Editor’s Desk: Real recognize real

Volume 50, Issue 13: Editor’s Desk


“Good job.” – no one ever

One of the best moments of time with the Capilano Courier was when Cristian Fowlie, our then-art director and graduate of Capilano University’s IDEA program took home the John H. McDonald award for Best Graphic at the 2016 Canadian University Press (CUP) conference in Toronto. It was a much-needed seal of approval for the entire staff as the Courier has always been praised by peers for its visual elements, but rarely actually honoured. The victory was only the second national win for the Courier since 2013, when humour editor Scott Moraes was honoured for Humour Writing. Last year in Fredericton, IDEA student and frequent illustrator Austin Legg won the award for Best Illustration, continuing a pleasant trend that started nearly five years prior.

In our run of national recognition and award-winning work, we’ve also had some content that were shortlisted as among the best in the country. Former Editor-in- Chief Andy Rice got one for Humour Writing in 2016. Yours truly for Arts and Culture Writing last year and Christine “got-too-many-dates-these-days” Beyleveldt for Labour Reporting just this January. While I hope that the Courier continues to get recognized by the greater community of both student and professional journalists in the country, I also hope that future rosters of the Courier don’t get caught up in recognition. Awards are terrific and are not to be taken lightly, however, a certificate or a trophy is not the only valid seal of approval – this was a pitfall that I fell into.

My problem came when recognition became the only motivation. Anyone who has ever attended a Courier pitch meeting knows that it often starts with a roundtable, icebreaker question. They can range from trivial and light-hearted queries, to more serious discussions on heavier topics. Some time ago, we had a question that was about our goals for the year. My answer then, was that I’d like to work towards getting nods at CUP’s annual JHM awards.

I ultimately did succeed, getting a nomination in 2017. But what was lost during that chase for glory was a level of dedication towards stories that really mattered. At the end of the day, we exist to write, report on and analyze stories that hold value to the members of the Capilano University community. Awards are cool and all, but if we can’t get the recognition from the very audience we deliver content to, then what are we doing really?

We are in the midst of the entertainment industry’s annual awards season, where the best performers and singers are honoured for their excellence in their respective craft. We can get so enamoured with becoming the “best” that we often forget the value of simply “having mattered.” There will never be any empirical proof that Get Out was the best film of 2017, nor will there be any solid ground to back claims that Awaken, My Love! was the best album, but I know damn well both of those projects mattered a whole lot more than most of their contemporaries.

Becoming the best is certainly impressive and commendable, but “having mattered” is an important nuance that we tend to overlook. Just having a semblance of significance in the eyes of some is enough. Sometimes it’s more than enough.

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