I don’t think anybody in journalism — at least anybody worth mentioning — is in it for the awards. Certainly no one does it to get rich, but recognition, especially from your peers, is certainly welcome.
Time for me to brag a little.
Our paper earned a total of 14 awards at the 2019 Missouri Press Association’s annual convention last weekend. Of those, eight had my name on them, and two were earned by our entire staff. You can read about them elsewhere in this issue.
As much as my ego would like me to, I can’t take all the credit for all this. I’ve had help from a wonderful group of teachers, mentors, and colleagues over the past three decades (I’m not old! I just started early!) in this business and each one has had a hand in helping me in everything I do.
Among thoese that immediately come to mind is my first editor at the Enterprise-Courier, Jim Anderson, who took the time to explain to a 16-year-old stringer that writing chronologically was perhaps not the best way to cover a basketball game. Then there was Todd Wilson, who hired me away from the hallowed halls at Mizzou to bring me to the Standard-Democrat. Our paths crossed again years later in Arkansas. Football Friday nights at the Sikeston office were where I learned to avoid cliches — well, mostly — and to write on deadline. It’s also where I met another mentor, Mike Jensen, who taught me to stand my ground against those who wish to obscure the truth.
In the years after that, in places much farther away, I learned to add other tools to my toolbox and kept developing my skills.
For most of the past two decades, I did all that at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in Little Rock, where I got the chance to work alongside people like sportswriting legend Jim Bailey, Wally Hall, Jeff Krupsaw, Scott Loftis and a host of others, who all made an impact.
Most recently, I can point to our publisher, Beth Durreman, who puts her trust in me to do what I think is best when it comes to covering our county.
And then there’s all of you, the readers, who push us all to be better. After all, this is our home. We know how great it is, and sharing it with the world is our repsonsibility and our pleasure.
Thanks to all of you for helping make me — and the rest of us — better. Parking lot beers on me. First, let’s get the paper out.
Robert Cox is an award-winning columnist and managing editor of the Republic-Monitor. He may be reached by email at email@example.com or by phone at 573-238-7004.