New York Times Wins Big at Deadline Club Awards Dinner
NEW YORK – The New York Times dominated this year’s Deadline Club awards, winning in seven categories, with reporter Charles Duhigg receiving honors in both investigative reporting and public service for his “Toxic Waters” series.
The Gray Lady’s nearest rival in the race for the Rubes was the Associated Press with four awards, including a new award for the best cell-phone news app.
The annual awards dinner drew nearly 200 of the city’s top journalists to the Waldorf-Astoria Monday evening to honor their colleagues. The Deadline Club, one of the nations largest chapters of the Society for Professional Journalists, awarded 30 of its distinctive statuettes for excellence in categories such as investigations to spot news reporting and across media, from print to interactive online graphics.
While the weighty, bronze “Rubes” (designed by none other than Rube Goldberg) reflected the club’s 80-year history, keynote speaker Robert Thomson, editor-in-chief of Dow Jones and managing editor of The Wall Street Journal, spoke about journalism’s precarious future.
The evolution of journalism, Thomson said, has gone from “Dog Bites Man” to “Man Bites Dog” to finally reach “Byte Dogs Man” in the punishing echo chamber of extremes. The dearth of marginal content on the Internet is skewing the industry’s priorities, he said, adding that “traffic for the sake of traffic” and “purposeless repurposing” are seen as more valuable in some quarters than serious journalism. Still, he noted, “nostalgia is not a strategy.” He urged those in attendance to keep to the ramparts and use “fact-based journalism” to keep the “fiction-based blather” at bay.
Thomson needled The New York Times, which last week sent The Wall Street Journal a cease-and-desist letter over ads for the Journal’s new local news section that seem to mimic a branding campaign recently launched by the Times. Noting that his previous newspaper, The Times of London, claimed the “Times” moniker 50 years before the New York paper existed, Thomson mused: “I’m sure we could find a sympathetic view to our position from some British judge.”
Thomson, who has led the Journal’s efforts to challenge The New York Times in local coverage, further poked his rival by making public that the Journal’s retail sales are up by 13% on weekdays and 18% on Saturdays since the new metro news section’s debut in late April.
New York Post media columnist Keith Kelly, who introduced Thomson, lauded Thomson’s choice as a youth to take a newspaper internship over positions with an oil firm or as an accountant, and praised Thompson’s reasoning – that the journalism job would disappear sooner than others if he didn’t grab it.
After Thomson’s address, he joined Deadline Cdlub president Rebecca Baker in handing out 29 “Rube” statues to the winners. Betsy Ashton, past president of the Deadline Club, kept a brisk pace while recognizing as many as four finalists per category whom judges singled out for mention.
Among the winners were Newsweek journalist Maziar Bahari, who won an award for “118 Days in Hell,” his account of his imprisonment in Iran at the hands of the Revolutionary Guard. The judges of the Magazine Feature category specifically cited his courage throughout the ordeal.
To see the complete list of winners, go to http://deadlineclub.org/awards