TIP OF THE WEEK: Jan 16, 2012

It’s awards season folks! You know how I know this? People around me are freaking out. Seemingly well-adjusted folk turn kinda weird this time of year. So deep breath, and let’s talk about this.

One thing I do when I simply can’t come up with “my best,” is ask people in the newsroom, “What’s the story that I did this year that you liked most?” If they can remember one of the 300 stories I did that year, that meant the piece was probably pretty good. This doesn’t give you a “sure bet” entry, but it helps!

Show your entries to other people—even if they are competitors! They might be able to tell you if the order in your compilation is working—or if a story is just not worth putting on a reel (or even if you missed one that they remember)—or if an individual piece isn’t worth shelling out an entry fee for.

Take some risks—how many occupy stories do you think judges are going to see this year? But how many dog-riding monkeys will they see? Hmmmmm…add some flavor to your entries and it might just pay off.

Don’t break the bank if you have to pay for entries—have some fun with it—but realize that winning stuff doesn’t usually result in a higher paycheck, holidays off, etc. Note the dollar signs in the title above–that’s sarcasm.

Hope that’s helpful—I probably could’ve given a tip about storytelling—but this topic is constantly talked about whenever I get together with my newsie friends over beers. That’s another tip right there—talk over beers. It’ll make you freak out less.

Here’s a little ditty Chris Vanderveen and I are submitting a few places. Not super run-of-the-mill. I wonder how it will do? That’s just part of the fun.