My Two Cents: We Want Our Emmy Award

Let’s count the awards for television on television. On a saner note, better not. There are too many to list. In the U.S. alone, there are 30 organizations that bestow over 600 awards per year. An Internet search came up with over 1.6 million results for different types of worldwide television awards. Every genre and job description -- from acting to zoophobia documentaries, is covered or seems to be covered, because, you see, when the letter “p” is reached, the award category quickly skips to “q” with quiz show.

For “p” I mean press, as in “the most valuable and interesting TV trade press article.” Indeed, why not recognize the press professionals on the other side of the TV industry’s barricade with an award? There are awards for technical achievement, set design, costumes and even cameramen. There are those “above the line” and others “below the line,” so the trade press could be those “on the side-line.”
After all, could the industry really prosper without the TV trade press? Some would argue yes, but many would definitely say: “not as we know it.”
First of all, the industry would not be an industry without its own trades. Second, the industry would not be able to communicate within itself, be properly informed and be recognized among its peers. Third, the industry would not be so rich: financially, talent wise, innovatively and creatively.

Every sector associated with the TV industry owes some form of gratitude to the TV trade press. After all, where would all the TV markets and trade associations that bestow awards left and right be without the TV trade press?

Technology could eventually eliminate the TV cameraman or the lighting technician, but it will not dispose of the trades: the industry’s vanity factor is, among other elements, too much on the way.

So, after all that the trade press has done and is doing for the industry, why, for example, doesn’t the International Council of ATAS and NATAS get the ball rolling by awarding an Emmy for TV trade reporting excellence?

The process would be simple, taking one or all of the following elements into consideration:

1) Influence on the international TV industry at large.
2) Affect on the largest number of people.
3) Demonstration of courage and integrity.

Each publication would submit up to three articles with a $20 fee for each, to cover expenses. A pre-selection committee would pick the more worthy to be subsequently sent to all International Council members with a voting ballot to be mailed back.

The award for the “Best TV Trade Article” would be given in New York, during the traditional International Emmy ceremony in late November, which, I’m sure, would add to the overall excitement.

Such an award would certainly contribute to more quality reporting and would set a trend for many other industries to follow.

The press in general doesn’t lack awards -- the Pulitzer Prize, the Mesa Press Awards, the various newspaper awards, the Payne Awards, for ethics in journalism, and two National Magazine Awards: one from Canada, the other from the American Society of Magazine Editors -- but they are mostly limited to the consumer side. The health industry has its Kaiser Media Fellows and the California Teachers Association has its John Swett Awards for Media Excellence.

Only the British Press Awards has something almost tantamount to a TV trade press award, with its “Show Business Reporter of the Year” award. In addition, the scientific community can count on press reports that make some of its members Nobel prize winners. Now, if this proposal is accepted, the television trade magazine hacks could finally have an award to call their own.

Dom Serafini

“And I’d like to thank all of you who believed in me!”