Appreciation is the world’s greatest journalism award

Last week, I had the chance to interview some of the members of the St. Louis-based Pink Floyd tribute band, El Monstero. I went out to their rehearsal space, talked to the backup singers, lead singer, keyboardists, etc. The interviews were a lot of fun to do, and I loved writing the story.

But what is even more exciting than being pumped about a story you’re working on is when the people you are interviewing are just as excited. Or maybe the better word here is appreciative. But either way, it’s little things like that that make this ridiculous world of journalism meaningful.

A couple days after the story was posted, I got an email from the person who helped me set up the interviews. It was a forwarded message from one of the guys in the band:

Getting that email made my day. It’s so rare that people you write about tell you how much they appreciate what you’re doing. So rare, in fact, that I can only specifically remember one other time this happened. And that was about two years ago.

Very few people realize how much work journalists put into what they do and how little reward they get — unless they are involved in the industry themselves or related to someone who is. For people to go out of their way to get a message to you that they liked what you wrote is one of the best rewards a journalist could ask for. I think that says more than any award you can hang in your office.

Yeah, awards from fellow journalists are nice. Awesome, actually. Everybody wants them. But I’d take printing out a nice, unexpected email to tack on the wall behind my desk over a shiny plaque any day.

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