Recognition For the Effort

When journalists finish a piece of work there is a sense of relief, to be done and to have accomplished something that will be of value to others. how many others is always a mystery. When the work is published there is a small bit of pride seeing the work placed into the public forum. When readers respond — with praise or criticism, it is bonus, a chance to take a measurement of value, worth and direction.

The big leap is entering the work into competition. Peer review can be as merciless and stinging as it is uplifting and rewarding. The point is, the journalist takes the chance, puts themselves out for critical inventory of where they stand in their craft. Oh sure, some competitions have silly judges who allow personal emotions to factor into their decisions thereby rendering the awards pointless.

Through the years, I have only entered those competitions where my writing, photography, design work and publicity efforts would be given fair, serious review. Where I place provides me with a litmus test of the work, of whether or not I might be slacking off and resting on some laurels. If so, I can kick my own butt to knuckle down and do better. It looks like 2009 was one of those years. I collected five awards, four for writing and one for photography, but not one merited a first place.  This isn’t ego crying out here. I understand that there were many submitted works that failed to place at all. In some categories the judges gave no award, ouch!

The idea is if I take up the readers time it damn well ought to be well worth it. If my peers don’t think so then I need to examine the reason why. Of course, no judge in a competition can tell how a particular work resonates with each reader, and I so often hear words of encouragement form readers that I understand that my work, especially chronicling the events and people in land speed racing, is appreciated and has value to many.  In the end, I want my work to be real, raw, current and above all — accurate. When I take on historical work, the accuracy is the driving force, the point of the entire exercise.

I thought it might be interesting to make all of you judges and see how comments compare to the professional reviews. Below are the links to each of the articles and the photo. Give a read and a look and then give my a piece of your mind. I’d dearly appreciate your feedback on these winners.

American Auto Racing Writers Broadcasters Association

2009 Third Place – Web Log Entry – “Jesse James Isn’t a Dead Man, Just a Brazen Liar”  – website

2009 Third Place – Magazine Column Writing – “The First of His Kind” – Goodguys Gazette

2009 Second Place – Photography – “Inspiration’s Record Run”,

19th Annual International Automotive Media Competition

Magazine column writing/series – Third Place – Fuel For Thought | June, July, November

Internet Blog – Investigative –  Second place – “Jesse James Isn’t a Dead Man, Just a Brazen Liar”