Saturday, February 28, 2009
A JURY OF MY PEERS
I won another NC Press Association award last week. This was for Investigative Reporting. The story (as you can see from the photo) was about the drought.
I'm not the kind of person that cares much for awards. Mostly they feel like popularity contests that the same basic people win year after year. It's a lot like being picked first for softball when you were kid. You always knew who'd be standing there looking stupid after all the popular people were chosen to play.
People I've interviewed in the past 3 1/2 years of my journalistic career always say the same things when I ask them about winning an award. "It was humbling to be chosen." "It was an honor to be chosen by my peers for this." "I never really expected it." When I interview them, I always wonder of they were chosen first for softball too.
So winning three press awards in 2007 and another one this year makes me feel uncomfortable. I KNOW I'm not one of those first softball choices yet here I am holding these awards. Hmmm . . . wonder what a shrink would make of that???
It's kind of exciting to win, at first, like many things, but then it all comes down to the day-to-day stuff again. The woman who called me last week about people dumping trash in her yard and the farmer who wants me to interview him don't really care about my award. They have a story to tell and can't tell it by themselves. They need me to tell it for them.
In the end, it all comes down to telling the story for me, whether it's with my books or the articles I write for magazines and the newspaper. As long as I can tell the story (and make a little money!), I'm happy. The popularity, the awards, can all belong to someone else if they will let me keep telling those stories.