By David Poland email@example.com
Brother, Can You Spare 350 Dimes?
Nikki Finke has, once again, swept the LA Press Club awards with little or no apparent competition.
She is now being given awards for being the best online film critic… without any indication that she has even seen a movie this year. (Moreover, she has always mocked me for writing criticism… she the real journalist, above that lowly form… until it came to sending in an entry form.)
With due respect to Alex Ben Block & Co, these awards are a complete joke and they need to look at the world in a way that actually considers modern journalism.
It’s not so much that Nikki won something. I can understand that. The Strike Queen did something unique this season and showed us how things can be online, for better or worse. The problem is that in two of the three categories of online, it appears that there was not a single person up against her (nominations are not offered on the LAPC site), as she not only won, but there was no 2nd place, as there were in all other categories.
Alex Ben Block, admittedly, made a point of reminding me that entering the awards was happening and that I should nominate myself. But as all of us who have been online for long enough to deal with “The Webbys” experienced, self-nomination for a fee ($35 an entry at LA Press Club) is not a happy road.
It is notable that every single winner and runner up in every category is from a nationally represented news organization, used to chasing Pulitzers, etc, in the pay-n-nominate process. This is not how the web thinks.
And the ego of it… do I really want an award I had to ask for? Should anyone?
Someone pointed out a while back that The Oscars required self-nomination. And I get that. But it’s different. No one is NOT nominated by their companies if there is a ghost of a chance of a nomination. But at companies like The New York Times and Tribune Co, who is nominated and for what is the subject of all kinds of internal wrangling. Do we really aspire to the web joining that ungracious tradition… much as the winners are deserving of praise?
If LA Press Club is serious about being taken seriously (this is billed, humorously, as “1st ANNUAL NATIONAL ENTERTAINMENT JOURNALISM AWARDS”), they should get some nominating committees together, pick 20 or so nominees in each category, and break it down from there. List the 20… then the 10… then the 5… then the winner. Then, if there are people who feel left out of the 20, a method for allowing submissions can be created.
And a little transparency wouldn’t hurt. Who are the candidates? And are we really expected to take any award bestowed by 3 people seriously? “National Journalism Award” voted on by a committee of 3? I mean…
This could all come under yesterday’s theme in the Patrick Goldstein entry… maybe we just don’t think alike. That’s ok.
It would be nice to have a serious and respected award out there that breaks the narrow, political mold of The Pulitzers… but this clearly is not it… at least not as it is currently conceived.