Dear readers, prepare to withstand some navel gazing about Navel Gazing, the OC Weekly staff news blog: It has won second-place honors from Best of the West, which was founded in 1987 to promote freedom of information and reward journalistic excellence, mainly through its contest for newspapers and newspaper-run websites in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.
2009 Best of the West Journalism Contest judges waded through about 2,000 entries this year, and in the "Blog Writing" category, Navel Gazing finished in second place, behind only the Salt Lake Tribune's Culture Vulture blog among 36 entries.
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Actually, the announcement mistakenly has Navel Gazing being written by the staff of the Orange County Register. Just imagine the Freedom Communications suits in Irvine doing spit takes with their lattes upon thinking Best of the West judge Amanda St. Amand, continuous news editor at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, was writing this love letter about a Reggie blog:
"Wow, this is very topical, very off the news, but a fun, irreverent yet still honest and sound way to report. . . . The take on the Rick Warren as inauguration prayer-man controversy was solid reporting presented in a different context. . . . The entry about the diocese photoshopping out an abusive priest was also strong--of course, having the photos in there MADE the entry--and was a good piece of reporting, too. My only question: Was this a beat by the blog, or was it following something else? Either way, it was a very strong entry. . . . The segregated Halloween trick-or-treating was a great piece of reporting, although a photo or short video clip would also have been sweet. . . . Possibly the strongest blog entry was the corrupt sheriff's trial and his whole courtroom persona. Great scene-setting, great description, great background--and obviously this is stuff that is NOT going to make it in the print edition. This is the best of a blog--cutting edge, timely, topical, and based on good solid reporting."
Your humble poster would also like to recognize some Best of the West winners we have previously worked with, admired or both. Third place in "Blog Writing" was the Crime Blog by Larry Altman of the Torrance Daily Breeze ("Crime blogs can easily get sucked into being nothing but a cops blotter, but this blog does a little of that and much more," writes St. Amand.) In "General Interest Column Writing" category, first place went to Tim Grobaty, the hilarious columnist with the Long Beach Press-Telegram, and second (in a tie) to another funny fellow who formerly wrote must-read sports columns in the San Bernardino Sun, Gregg Patton, now with the Riverside Press-Enterprise.