Every year The Daily Herald, where I worked until being fired in August 2003, has a readers poll to determine the “Best of Utah County.” There are categories for Best Mexican Restaurant, Best Movie Theater, Best Dentist, and so forth.
There are media awards, too: Best Local Print Journalist, Best Radio Personality (none of whom are in Utah County, but rather in Salt Lake City), best TV Anchor (ditto), etc.
In 2001, I won the prizes for Best Local Journalist AND Worst Local Journalist, presumably from different voters. (My columns accepting these awards are here.) I don’t recall what happened in 2002 or 2003, and the poll wasn’t conducted in 2004. But now, in 2005, the results of the latest Daily Herald readers poll are in, and guess what: Once again I have been named Best Local Print Journalist!
Yes, despite neither living nor working in Utah County, nor indeed even in the print medium (except for occasional pieces in Salt Lake City Weekly), I am apparently the Best Local Print Journalist. The results were announced in a special section that went out with the paper on Feb. 24. I can imagine my former boss’ head exploding as he realizes the guy he fired got more votes than all the people who still work there.
Here is the Letter to the Editor that I wrote accepting the award:
I am writing to officially accept the recent honor of being voted “Best Local Print Journalist” by the Daily Herald readers.
Despite neither living in Utah County nor working for a newspaper there, and not having done so since August 2003, the readers have spoken, and I respect the Herald for acknowledging that. Surely it was difficult to accept that the writer you had fired had received more votes than the ones who still work there.
Still, I was disappointed not to see my picture accompanying the announcement, as the runners-up’s pictures were. Does the Herald no longer have photos of me on file? Was there a purging, perhaps a ritual one, after I was terminated?
It is curious that I should win this award. Perhaps the Herald readers simply have not noticed that nothing with my name on it has appeared in the paper for 18 months. Or perhaps the award was part of an organized effort to protest the Herald’s dismissal of me. If it is the latter, I am honored. If it is the former, I am disturbed.
Anyway, I humbly accept the honor. And to the writers whom the Herald has not fired, and who still came in behind me in the voting, I assure you: There is no shame in being out-voted by a man who doesn’t even work there anymore. None at all.
Eric D. Snider
Salt Lake City