This past weekend, the Other Press headed down to Los Angeles for the Associated Collegiate Press (ACP) National Journalism Convention—a conference bringing together student newspapers from all over the United States as well as a few from Canada, including SFU and UBC. We entered two of our papers for Best of Show awards and came away with a fourth and a third for a weekly issue and a special edition, respectively.
These conferences typically have a litany of seminars and panels which serve to aid in the development of the writers and editors of tomorrow. A takeaway of mine from the conference is one that, ironically, I am ignoring here. I was singled out during a talk due to a vanilla Lettitor I wrote. The reason: it was boring—there was no real reason for you to care. Stick with me and I’ll rationalize this self-indulgent piece later.
This is my fifth, and, barring some unforeseen incident, final year at the Other Press. In my time we’ve been shortlisted for all of one award—a humour piece at NASH, the Canadian equivalent of ACP’s bash. And we didn’t win that.
It’s always been frustrating to me. There’s no shortage of talent that strolls into our office each year. No doubt that some characters will go on to achieve something meaningful in the world. But our work has gone, awards-wise, unnoticed. At the end of the day, no matter what we tell ourselves about our best effort being an award in of itself, we want validation. We want something tangible. We want more than just a mental pat on the back or a high-five from someone in the office who’d probably support you through thick and thin anyway.
So here’s me saying that I’m damn proud of this newspaper. And I’m honoured that I get the opportunity to fill up this page with my admiration for this crew. Sure, they’re just doing their job, but they’re doing it remarkably well. From the writers to the editors to the production team, it’s hard for me not to get a warm feeling inside sometimes.
Rationalization: you read this newspaper. Don’t you want to know that it’s viewed by something of importance as a quality publication? If you are reading a novel by a new author, don’t you care if there’s some book prize stamped on the cover? Even though you are perfectly capable of judging good literature for yourself, it helps to know that there’s an official declaration from a reputable third party that the words you are digesting are worthwhile.
We’ve got our book prize stamp now. You have your reassurance that you aren’t reading this simply because it’s there. And now? We’re just going to keep doing what we do best.