Friday, November 09, 2007

1st Annual Awards

If you've never taken part in a TV news story contest, you ain't missed much. Sure, there are the local Emmies, the AP awards, the NPPA and lots of other ways to take home a trophy or a plaque. But I've just never been a fan. Be it the whacked-out entry fees, the haphazard judging or just the whole unsavory process of nominating yourself for a pat on the back, it's always struck me as ... hollow. While I cast no aspersions on the many powerful photogs who've racked up the mantle hardware, I've never been able to cut a check for something I don't believe in (a policy which proves I'm either overly idealistic or just plain cheap). Now, however, I may be forced to reconsider my longheld stance, since Kevin Johnson has finally forced the TV News Contest into the 21st Century. I give you the 1st Annual AWARDS.

For those who don't know, is the on-line gathering place for the TV news photog nation (and incidentally, the birthplace of Lenslinger). With more than 47,000 members, the b-roll community includes wide-eyed newbies, network journeyman and medium market hacks like me. We're not newspaper multimedia specialists, mind you - but we still think we know a thing or two about video journalism. Until now, we've solidified that crazy belief by filling the world's newscasts with our finest efforts; real world, daily-made, deadline-edited television news. Perhaps you've caught a few examples wedged between all those damn Geiko ads. With the uprise of YouTube and beefed-up TV station websites, more and more of our work appears on-line - which makes a democratic, free and transparent story contest all but inevitable.

Enter Kevin Johnson. For 11 years, the towering everyman has worked to improve his website, first with a barebones watering hole, then a vibrant message board and now with a YouTube-like video uploading portal. Since launching TV, Kev's attracted some of the best TV news out there to his fledgling gallery. With the addition of a free yearly contest, his list of exhibits will surely swell. Voted on by the very community that holds their work so dear, the Awards are poised to exploit the ego, id and virtuoso of some v-e-r-y competitive storytellers. If you're a news shooter like me who specializes in putting it off, it's time to learn to upload. If you're simply a fan of potent TV news, you'll want to bookmark this site and check back often.

Hmmmm ... a free and transparent TV news story contest, built on a pre-existing membership and the ease of the internets. Kinda makes you wonder why the NPPA didn't roll this kind of thing out years ago. Guess they're still in committee...

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