In the lobby of our complex at One News Plaza, high above the Illinois River, a gigantic brass bell once hung from the wall to remind visitors to James S. Copley‘s principle to uphold great journalism by “ringing” a bell to inform and educate the public.
This credo was best represented in a yearly competition among the Copley papers, from the large San Diego Union-Tribune to the small Ohio dailies. Each submits a very select number of articles, photographs and designs to be judged, and the winners are awarded very nice monetary prizes. Even a mid-sized paper like the Journal Star doesn’t always win an award in each category every year. It’s a really great incentive, a rarity among newspaper chains.
One of mine actually won. A photograph of a couple in the twilight of their lives, dying together.
But now we’re no longer a Copley paper, and the suits back in San Diego have no interest in getting their bell back. The Journal Star has put it up for auction to any employee wishing to take it home.
Bidding is currently at $100, ending Friday. What better prize is there than a 300-pound brass bell?