Magazine article The Quill

Awards: A By-Product of Hard Work and Excellent Journalism

Magazine article The Quill

Awards: A By-Product of Hard Work and Excellent Journalism

Article excerpt

"Trophies are the by-product of excellence."

My high school band teacher, Mr. Coon, used those words every day as our marching band prepared for state contest. As a somewhat gangly sophomore, I don't think I realized entirely what he was trying to tell us. As I got older, however, his meaning became crystal clear. Work hard, do the absolute best you can possibly do and the rewards will take care of themselves.

Mr. Coon's maxim can be aptly applied to the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi Awards for Excellence in Journalism as well. In this issue of Quill, you will read about 49 examples of outstanding work in print, broadcast and online journalism. The best of the best.

Each year, SPJ makes a Herculean effort to recognize outstanding individuals, organizations and works of journalism, from both the professional and student ranks. The SDX Awards recognize professional journalists. The Mark of Excellence Awards celebrate the work of students. SPJ makes Freedom of Information and ethics awards to recognize work furthering those important causes. Individual awards are presented to outstanding educators and students, for service to the profession, and for lifetime achievements.

In addition naming award winner, SPJ devotes an issue of Quill each year to showcasing the work of SDX Award winners. The Gallery of Winners section on our Web site - provides expanded coverage of the winning entries. We devote considerable time at regional conferences and the National Convention to acknowledge award winners. SPJ even has a full-time staff member dedicated to furthering awards programs.

So why do we make such a fuss over awards? It's simple.

The recognition is important to the award recipient who has worked hard to hone his or her craft. We need to honor the individuals and organizations that represent journalism's highest standards. Such recognition justifies what they do and encourages them to continue.

Here's what one 2002 winner had to say: "Because I am a teacher, receiving an SDX Award is especially meaningful," said Marlin Shipman, professor of journalism at Arkansas State University and winner of the SDX Award for research about journalism. …

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