My friends - I come before you shocked, outraged and more than a little bitter.
I discovered today that I have NOT - I repeat, NOT - been nominated in the 2009 Queensland Media Awards.
It's stunning news. Incredible, unbelievable and a number of other adjectives that you can look up in a thesaurus.
I feel hurt and betrayed that I have been denied a chance to be recognised for my dedication to journalism. And to get my hands on the... eh... ahem *cough*... cash prize.
But it was the JOURNALISM that was important ($500, man. That's some sweet coin).
I entered a story I did late last year about two Brisbane people who'd been the victim of Nigerian Love Scammers. It was interesting because it was the first time victims had been willing to put their hands up and admit they got conned. Most people let the police do the talking.
It wasn't a HARD news story, but it was still a news story, with a charming and relevant human interest angle. But oh no. That doesn't seem to be good enough for the judges of the Best Radio News Report category.
You'll see that instead, they've plumped for an SBS report on the findings of the Malu-Sara coronial inquiry, a five-journo coverage of last November's mighty storms, and - most outrageously - a live cross from some bloke at ABC 702 in SYDNEY about some sort of "crash".
Let me say that again, people. SOME BLOKE IN SYDNEY.
Now I could choose to crumple up in a sobbing heap that obviously the judges think SOME BLOKE IN SYDNEY is better than my local, actually-Brisbane-based contribution.
But instead, I'm going to get angry. Righteously angry.
Because even if I was the most shit-hot reporter since Tintin, I STILL would not get nominated for these awards. And you know why? Because I don't work at the ABC or SBS.
That's right - I'M BLAMING THE LIBERAL MEDIA.
Now this is distressing to me. I don't like the thought that after eight years in commercial radio - five in conservative talkback - that I have lost the edgy, left-of-centre thinking that's frustrated my Dad for all these years ("Go march with your Labor Day mates, you Commie!").
But you know what? I do a bloody good job with far fewer resources than the latte-sipping crowd over at Aunty.
That storm story? The one that they had FIVE journos nominated for? Guess who covered that for my station?
THIS little black duck, that's who. After reading the news the Sunday afternoon the storm hit, I was out at The Gap surveying the worst of the damage by 8:30 Monday morning. Then I was back at 6am Tuesday for the Prime Minister's visit. Wednesday it was out to see damage to a water reservoir at Enoggera. My equipment? A recorder and a mobile phone. AND MY OWN CAR. Oh yeah, and I also took my camera to send some photos to our sister publication.
Wish I'd bloody submitted some reports of that now. Why didn't I? I wasn't about in the newsroom to save them, due to being OUT ON THE ROAD.
The big guns at the top of the commercial radio tree may get paid more than God, and have producers and lackeys coming out the wazoo, but you would be mistaken in thinking that kind of cash trickles down to newsrooms. Commercial radio is a profit-driven business, and news doesn't make money. We have far fewer staff and resources than the ABC. Remember my post about state election night? The ABC had more journos there than Rupert Murdoch's had plans to take over the world.
Now I'm not KNOCKING that - it's important the nation is serviced by a properly financed and resourced broadcast outlet, and the journos there do a fine job. But these awards do seem set up in a way that doesn't allow the smaller newsrooms to compete.
Case in point - the other radio category, "Best Radio Feature". It's unavailable to me because our station does not have any programs that do radio news features - like The World Today or PM on the ABC.
I pay my dues to the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance like a good worker monkey. I rarely complain that they've been about as efficient at getting me a wage increase as Queensland Motorways has been with its new tolling system, but this time... it's personal.
I'd like to demand a new category implemented for the 2010 Awards:
"Best Radio Report by a Journo Who Doesn't Have a Specific Round and Therefore Covers Everything to Some Degree In Order to Provide the Best Coverage Possible in a Lightly-Staffed Newsroom Yet Still Manages to Get Most Stuff Out On Time, Factually Correct and Reasonably Pleasant to Listen To."
I'll be waiting with my entry.