Chuc Mung Nam Moi

Happy Year of the Horse! This is my year! If you're at all familiar with the Chinese calendar, you'll quickly be able to figure out which birthday I'm celebrating this year. Yep, 24!

Has it legit been a MONTH since I last posted? Bad Vicky. 

Let's get caught up.

Still investigating: Despite the best efforts of overly paranoid public information officers who oddly, and despite their job titles, seem to be less interested in the "public" and "information" parts of their titles and much more hyperactive about the "officer" aspect. As in, they really want you to "respect my authoritaaaaa" instead of facilitating the free and open records process that the public is entitled to. That will continue to be a challenge in 2014. Let this be an invitation to all PIO's--let's get a coffee. Let's you and me talk about your goals, my goals, and the public service that is journalism. At the very least, you'll get a free cappucino out of this and perhaps you can also vent and tell me your journalist pet peeves and I will try not to commit said offenses.

Still parenting: Kindergarten is RIGHT around the corner. It's unbelievable. TB tests scheduled, tours completed, vice grip on Emmy not ready to loosen. Seeing the row of backpacks outside the classroom, the little heads bowed over worksheets, the bigger kids on the playground--I am not cool with this, people. There's way too much growing up happening way too quickly. What is the point of having kids if you can't just freeze the cuteness in a time capsule and slow it way down and control everything forever? #Iknowthisiscrazytalk

Suddenly awards mongering: Certain work people who shall remain unnamed have whipped me into an awards entering frenzy. As I've begun to understand, investigative reporters really pride themselves on winning things. Exposing wrongdoing, uncovering corruption, changing lives and laws is what they do, and really, it's more than enough and quite admirable. Two years into full time investigative reporting, I am energized, challenged, and still on a steep learning curve, working on my patience and surveillance and research skills. 2013 brought some amazing opportunities to do meaningful work and work with meaningful people. I am nowhere near feeling like an expert but I am proud enough of the team work that went into our reporting to submit it for consideration in a few national and regional awards contest. By a few I mean 8 million. It felt like most of my weekends and evenings for the first part of January were dedicated to writing cover letters, answering questionnaires, compressing video files, uploading YouTube links, burning DVDs, and collating binders full of articles. Apparently during awards season, some stations and networks actually hire professionals to do this work. I now see why. It is consuming. And stressful! The Good Doctor has had to listen to me ask about the odds of winning every which way. I think he just throws percentages out there to silence me. Can't say I blame him. There's a scale for levels of Annoying Vicky and Awards Vicky is full blown off the charts.

Deep breath. Only a couple more contests to enter and then Zen. I will effort to forget about everything until hopefully someone texts me with good news. That's really the best way to get an awards notification. Not via Outlook or Gmail Calendar reminders, but when your phone dings and someone sends you five "WTF" messages and finally says, "We won!" 

As you can see by the 17 names on each my entries, investigative journalism really takes a team of people and it's rewarding to celebrate together. Plus, a little luck never hurts. As Garvin says, you need good stuff to win, but good stuff doesn't always win. 

Deep exhale. Getting into the groove of 2014. Hope yours is full of health and happiness--the two awards that really matter in the contest of life.

Vicky NguyenBloggity, Holiday, Random