Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Good news

I have won a second Idaho Press Club excellence in journalism award. This was for a new editorial writing category in their Public Relations Division. Here is the description of the category: Selection of three published editorials on a related topic or separate topics. Submissions may be in the form of guest columns, opinion-editorials or letters to the editor.”

My first writing award was a third place for my 2005 Express general column, Hardscrabble Granola.

What’s interesting about this award is that the three letters I submitted were all to the Express. One of them was in regards to the Galena cell tower. It was piece I polished, that the Statesman had already run last summer as a guest opinion. While this letter generated only a handful of responses on the Express website, a similar letter gained over 75 comments, between the Statesman and Sun Valley Online.

The editors titled my second letter to the Express, We Need Whistleblowers. This too was a refined rerun, this time from a 2006 Magic Valley online submission. Soon after the Express ran this letter, I received a correspondence from Kelly Jackson at Citizens for Smart Growth. She complimented the letter and then requested that I should come in to see if I was a good fit for their organization. I did come in a few times, and perhaps could have gotten my foot in the door better to do something more fitting in the academia world. However, with my current situation I can ill-afford to do more than a smattering of volunteer work. Moreover, I believe that if readers were to look back at the last five years to see what I’ve been writing, they would say that volunteer work is what I’ve been doing all along.

The third Express letter submitted was called Honor Idaho Film Sites. The fact that we that we convinced the Highway Department to upgrade their sign to include a tribute to Clint Eastwood’s Pale Rider film, may have swayed the judges, in the enterprise category. It certainly ‘made my day’ when I noticed, the sign change.

Here is a blank sample chart of how the judges assess the writing criteria:


(Judges please circle the rating that best applies.)

Reader / viewer interest

Excellent Very good Average Fair Poor


Excellent Very good Average Fair Poor

Technical / writing excellence (mechanics)

Excellent Very good Average Fair Poor

Fits category criteria Excellent Very Good Average Fair Poor

Impact of story lead or opening

(For print stories)

Excellent Very Good Average Fair Poor

Writing style

Excellent Very Good Average Fair Poor


Excellent Very Good Average Fair Poor

I’m thankful to former Express employees Ken Retallic and Adam Tanous for believing in me and helping me jumpstart in late 2004, the beginning of my writing career. Also to editor Shea Anderson for accepting my 2008 letter to the editor submissions.

I’ll have some more thoughts on this later.

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