Last night the Real Change editorial team and friends attended the Western Washington Society of Professional Journalists banquet. The food was surprisingly good. We took three awards. To eliminate favoritism, thousands of submissions from Washington State are assessed by judges from Alaska, Arizona, and Missouri and the best are honored. This is, of course, always a subjective decision. We compete in the Non-daily Newspapers category. I received Second Prize in Editorial Writing for last September's Class War Under Our Noses. I lost out for First Place to Gig Harbor's Peninsula Gateway, and their epic editorial "Let's Name Our Bridge Before the State Does." I couldn't find the story on their website, but I'm sure it was a perfectly fine piece of writing.
I'm not bitter. As the winner of the SPJ's 2004 Susan Hutchinson Bosch Award — given for possessing qualities sufficiently rare in journalism (like compassion) that some years, such as this one, they can't find anyone to give it to — I'm too much of a highroad kind of a guy for that.
I just wish social relevance — you know, afflicting the comfortable, comforting the afflicted — were part of the screen for making these decisions. Journalism as a profession might perhaps be more honorable were this the case. Not that the issue of bridge naming rights isn't just as important as publishing high quality photos of horses and puppies and assisting the public in the quest for the perfectly grilled steak. Never let it be said that journalism has descended into a state of trivial irrelevance. Although that's essentially the sin of which Frank Garred, the winner of this year's June Almquist Lifetime Achievement Award, accused those assembled. We at the Real Change table knew he wasn't talking about us.
We also took two awards in the Minority Reporting category. Second Place went to Cydney Gillis for her A Tale of the American Gulag, and the fourth place Honorable Mention award went to Rosette Royale for his Parents, kids across the color line.