Star-Telegram’s results in statewide journalism contest show the talent level in our newsroom

04/15/2014 5:31 PM

04/15/2014 5:32 PM

As a general rule, I don’t put too much stock in judged award competitions.

In sports, I like those contests that have clear winners and losers decided on the playing field, which leaves out a lot of Olympic sports like diving and gymnastics.

I enjoy watching those sports sometimes, but it’s more like an exhibition instead of a competition. I don’t like it when a judge is the decision-maker. You never know what kind of bias he or she might have, either intentional or unintentional.

That’s not to say I totally agree with Woody Allen, who famously didn’t turn up at the Oscars in 1978 when he won Best Director for Annie Hall and instead spent the evening playing clarinet at his regular jazz gig at the Carlyle Hotel in New York City.

“The whole concept of awards is silly,” Allen said, according to ABC News. “I cannot abide by the judgment of other people, because if you accept it when they say you deserve an award, then you have to accept it when they say you don’t.”

I prefer to think that the Star-Telegram totally deserved all the awards we’ve won over the years, including two Pulitzers, and the times we didn’t win — well, to quote legendary boxing manager Joe Jacobs, speaking after his fighter Max Schmeling lost the world championship to Jack Sharkey in 1932 — “We wuz robbed!”

Earlier this month the Associated Press Managing Editors, representing newspapers all over Texas, held its annual journalism competition. The Star-Telegram is in the same category as The Dallas Morning News, the Houston Chronicle, the San Antonio Express-News and the Austin American-Statesman, although the first two newspapers dwarf the other three of us in terms of daily circulation.

We did well, receiving third-place awards for Best Newspaper and Best Online Newspaper. Austin and Houston won those respective categories.

La Estrella, our Spanish-language weekly, was selected as best in the state in that genre. Juan Ramos is editor and Raul Caballero is managing editor.

We also had two other staffers receive first-place awards in the competition, Michael Currie for news page design by an individual and Joyce Marshall for a video shorter than two minutes.

And we had a whole slew of staffers who won second and third-place awards or honorable mention: Gordon Dickson, Bill Miller, Terry Evans, Patrick Walker, Ron Ennis, Paul Moseley, Steve Wilson, Bill Hanna, Max Faulkner, Diane Smith, Sarah Bahari, Bud Kennedy, Rodger Mallison, Yamil Berard, Deanna Boyd, Anna Tinsley, John Gravois, Taylor Cammack, Mark Hoffer, Ryan Osborne, Clarence Hill, Andrea Ahles, Jeremy Cannon, Marissa Hall, Clif Bosler, Gaile Robinson, Mac Engel and Jared Christopher.

So more than 30 people, or about one-quarter of our staff, were award winners. That’s pretty cool, and it shows the level of talent we have at the Star-Telegram.

Like every newspaper in America, we’re not as big as we once were, but we still manage to produce some amazing journalism on multiple platforms that in the past few years has made our overall audience larger than it has ever been.

Memories

Many of you who read this column regularly already know two things about me — both my parents died of Alzheimer’s, and I’m a fan of Elvis. So it’s a natural that I would be interested in the Alzheimer’s Association’s 13th annual “Thanks for the Memories” fund-raising dinner April 24 at Ridglea Country Club.

Kraig Parker, the premier Elvis tribute artist (Never call them impersonators!) in North Texas and a friend of mine, will be the entertainment that night, and he’s the closest thing I’ve seen to the real thing.

Individual tickets are $150, and you can go to their website at alz.org/northcentraltexas for more information.

About Jim Witt

Jim Witt

@jimelvis

Jim Witt is executive editor of the Star-Telegram.

Email Jim at jwitt@star-telegram.com.

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