The Darren Rovell award will be given perhaps weekly, bi-weekly, or even semi-weekly. All national sports media and local Chicago media are eligible for the Darren Rovell award. Of course major priority will be given to Chicago sports media candidates. With Darren Rovell being a Northwestern alum, this award has both a local and national theme.
The Darren Rovell award will be given to the media personality who either a.) gives us blatant product placement disguised as journalism or b.) is prodigious in self-promotion. Because we know Darren Rovell loves himself some Darren Rovell.
If you have a candidate for the Darren Rovell award, email firstname.lastname@example.org
WINNER: Indianapolis Star Hoosiers beat writer Terry Hutchens
With the Big Ten Tournament in town, it’s rightful home of Chicago, I figured this week’s Rovell award should go to a prominent Big Ten writer covering one of the league’s marquee programs. Hutchens covers Indiana Hoosiers basketball for the Indy Star. A good portion of the time he covers the team as if he were an extension of the Public Relations Department. Some of his columns have a level of homering that rivals Bill Simmons discussing the Boston Red Sox.
Now I know what you’re saying, being ridiculously biased in favor of the team you cover isn’t one of the two Rovell award qualifications. Well, actually it’s kind of both. Because when a team you cover is doing well it can really help your career. As the team you report on succeeds, there’s more local and national interest, which means there’s a greater demand for coverage. Experts on the team will see increased eyeballs on their work; and they’ll be asked to do more guest spots on radio and television. So I can understand the idea of “cheerleader journalists” to some extent. Everybody wins. But Hutchens very often takes it up a notch.
And since he’s helping hype the IU program so much, Hutchens is helping sell the product of Indiana Hoosiers basketball. Therefore, Hutchens actually met both qualifications for the Rovell trophy. And it's not like IU needs additional hyperbole to begin with. They are by far the most tradition rich program of the Big Ten, a bonafide #1 seed in this year’s NCAA tourney, current league champion and possibly the best team in college basketball. So Hutchens doesn’t have to keep telling us how great they are over and over again.
When the annual Big Ten awards were announced, Hutchens took it up a notch.
You have to see this homer article Hutchens wrote, this is how it begins:
1. What does Crean have to do to win Big Ten coach of the year?
3. How does Zeller not make the five-player all-Big Ten defensive team?
Let’s start with Crean. I thought he should have won the award last year
Who cares how other people voted? You got your own vote, and that’s fine, but why worry about how others cast their ballot. It's not like you're voting in the U.S. Congress or anything.
Why the extreme obsession about individual awards anyway? They're not big news. The fans and sports news consumers do not care at all about these awards. Seriously, they really don't. Only players, coaches and University SIDs care about individual awards; as they should. Winning these honors are very beneficial for them. I don't know if the media really cares about awards (obviously Hutchens truly does), but the smart members of the media should not. Because articles, features, blogs, posts, segments etc. on awards garner as much interest as Notre Dame basketball.
They don't move the needle at all. So why spend time on it? And I'm aware of the irony of giving someone an "award" and then closing the column by saying that no one should care about awards, so don't bother pointing that out.
Past Darren Rovell Award winners
Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net, a Google News site generating millions of visitors. He's an author who also contributes regularly to MSN, Fox Sports , Chicago Now, Walter Football.com and Yardbarker
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