Editor-in-Chief nears its completion, haven't explored many options for our organization to compete in this way. As a relatively young newspaper, we haven't yet established ourselves among other college publications or in yearly college contests. I'd like to see The Ramapo News join a few local media associations and get involved in the annual "award season."
However, I know that we produce a great product, so when the time is right for us to finally get in the game, I have high hopes for our success.
That's all the news for now-Nicole