Saturday, August 24, 2013

Selfish Pat on the Back for Myself

With the leg event in Peru I nearly forgot that I got some good news as well. First, my first Social Security check came in while I was there--not bad and well deserved after a life of labor in candy stores, art galleries, driving a taxi in New York City, cooking and then chef'ing in NYC restaurants, working as a journalist, and all the rest. Heck yeah, I took it early. Why not?
   But that was only one good thing. The others were a couple of awards I won. I took 2nd Place as Print Journalist of the Year in the Houston Press Club's annual Lone Star Awards--and then also took a 2nd in the same Press Club's Politics and Government story category.
   The big one, however, was a 1st Place in the national Association of Alternative Weeklies' award fest in the Public Service category for three of my features related to the Keystone Pipeline Tar Sands issue. That was the award my boss Gayle Reaves was most proud of--and I agree. This is a real self-congratulatory remark but also true: National Awards in categories like Public Service for a series of articles means you've changed the national dialogue on a given subject. Influenced it at least a little. And what that really means is 1) you had a good editor (always vital!); 2) you had a great copy editor (Thank you, Margaret!); and 3) the dozens of extra phone calls you made after you already had enough material to write the stories were worth the time and effort.
   If I am ever asked to give one single tip to young journalists it would be "Make 10 more calls than you think you need. And then make 10 more. One of those people is going to tell you something related to your story that you had not considered at all, and that something is going to make your story shine."
    Okay, nobody's asking me, but that's what I would say if anybody did.


phoenix said...

Congratulations Peter, I love you man. I hope you are getting better.

Devon said...

Wow way to go! So glad things have been taking a turn for the better lately. Keep on riding that wave up!