My wife often asks if I'm "excited" about such and such, and you know old journalism geezers like myself, we don't get "excited," or at least admit it.
But today, I'm excited. Winning the Best Writing category in the Okie Blog Awards made my day. I didn't even know the awards existed when I started this scree 10 months ago. The last time I won a journalism award was back in 1996 for a second place headline in the SPJ contest for a headline I wrote when copy editing at The Oklahoman: "Feds Prop/Won't Stop/Buck's Drop." 60 point, 2 col head on business page.A masterpiece on deadline! A rimrat's byline!
You are not a journalist to win awards. You are a journalist because you "bleed ink," to quote a favorite journalist. Winning an award is affirmation from your peers of excellence, an award to your ego and self esteem.
That's why we always entered the OPA Sweepstakes Awards at the Waurika News-Democrat. My "old-school" partner, Donald J. Morrison, didn't have time to enter, but I believed it was worth my effort to enter since we worked so hard. I knew quality when I saw it, and Morrison embodied that in his demands for excellence in a small weekly newspaper in a small Oklahoma County Seat. I'm proud of the fact that in my 12 years there, we won first place in our circulation category seven times, and second several times. Those old trophies are gathering dust somewhere in Waurika, or have long since been trashed. But I'm just as proud that Jeff Kaley (one of the wittiest, best writers in the state who Morrison would have really liked) has returned the News-Democrat to the winner's status, first place last year, second this. He deserves the credit for hard work and excellence, and I am proud as a grandfather, I guess.
So today, to learn of winning the blog award for writing, I felt the old charge, and the tinge of respectability that came in congrats from students, ex-students, friends, fellow journalists. Content still counts, and journalism ain't dead, and I ain't a dinosaur. I'm still a journalist, and proud of it.
Thanks for the comments and kudos. I "only" have 38 followers on my blog and my ego wants more, naturally. Journalism is an ego business...bylines and awards are the pay for hard work and talent. I've had up to 200 hits a day, but usually much less. Today was over 100! But that's not why I write. It just seems to come oozing out of my pores, along with watercolor and photos, unthinkable in the old days when I wrote a weekly column, "Trail Talk," at Waurika (on the Chisholm Trail). This is a discovery business. I'm still learning the technology and will make more changes this year, with the help of son Travis and colleague Zach Nash.
I rarely dip into politics in this blog, because there's enough of that...until someone tramples on my rights as this past week. I think there's a lot of good and beauty in the world, Okies are good people whose stories need to be told, and thoughts that need to be shared. I'm thankful that this blog has helped me rediscover journalism and provide an outlet for creativity and new friends and ideas. Encore!
And tonight, wife Susan, who is also excited by the award, is preparing from the recipe of Mosca's in New Orleans, Chicken a la Grande, with olive oil, garlic, rosemary, oregano and white wine. Plus a large tossed salad. Plus white wine.