All about us ... and you

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By Dan Haley

Editor and Publisher

Two or three minutes from now, depending how fast you read, you'll be glad this column maxes out at 550 words – 600 if I push the designers. Because you see this column is all about us. And the editorial prizes we just won. By implication it is about just how great we are at this end of the pencil. But by using a metaphor — or maybe its called a simile, or foreshadowing — I'm going to try and convince you that by reading this really outstanding newspaper every week, it reflects well on you and that you, in fact, are the greatest.

Truthfully, while we're the ones who hot-tailed it to Springfield the end of last week for the annual Illinois Press Association "Best of the Press" awards, really we are just there representing you, our readers. With each award we won, and there were a honking boatload, I pictured a certain reader and the expression on their face — pride of place, rightful indignation, a wry smile — as they read the story or took in the photograph we were honored for. Twenty-nine awards. That's a lot of walking up to the front trying to look modest.

One of those awards was for General Excellence. That's like the top award. And in the Special Section category there were four winners. And all of them were us. Fall Fashion. Pride. Answer Book. Home Book. And there's that reader, her life changed by our Fall Fashion section. The wry smile gives way to several actual tears as she realizes you really can shop for clothes in Oak Park.

Timmy, a digital native, didn't have much use for local news on parchment. And then he discovered, the digital version of Wednesday Journal and he was gleeful. Wait'll he finds out that was just named the best website in the state in the large circulation category. He might just launch a Tweet proclaiming this website that he, in his cool genius, discovered.

When Brad Spencer, our sports guy, won for best sports columnist and best sports section, I pictured all the whiny readers who regularly flame Brad for not covering their son's or daughter's obscure sports talent or not being at every sporting event in person. Now I'm picturing more appreciation.

There's a category for original column. That's where Ken Trainor and I compete head-on. Luckily neither of us came in first or we'd be rolling around on the floor in the newsroom dishing out noogies. But Ken did come in second, which is good because he'd be impossible if I ever beat him. Not that it has ever happened. Or likely will. Mrs. Trainor's boy was born to write columns.

There were lots of other awards. For photos and page design and editorials and feature sections. But you get the idea. On your behalf, we did pretty darned good this year. By our tradition of fairness, I'd point out that our competitors at Oak Leaves had a good day, too, though I'm bound by objective reporting standards to note they did it in a smaller circulation category than the Journal.

In closing let me just say, with something approaching complete sincerity, that winning awards is fun even if you have to drive to Springfield to pick them up. An award here or there doesn't mean a lot by itself. But when year by year we are honored repeatedly by our peers for our hard work, then it is gratifying. And we do, corny as it sounds, picture our readers as we go about our business.

But we hardly ever picture you naked.

Email: Twitter: @OPEditor

Reader Comments

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John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: June 23rd, 2012 11:49 AM

Actually, how does anyone know if John Butch Murtagh, Jim Couglin, Bruce Broeman, etc. are the real names of the poster?


Posted: June 22nd, 2012 11:17 PM

Bruuuuuuuuce. You rock star!

Bruce Broerman  

Posted: June 22nd, 2012 11:05 PM

Frankly, why are people such cowards that they frankly cannot give their real or full names, frankly?

Jay Em  

Posted: June 21st, 2012 1:13 PM

Responding to Bevis from North Berwyn, I can attest that Oak Park is well served by the fine newspapers it has covering it. I'm in the news business and have been acquainted with people from both the Wednesday Journal and Oak Leaves. These are great organizations and should be proud of their accomplishments. My company competes in the same division as the Journal, so we know what excellent work it produces. Kudos, Dan, on another fine showing at the IPA convention. Best of luck in the future.

Bevis from North Berwyn  

Posted: June 20th, 2012 9:58 AM

Frankly, that the WJ and Oak Leaves won awards is frankly an indictment of the state of the media these days.


Posted: June 20th, 2012 9:55 AM

Did Iman Shumpert have anything to do with the voting. LOL

Lori M  

Posted: June 20th, 2012 9:50 AM

Congrats! And I bet there are a lot of people who'd love to see you and Ken duke it out!

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: June 20th, 2012 12:08 AM

Congratulations - the WJ Team has done a great job of improving communications in OP in an incredible range of subjects.

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