The Wes Hughes Award was strictly an in-house award that’s held little significance outside the halls of my former workplace. To most people, it’s a nice piece of plexi with my name etched on it.
“Presented to Gina Dvorak… In recognition of extraordinary efforts to advance journalism that embody the spirit and passion of Wesley G. Hughes.”
Nevertheless, the recognition is one I’m pretty proud of as it represents more than just an “atta girl”: It symbolizes a shift in thinking within our organization — a shift I helped bring about, given that the first recipient of the honor was a reporter, and a damn good one. (Not surprising, given the award itself is named after a veteran reporter who had advanced to the editor’s chair years before I even considered becoming a journalist.) It also represented a victory in a battle I (and likely others) have fought at many junctures in personal and professional development: the notion that without a byline, you’re not a journalist.
Needless to say, I’m pretty sure I wasn’t the first person who came to his mind, but at some point, it struck him that what I do, what I create, is just much journalism as it is design — that as a designer, I’m as much a journalist as any reporter or editor.