A week back we were as always, hugely entertained by the farcical annual journalism awards. Once again both the Herald and the Stuff fleet bragged of being the big winners, as they do each year.
How is this possible? Simple; everyone gets a prize. Being a journo is akin to joining the army wherein as compensation for low pay and a ridiculous occupation you’re given baubles; medals for the military and “awards” for the journoes.
In the mid 1990s the then Dominion editor casually mentioned he’d submitted some of my columns for the annual awards. My horrified screams woke people as far away as Iceland. I had him promptly withdraw it. Imagine the embarrassment. I’d have had to migrate.
A decade or so back, a half-witted young woman rang advising she helped edit the Herald’s website and asked would I please supply a bio’ to head up the top of my weekly column. One huge mystery was then cleared up, namely the absurdly lengthy and incredibly laudatory bio’ published over the Herald’s John Roughan’s weekly offering. It always puzzled me reading it as to how he’d ever missed out on at least a Nobel Prize. Now the answer was clear. He wrote it himself.
I always cite Roughan when discussing columnists, as an example of someone who writes a clear, sensible but predictable commentary on events of the day, but which it’s inconceivable anyone would ever read twice. In short, he’s utterly devoid of humour or originality, the keys for longevity and being published in a book of columns.
But back to the halfwit young woman wanting my bio’ for the Herald website. I promptly dashed of a Roughan length account, explaining that I’d spent 20 years in prison for a crime I didn’t detail. There I learned to tap dance and on release represented New Zealand in the world champions, winning the title five years in a row. For this I was knighted by David Lange, he himself an avid tap dancer.
Young women are biologically programmed to be gullible in the sole interest, like every living entity from amoebas upward, of reproducing their species.
Consequently, it was no surprise when the Herald girl replied thanking me for dealing with the matter so quickly and commenting on my interesting history.
As an aside, I had dealt with it like most people, namely immediately on receiving the request. But she was used to journoes who are noted idlers.
Anyway, I couldn’t wait for it to appear in print but alas, a senior subbie picked it up and realised I was taking the mickey. I ignored the fresh request for a bio’ so to be consistent, henceforth they scrubbed running them and Roughan has hated me ever since.
God help us all. Yesterday both the Herald and the Dominion Post bragged about cleaning up all the awards in yet another bauble-issuing journalism award, this time an international one.
Feel for the poor buggers. They’re facing an abyss, as they know, with collapsing sales, as with all print media. This avalanche of awards for their wonderfulness are the equivalent of the condemned prisoner’s last meal before their appointment with the scaffold.