As a student paper, we fully support giving students as many journalistic opportunities possible. But we fundamentally believe a focus on awards in student journalism is harmful and misrepresents what a good journalism education is.
Awards in journalism are fun to win, but any good journalist knows, good stories don’t always garner the attention they deserve. Especially in community journalism, some of the most important stories may go completely unnoticed by larger awarding-giving bodies.
As of late, we have noticed increased attention in the School of Media and Journalism toward proudly promoting the awards won, which isn’t inherently bad, but winning award should not be the reason we teach students.
Teaching students that awards are a good benchmark for determining if a journalist’s story is good can have harmful implications.
If we believe that stories that won awards are uniquely better than those that don’t, we discredit a large body of journalistic work that has a real impact — and does not give credit to many small town journalists who often go unnoticed.