Awards season brings NINA community together

Dan Campana

by Dan Campana, NINA President

Any way you talk about the last 19 months – personally and professionally – the word “challenge” likely pops up at some point.
At the same time, words such as adapt, overcome and persevere are also fitting when considering how in the world we’ve collectively endured so much uncertainty while searching for the long-sought comfort of normalcy.
Approaching its 60th year, NINA has been a constant in the lives of regional journalists for decades, with the annual awards banquet serving as something of a reunion for members. That was certainly my first impression years back when NINA gathered to honor its own over lunch at the Holmes Student Center.
Much has changed, no doubt, but NINA continues to make recognition of member excellence a priority every year, and this year will be no different – even if it is once again in a virtual format.
Yes, the NINA community will come together virtually to celebrate award winners and more on Oct. 28. Watch your inbox and NINA’s social media for more information on how to register for this free event.
I’m encouraging every single one of you to log on, even if just for a few minutes, to show your support to NINA. Why so direct with that plea? Well, simply put, NINA hasn’t been immune to challenges recently. The most pressing of which is NINA’s identity and value to members. NINA has a long, rich history, but it’s clear the organization needs an awakening that is focused less on the past and looks more to the future.
It does start with people like me. I entered the year driven by the idea of promoting and building the NINA community. I quickly realized the organization had to take care of itself before it could truly deliver things our members need or want. I challenged the board to assess what they could give to NINA among their many responsibilities and obligations. Although we thought big initially, we moved to shore up NINA’s basics to re-establish some organizational footing and perspective.
That brings me back to Oct. 28. This one night is the moment in 2021 for the NINA community to rally together to celebrate the outstanding journalists within our ranks and, as importantly, take a first step toward the future.
A pre-event networking conversation provides an open floor for attendees to talk shop, meet others and, ultimately, discuss how NINA can best serve its members. A scheduled panel puts the future in a full spotlight as young journalists step forward to remind the old guard how different things are in 2021.
The working journalists in my circle don’t lack passion for their job, but they are tired, and morale is a day-to-day concern. You probably know colleagues in the same situation – or you yourself are in that spot – which is why something as simple as NINA’s virtual awards celebration might be the pit stop needed for a quick recharge.
Without knowing the winners, I can confidently say the stories, photos, page designs, headlines and everything else that takes home a prize this year serve as reminders that excellence in local journalism continues despite the constant challenges to its execution.
If giving you a place to re-energize among your peers for one night is NINA’s biggest success this year, then I’ll call that progress. It will signify a foundation exists within the NINA community that we can all build upon together.
Register and tell a friend to be there on Oct. 28 for NINA’s most important night of the year.