There is a difference between awards issued by clubs and those earned by hard work through head-to-head competition. As a former competitive runner, I know what it takes to prove yourself against another individual without the need to get someone to nominate you and have those who depend on your dues for sustenance to vote for your award. I learned this through my various memberships at the El Paso Chamber of Commerce and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
Like other professional clubs, both chambers issued awards in direct response to who was likely to help increase the revenue sources of the club rather than the actual accomplishment of the award recipient. In other words, awards were issued to individuals who are likely to result in media exposure or had access to monies to fund the non-profits issuing the awards.
You don’t need to look further than Bob Jones’ Entrepreneur of the Year Award given to him by the El Paso Chamber of Commerce in 2005 to understand this.
Fortunately, for the clubs their “awards” are beneficial to both the giver and the recipient. The giver benefits from the goodwill of the recipient while the receiver gets credibility from being “awarded” an award by his peers. Thus a self-preservation cycle is created.
The National Press Foundation issues the annual Benjamin C. Bradlee Editor of the Year Award ostensibly to “recognize significant achievements that enhance the quality of journalism”. According to the National Press Foundation their raison d’être (reason to exist) is to “increase journalists’ knowledge of complex issues”, however they are nothing more than a professional club for journalists.
Bob Moore is expected to receive the award in March 2014.
So what’s the problem?
The problem is that according to the organization’s own website the “general operational costs” for the organization “are usually covered by net revenue” from their annual awards dinner held in either February or March. In other words in order to pay the overhead needed to keep the organization going an annual awards ceremony must be held.
Now ask yourself, was issuing this award based on the achievement of Bob Moore’s accomplishments or on the need to pay the organization’s bills? After answering that, you can now measure the award Bob Moore is so proudly touting.