Read at Poynter
Contests can be valuable for quality control and holding journalists to a higher standard. It's helpful to get peer feedback to understand if your work is succeeding at the industry standard.
But for quality control and holding ourselves to a higher standard, it's often helpful to get peer feedback...
Recognition from peers and industry is important, along with serving the audience. It would be disingenuous to say that only the audience matters and industry recognition doesn't matter.
It's also disingenuous to say that only the audience matters and knows and recognition around the industry doesn't matter.