Friday, October 28, 2005

Reality Writing

With all the recent reality TV show subject matter out there, from hairdressers, to clothing designers, to lawyers, to Martha Stewart and Donald Trump wannabe apprentices, the area of journalism has yet to be explored. To date, there have still been no reality TV titles such as:

My Big Fat Obnoxious Editor
Plagiarism Island
or...
Who Wants To Date An Agriculture Reporter?

However, in the newspaper business, these days it's a whole different (don't you smell this pun coming? Yeah...you do)... story.

The St. Paul-based Pioneer Press has launched a second version of its "Average Joe Columnist" contest, a 16-player, tournament-style competition that pits wannabe writers -- and their opinions on the NFL and the Minnesota Vikings -- against each other in the paper each week.

The winner will be given a chance to analyze a Vikings home game in December - on site and on deadline, to be printed in that Monday's editions along with all the staff-produced copy. Hoping to have enough for 16 quality finalists, the paper received more than 300 entries last year for the contest's first edition. Everyone from social workers, to military men, students, lawyers, financial advisers, and teachers—all sent in their prose for a chance to play. (Pioneer Press employees and professional journalists were ineligible.) A first-round entry by Hanna Loberg , a senior at the University of Minnesota will be featured in this Sunday's paper.

Also, to preserve authenticity, submissions are not edited for spelling, grammar or style. Any blemishes in those areas mean big trouble, as do factual errors or the ultimate sin: sending the article in late. (No doubt, the Simon Cowell-esque judge on the panel will have lots to say about that.)

But in any event, good luck to all these journalism hopefuls. Hey, who knows what journalism paths this might actually lead to—in the future?

Anyway, that about does it for me here this week. So enjoy whatever it is you'll be doing this weekend, and as always, let's all try to make it meaningful as well as fun. Peace.

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