One thing about journalism (well, any profession, really) that irritates me is that there are people who think they are God’s gift to the written word and refuse to believe otherwise. They think their first draft copy is golden. Award-winning. The best thing they’ve ever written. And I can’t stand it.
Nobody is as good as they think they are, award-winning journalist or not. If I really wanted to, I could brag to anyone who will listen about how I won awards two years in a row at the Illinois College Press Association conference and that I wrote the lead story for the news and features sections in an edition of my college paper that placed third in its category.
But I don’t. Why? Because past accomplishments aren’t going to mean anything unless I continue to produce quality work.
Am I grateful for those awards? Absolutely. Do I feel I deserve them? Yeah, I think so.
But I realize that not everything I write is going to be award winning. I’m going to have slumps. I’m going to write stories that I know just don’t have that “it factor” to make it worth reading. Hell, I wrote a few of those just a few weeks before I was promoted to editor in chief.
A couple awards do not make you worthy of flaunting your skills to anyone who will listen. I’d like to think awards should make you humble and appreciative of the work you’re doing. But I know that’s not the case for a lot of people.
Luckily, I’ve met very few people like that. Most people are extremely humble. That’s one of the things that I think drew me to journalism. People work long hours for little pay and do it because they love it and wouldn’t have it any other way. And the fact that they know their work makes a difference in someone’s life is humbling. As humbling as any award can be.