Deadline Hollywood did not enter the Los Angeles Press Club’s so-called National Entertainment Journalism Awards this year. The decision to resign from the LA Press Club’s board and to boycott these awards was mine, made in consultation with my staff, after we participated for the first time last year and were winners or finalists in several categories. In my opinion, the LA Press Club seems more interested in collecting entry fees and selling gala tables to its 5-year-old entertainment awards contest than in rewarding high standards of journalism or conducting a competition with integrity. Tabloid media outlets which engage in ‘checkbook journalism’ are allowed to enter and in fact won NEJ categories last year. Articles which were inaccurate also won categories in 2011 as did articles which repurposed other media outlets’ reporting without credit. Also troubling is that the LA Press Club does not divulge the identities of the NEJ judges. And, from what I can glean, most prior judges possessed no expert knowledge of the specialized entertainment field. Finally, these awards are almost entirely Los Angeles-centric so calling them ‘national’ is a misnomer. I strongly urge the LA Press Club to institute more transparency, integrity, and professionalism into its NEJ awards process in future years. Showbiz coverage deserves better.
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