Last week, I had the opportunity to attend the Denver Press Club’s 16th Annual Damon Runyon Award Banquet with our friends at MolsonCoors. Talk of Colorado Native – the newly released amber lager featuring locally produced ingredients and packaging – eventually ceded to the evening’s honoree, political satirist, P.J. O’Rourke.
Channeling the spirit of Runyon – a celebrated journalist from the early 20th century – O’Rourke delivered a humorous and provocative address about the history of journalism that dubbed early newspapermen as “paid rubber necks.” As the industry matured, the role of reporters evolved to uncover the full gamut of who, what, when, where and why for any given story.
Today, with the ubiquity of information available over the Internet, O’Rourke commented that the first four attributes of a news story – who, what, when, where – are widely available through any number of online channels with an immediacy that often threatens the value of traditional journalism. Therefore, to remain relevant and eclipse the current onslaught of content, the media must refocus on “why” and strive to explain the events, people and issues making news.
“The job of journalists is to explain – it’s the only job that we have left.”
– P.J. O’Rourke, April 9, 2010
This point is important, not only for reporters, but also for those of us who work with the news media and set out to create stories on behalf of our clients that are relevant to a larger audience. Yes, we’re continuing to engage social media to drive viral buzz and establish thought leadership, but if we want our news rise above the fray and deliver compelling stories via traditional media, we too must remember to consider the “why.”
Special thanks to the Denver Press Club for their ongoing leadership in highlighting quality journalism and bringing the national spotlight to Colorado for the annual Damon Runyon Award. O’Rourke joins a notable group of journalists to be honored with the Damon Runyon Award, including George Will, Bob Costas, Tim Russert and Rick Reilly.
Proceeds from the award banquet benefit the club’s scholarship fund and building maintenance. Six college journalists were awarded Damon Runyon scholarships in 2010.
GroundFloor Media is excited to include the Denver Press Club Damon Runyon scholarship program as a beneficiary of the GroundFloor Media Get Giving program. Get Giving is a way for GFM team members and our families, friends, clients and associates to contribute to local organizations in need of charitable donations.