Yay! I won!
I am proud to announce that I’ve won the 2015 Best of Bermuda award for the category ‘columnist/blogger’!
I would like to thank The Bermudian magazine for the award – I’ve been running this blog since 2007ish, and it’s nice to get some recognition! 🙂 Hopefully I’ll be able to keep posting to justify the award going forward!
The award blurb itself goes:
Columnist Jonathan Starling has been sharing his educated opinion on all matters of local issues—including everything from breed-specific legislation to same-sex marriage, cabinet shuffles, the casino gaming act and more—since 2007 when he first set up his blog “Catch a Fire” as an alternative political voice. The social research and policy analyst who ran as an independent candidate in the 2012 general election currently shares his discourses regularly on Bernews. Catch his latest insight at jonnystar.wordpress.com.
I’d like to thank my folks and my partner for their support and encouragement; ‘Limey in Bermuda’ of course deserves a shout-out for helping me set-up the site in the first place, and I think it’s important to give a particular thank you to the media proper, Bernews, the (unfortunately now defunct) Bermuda Sun and the Royal Gazetter. All of these have, at times, given me a platform for opinion columns, as well as feedback and the opportunity to learn from their readers.
Over the years my writing skills have improved (I hope) and they’ll continue to improve with any luck.
Similarly, my understanding of certain technologies/software has improved over time – and this experience has proven to be a constructive and challenging experience so far. Additionally, it’s forced me to learn and research topics that I doubt I’d ever have considered in the past.
To be honest, I don’t think I’d be exaggerating to say that this blog/column-writing experience has profoundly affected my world-view and the certain decisions I’ve made in my life since 2007.
I know a lot of political and social discourse has largely moved away from the blogs and forums and onto Facebook and Twitter. And there’s only a handful of blogs and forums (with various degrees of activity) still clinging on compared to the ‘golden age’ of Bermuda blogging.
Nonetheless, I think blogs still retain certain qualities that the Facebook and Twitter threads miss out on, particularly the ease of finding articles and those conversations. Facebook/Twitter are more like a flowing river, a stream of consciousness – an active ongoing conversation – while the blogs serve more as more detailed and solid writings. Fleeting conversation versus the solidity of writing I suppose.
The two, of course, can be used to complement each other. I do hope we’ll see a few more – and more ideologically diverse – blogs in time. Perhaps we’ll even see a backlash against Facebook/Twitter and a return to more full-on blogging? Who knows?
I’d be remiss to not recognise that there’s been some criticism – on Facebook and Twitter – to this particular category of ‘blogger/columnist’.
I don’t think the criticism is personal against me, against me winning this years award. Rather, the criticism seems to be that there should be two separate categories. Some seem to interpret the combined category as meaning one has to be both a blogger and a columnist in order to win it.
Myself, I took the category as meaning ‘and/or’ and that it was created to expand the pool of possible winners away from just traditional columnists in the media proper, recognising that bloggers also contributed to opinion-forming in the Bermuda context. Not that one had to be a blogger and a columnist to win it, but that one could be a blogger and/or a columnist. I happen to be both, but that doesn’t mean that someone who just blogs or just writes columns couldn’t win it.
Anyway, as the saying goes, one can’t please everyone all the time. There’s always going to be some criticism when it comes to handing out awards, and I’m not taking it personally. Just thought it important to recognise that there is such criticism.