Five Reasons to Ignore the L.A. Press Club Awards

Here are the Los Angeles Press Club nominees for “CRITIC, TELEVISION,” in its second annual National Entertainment Journalism Awards, with comment:

* Shawn Edwards and Russ Simmons, Fox4 News, Kansas City

Rightfully notorious as a “quote whore,” Edwards earned the following compilation from Variety editor Tim Gray in his 2007 wrap-up of embarrassing quote ads:

“No Reservations” — “The most delightful movie of the year!” (July 22)

“Resident Evil: Extinction” — “The most exciting movie of the year!” (Sept. 28)

“Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium” — “The most magical movie of the year!” (Nov. 11)

“I Am Legend” — “The best movie of the year!” (Dec. 15)


* Nancy Jay, AAFES-EXTV

I’m not sure what any of those letters mean.


* Manny the Movie Guy, KMIR6/NBC

This might sound like nitpicking, but shouldn’t you have to provide a real last name to be nominated for a journalism award?


* Sandie Newton. CBS11/TXA21, Texas

Never heard of her.


* George Pennacchio, KABC-TV

Him I have heard of, but A) he’s not a critic and doesn’t do reviews, and B) gushes so much over celebrities that there’s a constant fear he’s going to spontaneously combust on them.


The same five folks, by the way, account for six of the eight nominees in the television “FEATURES” and “NEWS STORY” categories, which suggests either a dearth of submissions or that the ballots were tabulated in Florida and Ohio.


The press club’s March 26 event will honor Wall Street Journal film critic Joe Morgenstern, who is certainly more than deserving of the accolades (and already owns a Pulitzer Prize). Still, with newspapers and broadcasters ailing financially, maybe it’s time to spare journos from hitting up their bosses (or worse, digging into their own pockets) for the submission fees on these manufactured prize hunts — or at least declare a moratorium.


In fact, I think that’s “the best idea of the year!” (March 18)



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  1. Brian Lowry says:

    Frankly, I’m with David Simon — the former Baltimore Sun reporter who produced HBO’s “The Wire” — about the corrosive impact of the awards culture on journalism. Simon has addressed this more ably than I could, but for a start see his comments in this earlier column:
    But setting that aside, the quality of entertainment coverage in broadcast news is simply an embarrassment. So if you have a category where the best that you can do in terms of nominees is George Pennacchio and Shawn Edwards, you either A) need more submissions or B) to get rid of that category.
    That said, knock yourselfs out. And save your receipts.

  2. Chris Woodyard says:

    1. The club is proud of the NEJ awards finalists and everyone who entered in a difficult year. Quality journalism still matters.
    2. The competition brought in 30% more entries this year than last year when it debuted.
    3. The finalists were chosen by some top-notch judges, including Brian’s managing editor.
    4. Defying an era of group-think, the entries came from entertainment coverage veterans as well as cub reporters, smaller markets as well as NY and LA.
    5. It gives us, the working press, a chance to honor the winners and toast Wall Street Journal/KCRW critic Joe Morgenstern at 7 p.m. next Thursday, 3/26, at the Steve Allen Theater, 4773 Hollywood Blvd. Everyone is invited and the parking is free.
    –Chris Woodyard, President, Los Angeles Press Club

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