Freeloader Gets Overlooked, and Lives With It

S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications' Mirror Awards

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The Event: The inaugural Mirror Awards, honoring journalism about the media business
The Date: June 14, 2007
The Venue: The W New York
The Crowd: Reporters who cover reporters, publishers of media-on-media outfits, mistress of ceremonies Meredith Vieria, and, for some reason, Tom Freston
The Food and Drink: Your standard Luncheon Ceremony Special.
2007 Mirror Awards invitation
2007 Mirror Awards invitation

Ever feel like the media business doesn't get enough attention? Us neither, but this year the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications decided that the best reporters, editors, outlets, bloggers and columnists covering, well, their own business deserved new annual awards. And who are we to complain about that?

Unfortunately the school and the judges -- including Judy Woodruff, First Amendment stalwart Floyd Abrams, former Associated Press CEO Louis D. Boccardi and Steve Kroft from "60 Minutes" -- did not offer a category for party reports, so Freeloader couldn't contend in the first round of Mirror Awards. (OK, we're complaining a little, but c'mon, the cocktail-party circuit can be brutal -- surely that deserves some recognition?)

No, this was an event to honor serious scriveners like David Carr, whose New York Times column won for best commentary, and wonky do-gooders like, a University of Minnesota j-school site about healthcare coverage that won for "excellence in media information services."

At least that's what we thought until not one but two winners separately confessed that they don't actually cover the media. "I'm not even The Economist's media correspondent," said Andreas Kluth, accepting his prize for "Among the Audience: A Survey of New Media," which the judges picked for best subject-related series. Mr. Kluth was a Silicon Valley reporter who happened to be in the right place when technology became media's biggest change agent.

Clive Thompson also confessed, when his "Blogs to Riches" piece for New York magazine was named best single article, that he wasn't a media guy -- but a science writer. There was no doubt about that after he compared the trophy, basically a clear pillar, to dilithium crystals from Star Trek.

The Newhouse School can brag, in any case, of a successful inaugural event. We've got just one piece of advice, about the ticket prices, from an attendee who chatted with Freeloader. Don't forget all that noise about "transition" and "challenges" in the media coverage you're evaluating --news organizations aren't all going to like forking over $500 per person every year unless and until the landscape ever settles down.
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