Our post about the L.A. Press Club awards inspired a few lamentations among winners who were not listed, but no lamentations were as interesting as those of ERSNews.com’s Eric Longabardi, who won a shared 1st place prize along with Suzanne Murch, Melanie Switzer and Raheem Dawson for an E! Entertainment documentary about the paparazzi.
His site also won the top prize for Best Website, Online Only.
The judges said of ERSNews.com: The world needs more investigative reporters, and it’s refreshing to find those who have the patience, focus and fortitude to do the hard work. Too bad they have such a lousy name. (OK, maybe we added that last bit.)
To make amends, we asked Eric to answer a few of our patented stupid questions. In the following Q&A, you’ll learn that not only is Eric a consummate journalist; he’s a consummate journalist whose mother still dresses him.
1. Who was the most obnoxious person at the awards this weekend? I take the 5th! Actually nobody was really obnoxious … the awards moved along at a good brisk pace … Harry Shearer was not funny in my opinion … and I’ve always liked the guy! … way too droll and sedate … his jokes about Tim Russert’s death met with dead silence in the room … (and an occasional boo (I know cause my girlfriend — a non-journo booed!) The best parts: ABC’s Bob Woodruff (humble guy … very appreciative and respectful to Daniel Pearl’s father in accepting the award for Courage/Integrity in Journalism …. also Steve Lopez … very cutting, poignant and funny … and his story about going to Sam Zell’s house in Malibu and meeting him after in the LAT’s offices and being told to “Stay the f—- away from my house” very funny and relevant.
Also of note was the Mayor’s lack of attendance, he had been there the past two years opening the awards … I tend to believe our reporting on that scandal this year (which we were a finalist for in another category) had something to do with that!
2. What did you wear? Prada with gold Versace diamond encrusted pumps! (Just kidding.) A tan suit (I think I bought it at Marshall’s, but I don’t remember!) with a powder blue Van Heusen shirt I bought at JC Penney couple hours before the show! And my Italian power tie (bought in Italy by my mom!)
3. What’s it like to win for best online site after just one year in business? Unexpected, but it was great. We are a very small operation, only three people and one that does not even run full-time (we all have day jobs … because so far we’re not making any money … but we will!) The awards are judged by out-of-town journalists, so it was clear that our original, old-school investigative reporting got their attention. As a longtime producer and investigative journalist who cares nothing about professional politics in a profession that is suppose to be a “noble one,” it made me feel good about what we set out to do at ERSNews and what we hope to be able to do more of in the future. We try and let our reporting speak for itself and we don’t play favorites … That’s a completely different approach to some of the more popular opinionated “blogs” in Los Angeles. That’s why we set out not to be a blog, but a online original news reporting site.
4. What are you working on next? Well, we just posted a new story about CBS News’ globe trotting Chief Foreign Correspondent Lara Logan in our ‘Media Madness” section and an interview she never did with an Afghan Warlord. (CBS portrayed it a little differently… to put it mildly.) As an investigative news reporting site we’re always working on new stories … but as the old saying goes, “We’d have to kill ya, if we told ya!”