The award for most ignored CV goes to . . .

March 11, 2009

I’m reading Michele A’Court’s column in the March 7 Your Weekend magazine (included in the Dominion Post) when I notice the credit line at the bottom: “Michele A’Court is an award-winning comedian and writer.”

Well, of course she bloody is. I mean, who in the journalism business isn’t an award winner?

Because I’m chronically unemployed between journalism jobs, I’ve been using the Internet to peruse a lot of newspaper lately. And, oh look, every one of them has won an award.

Exactly what kind of award would that be, you might well ask. Ah, now there’s the rub.

Judging by some of the content on those websites, the prize could very well be for Most Typos in One Story, or Worst Headline Ever in the History of the English Language, or even Poorest Use of Judgement When it Comes to Choosing Photos.

I mean, come on, how many frickin’ awards can there be out there? If your farm reporter won the largest turnip at the country fair, does that count? If your editorial staff won the three-legged race at Staff Fun Day, does that count?

When I worked for the — wait for it — award-winning Langley Times, I frequently submitted my sports stories to various industry competitions. But it was a lot of work digging back through the files to fish out tear sheets and then filling out the accompanying forms. That was time better spent on minor details, such as, oh I don’t know, getting the darn paper to the printer before deadline.

After awhile, when my deathless prose consistently failed to impress any of the judges, I simply stopped wasting perfectly good time and let others more keen for glory vie for the accolades.

Actually, the majority of the editorial awards the Times won during my 11-year career at the paper were thanks to the photography skills of John Gordon ( John is brilliant, and I’m not just saying that because I wrote the foreword to his book, Langley: Familiar Places, Familiar Scenes, and earned a wad of cash for my efforts (but, alas, no awards).

With that talent came a degree of frustration, a trait not uncommon with those who “paint with light.” Many was the game where I paced the sidelines as time wound down, wondering if I was going to have art to go with my story. Just as I was about to grab my own camera, John would wander along, snap off a few frames, and be off to his next assignment. In the morning, I’d find another perfect shot on my desk and wonder why I ever doubted the man.

It became somewhat of a given that, come awards season, the Times would nail something and if that honor went once more to our photographer, then so be it. At least it meant we all worked for an award-winning newspaper.

Actually, during my stint in Langley, I did have one fleeting brush with fame. It also involved a photographer, although this time it was Rob Newell (, one of the weekend shooters. While John Gordon won the majority of his accolades based on work he did for Page 1 and the hard news section, Rob actually scored an award for a sports photo.

As the sports editor, I made the decision on whether or not a photo was included in my section. I ran Rob’s shot and he subsequently won the award.

I don’t know what those rocket scientists who feted Michele A’Court’s attempts at writing a humor column might think but, personally, I’m taking at least partial responsibility for Rob’s official recognition.

Which would explain why my CV describes me as “an award-assisting journalist.”

I mean, that’s got to attract someone’s attention when it comes to filling a position in a newsroom, right?

And it will. I’m sure of it.

Any day now.


2 Responses to “The award for most ignored CV goes to . . .”

  1. Megan said

    This is the first page I come to every morning. I am glad to see something new today. Good luck with the journalism job hunt. By the way, you are a terrific photographer as well.

  2. Rob Newell said

    John? John? JOHN! It really is you!

    You ARE an award winner!

    I know for a fact that you have many virtual statuettes from the RNP.CA Annual WeSUCC (WerdSmiths Uniting Camera & Copy) Awards. And in multiple categories, too, such as the “Depends Best Wet-Your-Pants Photo Slug” for your brilliant and infamous “Crash Test, Dummy.”

    And then there was your 7 year unbeaten streak in the “Henkels Most Side-Splitting Unpublishable Cutline” category, not to mention the “Hefner Award of Merit for the Most Titillating Juxtaposition of an Unrelated Photo & Headline,” among others.

    Between you, me & the gatepost, I hear that you were nominated for this year’s posthumous WeSUCC Lifetime Achievement Award. Of course the nomination’s been withdrawn now that you’ve been discovered alive.

    So lighten up, John. If you become any more bitter, you’ll have to trade your keyboard for a camera!

    Great to have found you & Viking Woman. I must replenish my stock of Depends.

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