Congratulations to the the Times staffers who took home seven first-place awards and 13 overall awards at the 62nd Green Eyeshade Awards, a competition recognizing outstanding journalism in media organizations in 11 Southeastern states.
The first- and second-place winners are exactly who you expect them to be: Sean Daly in criticism, Lane DeGregory in feature writing, PolitiFact in online political reporting, Jeff Klinkenberg in feature writing, John Romano in sports commentary, Adam Smith in politics reporting, among others. These are the stars of the newspaper.
Again, congratulations. That said, two push-backs. First, whenever I see a newspaper put so much effort into humble-bragging about which awards it has won, I can’t help but flashback to scenes from the fifth season of HBO’s ‘The Wire’ in which the fictionalized Baltimore Sun is excoriated by the show’s writers for pursuing awards at any cost.
Second, for all of the awards the Times did win, it’s important to remember the work for which it did not win, namely its local news coverage. The Times did not win for its coverage of a city hall or a police department or a sheriff’s office. None of the metro columnists, such as Ernest Hooper or Sue Carlton, won, either.
The newspaper did win in the category of deadline reporting for “The Worst Day,” team coverage of the fatal shootings of two St. Petersburg police officers, but that’s not the same as covering the day-to-day beats to which I am referring.
In other words, the Times is great at the great stuff, but it’s just another newspaper when it comes to day-to-day reporting.