HARTFORD, Conn. — The National Society of Newspaper Columnists on Sunday gave its annual Sitting Duck Award to “privacy,” but, thanks to the National Security Agency and government data mining, America almost certainly already knows that.
The award goes each year to a person or subject that provides columnists with an easy topic to write about on a slow news day. A slow news day is a concept best remembered by pre-Internet, old-time columnists who had to keep up with only one government scandal at a time.
“We chose privacy,” said NSNC President Eric Heyl of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, “because who are we to disagree with a federal government that has targeted the privacy not only of individuals through the Internal Revenue Service but also of journalists through the Justice Department’s open-pit data-mining?”
The NSNC held its annual conference June 27-30 in Hartford, once home to Mark Twain, about whom nothing was private in his long career. Indeed, reports of Twain’s privacy were almost always greatly exaggerated. No such exaggeration about journalists or other Americans is needed today.
Previous sitting ducks can be found on this list.
Also during Sunday’s annual membership meeting, Jerry Zezima of the The Stamford (Conn.) Advocate was elected the organization’s vice president to complete the last half of a two-year term.
Elected to two-year terms were Wayne Chan of California, secretary, Jim Casto of West Virginia, treasurer; Dave Astor of New Jersey, archivist; Rose Valenta of Pennsylvania, membership chair; and new to the board, Bill Ervolino of The Record of northern New Jersey, contest chair.