Why we participate in contest – Amy Gilligan

As journalists we don’t often take time to savor our work. There’s always another story to write, another deadline to hit, another product to get out the door. Preparing entries for the INA contest each fall provides an opportunity to take a moment to look over the body of work we have done in a year’s time. Invariably, we are struck by the amount of great journalism we have produced. We enter nearly every category of the INA contest, including almost everyone in our newsroom. We celebrate once in December when we learn who is in the running for an award, and again in February after they are announced. 

No one gets into print journalism for the glamor. The hours are long, the pay’s not great, and we tend to tick people off sometimes. But journalists know the work we do is important, and our communities are better for the stories we tell. Once a year, to have our work recognized among our peers is one of the all too rare moments in community journalism when our work gets the acknowledgement it deserves. My favorite are the awards for young journalists — and we’ve had several winners over the years. That’s a real boost to an up-and-comer to be recognized with a statewide award.

We don’t celebrate the outstanding work we do every day. But once in a while, it’s good for the soul to stand together and be proud of our noble profession.

– Amy Gilligan,  Dubuque Telegraph Herald