NEW YORK—Reflecting on a life and career in which he has so far not received any prestigious journalism awards, hardworking reporter Peter Chaykin announced this week that he has already gained the most meaningful and glorious prize possible: the undying respect, adoration, and esteem of both his family and his community at large.
“Whether I’m shedding light on the struggles of war-torn Africans, or taking time out of my busy workweek to hold my wife and children and tell them I love them, the greatest reward I can imagine is already right here, in my heart,” said Chaykin, who cares little for fancy honors so long as the work he does is good, and his family, friends, and neighbors are happy and safe.
“People often say to me, ‘Gosh, Peter, you should really be given some sort of major award for what you do,’ and I just shrug and tell them that, while such an award would be a wonderful thing for my career and the livelihood of my family, I’m already blessed enough as it is. This is what I really value.”
Chaykin—who works in a cutting-edge, round-the-clock newsroom filled with dozens of men and women devoted equally to their craft and to the well-being of those they care about—said that while some journalists at other newspapers might do or say anything to win major journalism awards, he’s glad that he and his colleagues are committed only to serving the reading public.
The truth-seeking reporter confirmed he was also glad that, even though he spends more than 120 hours a week reporting the news diligently, fairly, and with total accuracy and acute sensitivity, he somehow always manages to fill all of his remaining waking hours bonding with his children, attending to the needs of his wife, and helping his community become a better place to live.
“After my parents died when I was only 5 and I was raised by my grandmother in abject poverty, I decided I wanted to be a journalist so I could reveal the inequalities in our society and show how some people in this country are handed everything, even as many good, hardworking people get nothing,” said Chaykin, who has been shot multiple times while reporting on stories across the globe. “Even during my harrowing battle with cancer in ’03, which I barely survived, I stayed committed to that goal, while also giving equal time and energy to my loved ones.”
“And so I don’t need some big award to validate any of that, because the satisfaction of knowing I am a good person, one who is a pillar of fatherhood and civic beneficence, is really all I need,” Chaykin continued. “Not all I deserve, perhaps, but all I need.”
As he walked with his wife and children through the community garden and youth center he helped found with his own hard-earned money, Chaykin at no point expressed anger over the fact that the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel won an extremely important journalism award in 2011 for a rather emotionally manipulative series of articles on a sick 4-year-old boy, or that the New York Times somehow won two of those same awards this year, as if it needed any more of them. Instead, Peter Chaykin simply smiled.
He smiled, knowing that such awards weren’t important to him, and that, if the world was in any way just and fair, the newspaper he worked for would surely receive at least one of these prestigious prizes someday.
Peter Chaykin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.