Skimming through my Twitter feed the other day, I stumbled across a link to a story about Beyonce winning a journalism award. A JOURNALISM award.
I understand that she’s one of the most popular artists today and that she does all these great things and that everybody loves Beyonce. But I can’t understand how she could earn a prestigious award from the New York Association of Black Journalists for what reads more like a blog post or opinion column. And a mediocre one at that. The award, according to a post on Popular Critic, is a first place in “the arts and entertainment magazine category.”
To me, this is a slap in the face to all journalists, regardless of race. Having a story like that win an award is comparable to a college newspaper entering a guest column in an editorial writing contest. Just because you wrote one “article” doesn’t make you a journalist. Just because you can write doesn’t make you a journalist. Just because you appear on the cover of a magazine doesn’t make you deserving of an award.
An article on the New York Daily News described Beyonce’s award-winning article as follows:
“She wrote about ‘savoring’ the ‘tiny moments,’ traveling with hubby Jay-Z, discovering her love of artichokes, jumping from yachts and going undercover as a Harajuku girl in Tokyo nightclubs.”
If the little bit of depth she gave each of those topics (which, let’s face it, was about a sentence or two per topic) is what constitutes an award-winning arts & entertainment article, I must be in the wrong industry.
I know the NYABJ says her celebrity status was not a reason for winning the award, and I’d like to believe that’s the case. But that also brings up the question, How did someone who (as far as I know) doesn’t have a journalism or communications degree win an award over someone who (most likely) has been honing his or her craft for years?
I don’t want to go so far as to say it’s a disgrace, but when you consider that the article talks about what food Beyonce ate during her time out of the spotlight, it kind of makes you wonder what the topics of stories were that didn’t win.