|For a Moment, Eyes on the Prize
Bay Weekly was proud to be summoned to the stage on several occasions at the Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association's annual awards banquet last week.
Alongside The Washington Post, The Baltimore Sun, The Capital and many other papers, your weekly newspaper captured five prizes in our size and frequency category for editorial content and design.
The gathering in Frederick was the first of many awards that will be handed out in the profession of journalism this spring. There's the Pulitzer prizes, of course, which will awarded in New York in April. There's the Sigma Delta Chi gold medallions and awards handed out at the White House Correspondents Dinner as well as the Scripps Howard Foundation Dinner, both in Washington.
It's back-patting time in the newspaper business, as in other professions, this time of year. It's also a time when newspaper people gather to compare notes. We don't mind sharing some of those notes since newspapers deal with public business.
Awards season also is a time when newspapers re-examine their missions. Often, that means interpreting and localizing the barrage of information that comes our way. Newspapers attempt to bring order to our world in part by choosing the events they chronicle and the subjects they cover. Some, like ours, try to keep your environment clean and give you the choices to improve your quality of life - all the while trying to write so well that you read and care.
And, as we saw at the awards ceremony, newspapers shine a light on passions, people and forces that shape our communities for good or ill.
For instance, we saw The Baltimore Sun recognized for its "Lord of the Slums" story about the cynical profiteers who keep that city blighted. We applauded The Capital's awards, including prizes for a fine editorial about favorable police treatment of a troubled fire department official and insightful news stories about dredging and the disappearing shoreline.
At Bay Weekly, we won first prize for an editorial on Wal-Mart and a sports feature story on pick-up basketball by summer intern Amy Mulligan. We also won prizes for our headlines, our art and our informational graphics.
It can be challenging in this era of corporate journalism to remain independent and still do good work. But thanks to our readers and advertisers, we're making a strong showing.
In our job as well as yours, it's important to stop a moment and look at what we do right.