Journalists sponsor a lot of awards contests to recognize their own good work. Other industries do this too; I once got a really interesting story for the paper by talking to the two-time U.S. champion at installing resilient floor covering, who was from Vancouver.
There are the Pulitzer Prizes, of course, and many, many other contests. Some are based on subject matter or the platform of the story (TV, radio, print or web.) Some are based on geography, like the Best of the West contest.
At The Columbian, we mostly enter the Society of Professional Journalists’ regional contest, which covers five Western states including Washington and Oregon. At various times, I’ve been a board member of the Greater Oregon chapter and realize that the contest entry fees paid by The Columbian and others provide enough working capital for the chapter to do some very good things, including lobbying for better public records laws and providing conferences and training for working journalists and college students.
Plus, it’s fun to win! Just this month, we took home nine awards in this year’s SPJ contest. With about two dozen journalists on our staff these days, that’s a pretty good percentage of winners.
Our photo editor, Amanda Cowan, won three awards, including first place in feature photography for an entry she called “Health Care Worker Tribute.” It shows employees at Legacy Salmon Creek Medical Center waving at fighter pilots during a flyby to honor health care workers’ service during the pandemic.