For the 23rd consecutive year, Neutral Ground News has won the prestigious ‘Schiro Award for Journalism’ at the annual NGN Honor Awards banquet. The banquet was held this past weekend on the Esplanade Avenue neutral ground across from Port-o-Call.
The ‘Schiro Award for Journalism’ is named for former New Orleans Mayor Vic Schiro, who famously said during Hurricane Betsy in 1965, “Don’t believe any unsubstantiated rumors unless you hear them from me.”
“We paid for the award, so… why the hell not?” said editor-in-chief and senior writer Don Kiebels in a long, rambling acceptance speech that touched on journalistic integrity (“What the &%$k is that?” asked Kiebels), statues, space aliens, the emotional well-being of killer whales, Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s sex life, what that smell is, and how to make a decent Manhattan.
Kiebels and fellow NGN writer C. Mortar both won the coveted ‘Journalist Women Want To Have Sex With And Men Want To Be Like’ Award. Kiebels has won this award 23 times in the past.
Kiebels also won the ‘Snappiest Dressed Journalist’ award again, this time after NGN writer Bob Murrell was disqualified due to his ankle bracelet clashing with his tie. No other publication won an award.
“We’re very selective with who gets NGN honors. Their bribes just weren’t up to snuff. This is an awards show for Christ’s sake,” noted Kiebels. “We do have standards.”
According to Kiebels, the team at NGN objectively counts up each and every single entry submitted during public voting and disregards them entirely since “this is our award show, not their’s.” Kiebels said most of the time the public voting doesn’t line up with what his staff wants or who paid the most, so they have to take matters into their own hands.
“People don’t know what they want until you tell them what they want, and this is what they wanted,” said Kiebels.
This year’s awards banquet was not without controversy. In December, staff for Nola.com/Times-Picayune became upset when they were not invited to pay for an award, and more upset when Kiebels said banquet was for ‘real New Orleans journalists.’
The biggest controversy, however, came when several writers from Neutral Ground News, Gambit, and the New Orleans Advocate circulated a petition demanding the organizers withdraw NGN’s invitation to Hoda Kotb to be the master of ceremonies and star of the event’s wet tee-shirt contest. The writers were demanding NGN invite a ‘real journalist,’ such as Mexican weather reporter Yanet Garcia.
While Kiebels commented favorably on Kotb’s journalistic accomplishments and her firm, supple breasts, he refused to say if Kotb attended or if another person was substituted. However, neither Kotb’s name nor Garcia’s appears on the annual list of the persons the NOPD arrested at the banquet for drunk and disorderly conduct and/or public indecency, which Kiebels said attendees at the awards banquet consider being on that list the highest honor.
“It’s something of a tradition. Most don’t remember it, but I assure you it is,” commented Kiebels.
The 24th Annual NGN Awards Banquet is tentatively scheduled next year for April 1st, assuming certain attendees win their appeals, get time off for good behavior, or pay enough and in time for their award.
FULL AWARDS LIST
Schiro Award for Journalism: Neutral Ground News
Best of The Best of New Orleans Media: Neutral Ground News
Snappiest Dressed Journalist: Don Kiebels, Neutral Ground News
Journalist Women Want To Have Sex With And Men Want To Be Like: Don Kiebels, Neutral Ground News and C-Mortar, Neutral Ground News
Journalist Who Works Best When Drunk: C-Mortar, Neutral Ground News
Top Publication Named Neutral Ground News: Neutral Ground News
Usually Smells the Nicest: Bob Murrell, Neutral Ground News
Most Attractive Staff: Neutral Ground News
Last F*ckin’ Place: Etienne Flewtefahrter, Neutral Ground News
Top Ass-Kissing Journalist: C-Mortar, Neutral Ground News
Turned Up For Work Despite Having Been Drinking for 3 Days: C-Mortar, Neutral Ground News
Honorary Nickelodeon Guts Award: Marky Mark Twain, Neutral Ground News
Likeliest to Smash Your Kneecaps: Marky Mark Twain, Neutral Ground News
Tightest Pants: Monkey on a Stick, Neutral Ground News
Top Toilet Clogger/Bullshit Artist: Don Kiebels, Neutral Ground News
Best Local Radio Station: Neutral Ground News Radio
Best Local TV Newscast: Neutral Ground News TV
Best Local Radio Host without a Radio Show: Jerry King, Neutral Ground News
Best Local TV Anchor in Love with Himself: Izzy Allgood, Neutral Ground News
Best Local TV Sportscaster Who Talks About The New Orleans Saints and Nothing But The New Orleans Saints: Justin Sider, Neutral Ground News
Best Local TV Weathercaster with a Questionable Name: Neil Bleu, Neutral Ground News
Best Local Investigative Reporter Who Can F*ck Your Life Up: Woody Held, Neutral Ground News