The Poynter Institute for Media Studies, a non-profit journalism school and research organization in St. Petersburg will be holding their annual Bowtie Ball in November, an event they bill as “an elegant year-end celebration of the free press and its impact on our lives” that “showcases the most dazzling and lively personalities in journalism.”
Well, we here at Tampa News Force are nothing if not elegant, dazzling and lively, but somehow we’ve never been invited to this gala. We figured that must have been a clerical oversight, for which some office drone underling should be fired. So in the spirit of helping them rectify the situation, we sent them an email on July 4th:
My name is Clark Brooks and I am the Senior Supreme Executive Premium Content Editor for Tampa News Force (https://tampanewsforce.com).
I am inquiring about the possibility of our organization being invited to this year’s gala Bowtie Ball.
While we may not be considered a mainstream media outlet, we do provide an important journalistic function in producing sociopolitical commentary through satire, in the vein of such venerable institutions as The National Lampoon and The Onion, but with a focus primarily directed at the state of Florida and the Tampa Bay Area.
We’re also known for the occasional run-on sentence.
To date, we are the only source for this type of content in the Tampa Bay Area and have been producing material on a daily basis since 2017. Incidentally, we have provided a creative platform for over 60 local writers, artists and performers.
For what it’s worth, and this is absolutely true, we were granted credentials to cover First Lady Jill Biden and Dr. Fauci when they visited Tampa a couple of years ago. We still receive daily briefings from the White House via email and they sent us holiday cards the last two years, signed by the President, the First Lady and their dogs. I’m sure you get them too.
The point is, the White House and Secret Service consider us legitimate and you know those people don’t fool around.
We, at least one of us, would love to attend the Bowtie Ball and would be willing to rent or borrow a tux if necessary. You don’t necessarily have to give us an award but if you want to, that would be awfully nice of you and wouldn’t be declined. We would take turns with it and show it off at local bars, like the Stanley Cup, which could be great exposure for you.
Thank you in advance for your consideration.
Senior Supreme Executive Premium Content Editor, Tampa News Force
Later that morning, we received this reply:
Thank you for contacting Poynter. We received your email. If your email includes an inquiry, we’ll get back to you within two business days.
And that’s it. We’ve received nothing else since then. No “we’ll see you at the party!” No asking if we’d prefer chicken or fish. No “Anderson Cooper will be so excited to meet you!” No follow-up of any kind. I know I sent the email on a holiday and I don’t have a calendar right in front of me but I’m pretty sure it’s been more than two business days.
So that’s how it is then, huh? Okay. We were happy to just be nominated (twice, actually) for a 2023 Creative Loafing Best of the Bay award in the category of Best Newspaper That’s Not Creative Loafing but now we want to win it and win it hard. Let’s give them something to talk about at their snobby soiree.
Please vote for us as early and often as legally allowed! As always, we thank you for your support of media organizations who don’t throw parties for themselves where everybody sits around and sniffs their own farts… without inviting “outsiders”.