No doubt, most of the news about journalism and news organizations these days is bad. Makes it even nicer when there’s a little good news to spread around, especially when it’s about the hard-working folks who do a lot of heavy lifting around Ye Olde Weekly.
I’ll be heading out to Baltimore in a few weeks to watch Joaquin Sapien and Ben Welsh pick up a national Investigative Reporters and Editors award for their “Hear No Evil, Smell No Evil” tale about TXU’s pollution record, a project begun by the nonprofit Center for Public Integrity and completed with the help of, and published by, the Weekly.
It’s already been a nice year for Joaquin. The “Hear No Evil” story won honors from the Society of Professional Journalists, Fort Worth chapter, as the best “green news” story in their Texas-Oklahoma region. And before the IRE convention rolls around, Joaquin will know whether he has won a Livingston Award. The Livingstons, which go to journalists under the age of 35, are, um, special –– $10,000 special, for each of the top three winners. If he wins that one, Joaquin will be buying me a gin and tonic in Baltimore.
A couple of weeks after that, the Weekly flag will be flying in Houston, at the dinner for the statewide Lone Star Awards given out by the Houston Press Club. We’ve got 11 finalist nominations (including one category in which all three finalists are from the Weekly). Not too shabby.
That same day, the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies, the group of feisty papers to which the Weekly belongs, will announce the winners of its national contest. Longtime Weekleteer Jeff Prince is a finalist twice, for his moving “His Last War” feature and the much lighter-hearted (though it doesn’t sound like it) “Magical Misery Tour,” the latter a recounting of the lives and deaths of Fort Worth-area music clubs. Jeff, who likes dressing up for awards shindigs about as much as he does hitting his hand with a hammer, won’t be in attendance, but we hope they won’t hold it against him.
Don’t worry. Contest season is over soon. But I’ll try to keep you posted from time to time about what’s going on with the editorial side of the paper.