My blog won first place in personal blog writing for 2014 in the Press Women of Texas's Communications Contest. Afterward, my blog placed second in personal blog writing nationwide in the National Federation of Press Women's Communications Contest. I can't adequately tell you what these awards mean to me, but I feel impelled to try.
On May 6, 1937, 39 women from seven states gathered at the Chicago Women's Club to turn their vision into reality. They formed the National Federation of Presswomen (yes, then it was one word) and set forth their goals: "To provide a means of communication between woman writers nationally; make possible the expression of a common voice in matters of national interest to press women, and otherwise advance the professional standards of press women."
It was brave enough for women to found such an organization in any decade prior to 1970, but this group was founded at the height of the Great Depression. It grew to include all 50 states. Press Women of Texas was the first professional organization I joined as a young writer. As my life and career took me to some odd times and places, including overseas, I did let my membership lapse for some years. When I returned to the US, I was only too happy to rejoin. The organization does accept male members, and has done so for a while.
I respect this group deeply. In the midst of the digital tidal wave and the massive changes that have occurred in journalism, they have stayed true to principles that should never change. This organization represents award-winning writers and photo journalists, creative writers and designers, students in journalism and mass communications. Its communications contest, in my opinion, is the most professional and most honest of its kind.
If someone enters an ad campaign, for example, the campaign is judged and evaluated not only for its creativity, but also for its results. It has to work! As impressive as the American Advertising Federation's award winners are in its annual state and national contests, no one who enters those has to "prove" anything. But, in an NFPW contest, if your work did not achieve a result, it does not win. Every entry includes information on the project's budget, the size of the media, the audience, and any measurable results. In the case of my blog, I included information on reader stats and traffic. That's the way it should be. NFPW and its state chapters work very hard not to let these important competitions degenerate into awards based on what people "like."
These contests take place, thanks to an army of hard-working volunteers and women who care about upholding standards in journalism and communications everywhere. I invite you to learn more about this organization, join a local chapter, and/or make a donation to their operating or scholarship funds. You'll be supporting some of the best, most hard-working, most HONEST journalists in the world. You will also be supporting a group that supported women long before ERA, Title IX, and other groundbreaking legislation.
If you are a writer, journalist, author, designer, photographer, editor, then you could benefit greatly from joining your local chapter of Press Women. Joining a local chapter automatically connects you to NFPW. This year, their annual conference is in Alaska! Doesn't that sound fantastic?
NFPW Code of EthicsAs a professional communicator, I recognize my responsibility to the public which has placed its trust and confidence in my work, and will endeavor to do nothing to abuse this obligation.
With truth as my ultimate goal, I will adhere to the highest standards of professional communication, never consciously misleading reader, viewer, or listener; and will avoid any compromise of my objectivity or fairness.
Because I believe that professional communicators must be obligated only to the people's right to know, I affirm that freedom of the press is to be guarded as an inalienable right of the citizens of a free society.
I pledge to use this freedom wisely and to uphold the right of communicators to express unpopular opinions as well as the right to agree with the majority.
— Adopted in 1975, Annual NFPW Conference, Sun Valley, Idaho
Last, but certainly not least, thank you to the readers of this blog.
You give my "voice in the wilderness" its purpose and add to its meaning. I am especially grateful to the band of readers who have taken time to send me personal notes of encouragement and responses to my blog posts. You know who you are. All of you share in this award with me. With gratitude,