Awards always feed the ego. They also make the long hours of hard, sometimes tedious, work worthwhile. When the award comes from your peers it’s even more special.
Such is the case with having just been awarded first place for Enterprise News Story in the California Journalism Awards which is sponsored by the California News Publishers Association. This particular category was judged by journalists outside of the state.
A few things made it even more special. One, I didn’t know any of my stories had been entered in the contest. Two, it’s a story I wrote as a freelancer, so for the publication to include it with staff submissions made me feel really good. Three, doing a little research about this year’s awards made me realize CNPA has evolved—and that’s a good thing. The N used to stand for newspaper; while now it is news, which is more inclusive. CNPA also used to not allow digital publications in its membership nor did it have an awards category for online news sites. It was also an impediment to allowing online only news organizations to publish legal ads, which is a cash cow for print publications. I don’t know where its policy on legals is today, but once upon a time it mattered a great deal in my life.
Back to the award.
The story was published in the North Bay Business Journal in September. (The awards are for stories written in calendar year 2021.) The article talks about the growing demand for vegetarian and vegan food in grocery stores and how the dairy industry in particular is not thrilled.
CNPA’s criteria for an enterprise news story is it must be: a proactive story or series that is not directly based on a news event and that covers a topic or issue in a new and creative way. Coverage should be comprehensive and enlightening, while demonstrating effort and difficulty; quality of writing; selection of material, balanced reporting; local appeal; photography, graphics and headlines. Awards are handed out based on whether the publication is a weekly or daily and then its circulation size.
This is what the judges said about my story: “Beautiful, explanatory journalism that reveals to readers facts they may have not known. This should make people look at grocery store food aisles in a whole new way.”
There is no money associated with the award. No one ever writes for monetary gain.
Even after all these years, I’m still idealistic about the purpose of quality news sites such at the North Bay Business Journal. I’m proud to be associated with such a publication and humbled to have my work submitted for an award.