The New York State Associated Press Association released the winners of its 2015 journalism contest.
Oddly enough, I won third place in the business writing category. The announcement shocked me more than sticking your tongue in an electrical socket. Still, I’m humbled and grateful to have been honored. In fact, my employer the (Rochester) Democrat and Chronicle won a ton of awards in the contest, including Newspaper of Distinction. This is a noteworthy prize because my employer is in the same competing category as powerhouse New York newsrooms like the New York Daily News and Newsday.
It’s still kind of startling that I won. So, in the spirit of being third, I’m going to explain three reasons why it’s weird that I won third place.
PERHAPS TOO SOON
The third place award stems from a story I wrote in late October 2015, roughly two months after I began working for the Democrat and Chronicle. Not trying to discredit the work, but I’m simply pointing out that other business writers across New York had 9 months of a head start on writing award-winning stories in 2015. It’s somewhat perplexing how no one wrote anything in those first 9 months to rival my late-arrival, third-place entry. Perhaps they did and just didn’t have enough money to submit it for the contest. We’ll never know.
A SURPRISE ENTRY
I don’t have the best memory in the world, but I distinctly remember my editors sending out an e-mail and asking me and my colleagues for entries for the contest. Perhaps I was being too modest, but I didn’t offer any of my 2015 work. Again, part of it was because I was the new kid on the block and I figured nothing I wrote would be worthy enough for consideration. Unbeknownst to me, my bosses submitted the article. In fact, I didn’t know they submitted it until months later when I learned my story was a finalist.
FIRST BUSINESS AWARD
I’ve won state press association awards before, but all of them have been for education reporting. This third place marks the first time I’ve ever won a business writing award. Because I’m still recently removed from education reporting, I feel like an education reporter who won a business writing award – which is incredibly unorthodox. It’s going to take a few more years covering innovation and entrepreneurship for me to feel like a full-fledged business reporter. This award is a heartwarming step in that direction.