Journalism Establishment Hospitality on Parade

They misspelled liquor store…

Oddly this is an award I am familiar with, as opposed to the Edgars
The Society of American Business Editorsand Writers has an annual awards event and this year, I won an award in the investigative category. It was for my coverage of the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association, which most crime and music readers will rightly think “what the fuck is that?”
Also known as TWIA, it’s a government-backed insurance agency that provides coverage to property owners in 14 counties most likely to be devastated by a tropical storm. I got into it last year with this agency when it tried to cover up some personnel issues. That began a long trail of reporting in which I found that a state lawmaker had been paid off in a legal battle involving the agency, the agency had tried to shine on fraud in its ranks and it was handing out money and bonuses like it was a private corporation. I’ll admit I took it personally when the agency refused my open records requests, or when it wanted to  prevent me from listening in to one of its board meetings. Personal feelings should sit on the sidelines when you do something like this, and they did for the most part. Still…
The award is the kind that I can say “I always wanted one of those.” Getting an award from the journalism establishment mixes me a weird cocktail of professional satisfaction and the glee of getting away with something.
Or as I told my pal Chris Vogal, who is an extraordinary reporter at L.A. Weekly, “It feels like I robbed a liquor store and got away with it.”
But I am thankful that both the folks who run the Edgars and the SABEW read my stuff and dug it enough to give it some props. Journalists usually operate in a vacuum and we never know who’s reading. Once in a while it’s nice to get a stroke. But then it’s just back to the work, the only thing that really matters.




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