Thursday, March 27, 2008

More awards the Enquirer didn't win

The Society of American Business Editors and Writers announced winners on Thursday. Nothing for the Enquirer. The Cleveland Plain Dealer and Indianapolis Star were cited for general excellence.

The Enquirer should do better next year, when it will enter its blanket Ikea coverage.

And as we get into award season, I must repeat what I've said before: Prizes matter because you can't be good if you're not trying to be great. If you're great, you'll win prizes. If you're trying to be great, you'll get lucky and bag a few. If you're not winning any, it's a pretty good sign you're not trying to. And, state contests don't matter much. People who say readers don't care about prizes are probably right. But prizes are evidence of effort, and no prizes is a symptom of many things, none of them good.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why would they want to win awards? A newspaper is the watchdog for the community. I really don't care if the Enquirer is winning awards as long as they are covering my local news!!! And by the way, they do a pretty good job.

5:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow. That's such an incredibly stupid comment that I have to wonder: Which figurehead Gannettoid was on Newsache rebuttal duty today?

6:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

With budget cuts in the newsroom, I wonder if the Business editors were even allowed to enter the SABEW contest.

8:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What? Who's been cut?

9:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Normally I'm somewhat skeptical of this blog and consider its obsession with contests kind of jaded and silly, but I thought this was just an incredibly cogent and persuasive point: "Prizes matter because you can't be good if you're not trying to be great. ... . If you're not winning any, it's a pretty good sign you're not trying to. .... People who say readers don't care about prizes are probably right. But prizes are evidence of effort, and no prizes is a symptom of many things, none of them good." Thanks for making that point and for being a volunteer ombudspeople for the daily; since most dailies no longer have ombudspeople, it's interesting to see this function evolve in the community.

10:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All right, let me educate the unwashed.

1. Tom Callinan hates contests in part because they make staff members feel they have attained value, an absolute no-no in the Enquirer newsroom where it is being drilled in that YOU can be replaced by someone who will work cheaper and has less experience (read it: doesn't know they are being exploited). You win awards, you have some leverage, even if it is imagined.

2. Because he started in the business mostly as a photographer, not primarily a word person, he has a special disdain for those who think they write well. I know that sounds implausible but trust me. He says it's about ego. I think it's something different.

3. Among his most-repeated mantras: We don't care what anyone else thinks about us (the newspaper), re-mouthed often by senior editors who should know better. That sends a chilling message to staffers that no matter how much they achieve as professionals, it is meaningless. Think about that message at a difficult time in the newsroom when you are trying to motivate staff who are and have a reasoned right to be concerned about their futures. Isn't praise for good work one of the basic marks of good management? Doesn't it build loyalty and comaraderie?

4. It costs money to enter contests. I know it sounds silly, but with all the elements above in play, don't discount this as a factor for Mr. Wizard of the budget.

One final note about this. It is embarassing that the Enquirer's measure of success, its perception of serving its readers, is so low that it genuinely believes its IKEA coverage was "well done." The only awards that coverage will win will be from the Corporate Butt-Kissers of America/Cincinnati Chapter.

And don't get me started about Kentucky coverage. It's just too painful.

The prosecution rests.

12:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To anonymous 6:58
Do you really have to be such an a** and tell someone a comment is stupid? You're probably just a washed up journalist that has nothing better to do. Why don't you go to your break room and complain about having to write web only stories!

7:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No, anonymous at 7:21, anonymous at 5:54 (the original poster) is most likely the washed up journalist who hasn't achieved much in their career and is all defensive about their years toiling for a third rate newspaper. It was a stupid comment and it just reeks of someone who works for The Enquirer. Oh, and by the way: they don't do a pretty good job.

8:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous 8:37, do you work for the Enquirer?

8:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

CNN reports that the United States dropped bombs on Basra. Like it or not, people live there. Kids and babies too.

So now that the US has occupied Iraq for a half decade, is the US at war or not? Considering that I don't care about IKEA is there any reason to get a dirty, nasty, likely late, paper on the driveway? Or, check the Enquirer online knowing it won't say shit?

Now that the Enquirer has woke up--five years into a monster-WAR where people die--folks around here ought to just go to IKEA. The Swiss never hurt anyone but with the economy woes (see CNN), don't spend much.

2:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're wrong about the Swiss. Where do you thing most of the world's stolen wealth ends up?

7:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

7:27 anon

You are right. The Swiss get the cash.

10:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ikea isn't a Swiss company - it's a Swedish company. There is a difference you know.

11:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

what about ky coverage?

7:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the Enquirer needs to do a tribute to the Ol' Lefthander, Joe Nuxhall. They've really ignored that story in my opinion.

Here's a headline:

11:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No, Anonymous at 8:40, I don't work for the Enquirer. God forbid. I work for a nonprofit.

9:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Off topic, but it's Opening Day in Cincinnati and Daugherty can't be bothered with writing a column? He must be stretched too thin...

4:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What's the deal with freaking out over how the Enquirer covered Ikea. I wouldn't cross the street to go to a furniture store, but a local newspaper is supposed to cover what is happening in its community. And if people are camping out to get into the store, that is a story. Hell, if the paper didn't cover it, then the paper wouldn't be doing its job. I also read lots of news on Iraq in the paper. A lengthy story and good analysis were on A2 today. Okay, it is not the NY Times or Wash Post when it comes to international coverage, but it is not supposed to be. Newspapers in this current environment have one franchise left; local news. Everything else - sports, international and local news, business news, entertainment, movie reviews, restaurant reviews and more - is online. Papers are smart to devote most resources and space to local news. Could the papers do a better job? Hell yes; the business desk is full of smart, aggressive reporters and editors but they don't get the space in the paper they deserve. But the only way a newspaper is going to survive is aggressive, smart, blanket coverage of its local community. The Enquirer could do better, but it has improved and is trying to deliver that product.

5:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The freaking about IKEA is based on a simple premise: prostitution is still illegal in Ohio and (I think) Kentucky -- except at the Enquirer. Good buisness journalism recognizes the significance of a new player in the retail market. But this coverage far exceeded prudence and reader interest, leaped over pandering and hurtled the line to whoring. It was a Do Not Stop at Go exercise in fusing the newsroom to advertising. Don;t you get it? Was reader interest really that high, or was the interest in the newspaper's advertising department in making a sale driving it? Might as well redesignate this newspaper a shopper, if anybody remembers what those used to be.

Regarding coverage in Kentucky: It is the wellhead from which springs all manner of evils that have infected or attempted to infect the Enquirer newsroom. You want a story quota system? You got it. One source stories with exceptionally thin detail don't bother you? Go fot it. Minor stories blown out of proportion -- hey baby, we've got all we can handle.

Shall I continue, Dennis?

8:16 AM  

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