The Los Angeles Press Club started handing out what it calls the National Entertainment Journalism awards five years ago. I've never been sure quite why, or paid much attention to the new kid on the local awards block. Now Nikki Finke has blasted the whole idea in a post at Deadline.com explaining why she and her staff are "boycotting" this year's contest, after entering and winning last year. Sample:
In my opinion, the LA Press Club seems more interested in collecting entry fees and selling gala tables to its 5-year-old entertainment awards contest than in rewarding high standards of journalism or conducting a competition with integrity. Tabloid media outlets which engage in ‘checkbook journalism’ are allowed to enter and in fact won NEJ categories last year. Articles which were inaccurate also won categories in 2011 as did articles which repurposed other media outlets’ reporting without credit. Also troubling is that the LA Press Club does not divulge the identities of the NEJ judges. And, from what I can glean, most prior judges possessed no expert knowledge of the specialized entertainment field. Finally, these awards are almost entirely Los Angeles-centric so calling them ‘national’ is a misnomer.
Could the Press Club's plan to honor Janice Min with a Luminary Award for revamping the Hollywood Reporter be a factor? Anyway, when the Press Club announced the awards in 2007, the names of the judges were revealed: at the time, Alex Ben Block of the Hollywood Reporter, Ted Johnson of Variety and Claudia Puig of USA Today. The banquet for the awards this time is Nov. 18 at the Biltmore, with Jane Fonda receiving the club's inaugural Visionary Award from long ago co-star Robert Redford.
Because it hasn't been said here for awhile, I don't enter any local media awards for myself or for LA Observed — and never have. Some of the contributors do enter contests for their work here.
Photo of Janice Min, in red dress, from Monica Almeida/New York Times