Last Friday night, Jason and I were in the car going to do our weekly grocery shopping when I received the news. I looked at Jason and asked, “Is it me, or the hype around me?” He smiled and said, “A little of each” and asked me what I thought. My answer has never changed: I’ve always believed it’s passion and a good editor.
You see, on Friday I received an email from the National Newspaper Association that stated, “You have placed in the 2017 National Newspaper Association BNEC/BNAC contest.” PGN had won a total of seven awards: from our coverage of the Orlando tragedy to our special features, profiles and our social-media journalism. And then I noticed something personal: I had placed for “Best Serious Column.”
And that got to me for several reasons. The column that won was titled “A 40-year PGN journey,” which was the column I wrote for PGN’s 40th anniversary. In it, I explained our humble — very humble — beginnings and our attempts to overcome hatred, which, at times, destroyed our offices, crushed our vending boxes and led to threats to our lives. That column ended up talking about the changes in this country since then and how PGN has chronicled all those changes.
These awards, all seven of them, were something that we could never have dreamed of almost 41 years ago since, at that time, we were refused membership in almost all journalism organizations. And with the awards from NNA, we have now won major awards from almost every journalism organization in the country. There’s really only one left — the Pulitzer — but hey, they would never look at this scrappy newspaper.
Thank you to all the journalism organizations, especially NNA, PNA, SPJ and NLGJA and all the others who have honored the staff at PGN. And as I’ve said so often, thank you to the staff of PGN for making me a proud publisher.