Brenda Schimke, editorial writer for the ECA Review wins her third Golden Dozen award by the International Society of Weekly Newspaper Editors (ISWNE).
It was announced at the annual awards banquet at the conference held in Atlanta, Georgia on June 22, 2019 for her Sept. 6, 2018 editorial, titled ‘Value of history kept, not whitewashed’.
Schimke was unable to attend as she is employed as a financial secretary at a school in Red Deer, Alta.
From the judge
In making her point as early as the second paragraph, Brenda Schimke summed up well her opinion about overreacting by two groups: first, “criminals” who vandalize the monument of a controversial figure; second, people of power who “think whitewashing our history will somehow make things better for our indigenous peoples.”
Well thought-out and well-written piece.
Brenda P. Schimke also won a Golden Dozen award in 2018 and in 2005.
Phil Hudgins judged this year’s 76 entries and commented: “When I opened the packet of Golden Quill contest entries left at my front door, I was delighted to see that somewhere out there in the world are newspapers that remain unafraid to take a stand on vital issues, whatever they are.
I don’t want to sound cynical or pessimistic here, but it’s a fact that newspapers, in general, don’t carry the clout they once did.
One reason, I believe, is they try to please everybody. Balance and fairness are great, but shying away from discussing tough, important issues on the editorial page is not.
Even many metro newspapers have chosen the smooth, bumpless road on their editorial pages.
I know I’m preaching to the choir here, but taking strong stands editorially is even harder for the weekly publisher/editor.
You write that the city manager needs to step down, and then you see her at the pharmacy the next day. It’s easier to hide in a big city, which has dozens of pharmacies.
Please don’t misunderstand me: I’m not suggesting that weeklies – or any other newspapers – should come down in every editorial like a sledgehammer on an ant.
No one likes a bully. No one respects vindictiveness.
And, sometimes –often times, actually – a nice word in an opinion piece is a good thing. But let’s not cower in the corner when we should stand up boldly.
Unfortunately, many newspapers don’t write institutional editorials at all.
My former boss called the editorial page the “soul of the newspaper.” But what is an editorial page without institutional editorials?
Does that make it soulless? Perhaps. Okay, we’ve gotten that sermon out of the way.
Now let’s move to specific suggestions: You don’t have to be long-winded.
Short editorials often are the best. Many of the contest entries were needlessly lengthy.
It pays to keep in mind the method of the effective country preacher: Tell ’em what you’re gonna tell ’em; then tell ’em; then tell ’em what you told ’em.
For goodness’ sake, say something and say it clearly.
If the message is muddled, the editorial is useless.
Take a position – and stick to it, unless you are proven wrong.
Get to the point early. Don’t meander to several subjects and then many paragraphs later make a point. Tell me early, and avoid an oversupply of “on the other hands.”
Finally, I want to congratulate all of you. You’re all winners in my book because you have opinions and you’re not afraid to offer them.
Narrowing down 76 entries to a measly dozen was a tough assignment.
I agonized over some of these entries – over which ones should find a seat among the Golden Dozen.
If yours was not one of them, don’t worry.
Just continue writing.
Your readers will thank you.