Monday, July 18, 2005

Cool Cleveland Cleans Up in SPJ's First Online Awards

My blogging pals, uber-blogger George Nemeth chief among them, understandably grow weary of my relentless message about how bloggers (at least the serious ones) have more in common with traditional journalism than they'd like to admit, or perhaps even recognize. A particularly spirited discussion has broken out this morning over PD editor Doug Clifton's incredibly awkward, even ham-handed, attempt to up the ante in a showdown with the Newhouse chain's attorneys (and their ultimate clients, the owners) over a couple of stories being held out of legal concerns (more about which later). But against that backdrop, some other news is especially well-timed. This year's SPJ (Society of Professional Journalists) 2005 Best in Ohio awards have just been announced, and they include the first-ever awards for the category of online journalism. It's an important category, and it was an important statement for SPJ to make in adding it this year. I'm proud to call myself a member today, in large part because of it. SPJ continues to let down its hair, grow ever further from its roots as a band of censorious ethics police prigs and is instead slowly taking on a more central role in grappling with the ever-tougher, ever-grayer issues at the intersection of journalism and civic affairs.

And guess what? My friend George's second child (Brewedfreshdaily is his first baby), the e-letter Cool Cleveland, which he serves as chief information officer, cleaned up, winning four of the six online awards, including best general news site in the state. Take a bow, Thomas, George and especially Tish, who has toiled perhaps hardest and longest, and who has just left Cleveland for a job in Chicago. This award should have a proud place on your resume for the next 20 years, overworked-and-underappreciated Tish. For the rest of the CC crew, I would expect this is only the start of bigger things. Just please find a good editor, will ya? Or at least the best one you can afford.


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