Jonathan Landay, an enterprising Washington journo who can handle his axe as well as wield a laptop on deadline, gets his licks down by telling all and sundry about the battle of the bands, or "Journopalooza".
Everyone knows reporters are a competitive breed. There's an apocryphal story about Steve Dunleavy, formerly of the New York Post, getting his tires slashed by a rival trying to beat him to a story. The tire-slasher? Dunleavy's own father.
Trouble is, we don't have many ways to settle who's the best. Sure, the profession doesn't suffer from a lack of awards. There's the Polk, the Hillman, the NMA , the almighty Pulitzer. But that's precisely the problem--much as with college football, the proliferation of awards does not anoint a single undisputed champion. So we've decided to figure this out following a long-held tradition of the Streets. With a battle.
On January 9, prepare for an all-out musical assault at the National Press Club. Four of D.C.'s best bands -- composed of journalists from the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, McClatchy Newspapers, the Washington Independent, Bloomberg News, among others -- will try to claim for themselves the title of Best Reporter-Based Washington Rock Group. Who will prevail? The bluesy thump of Nobody's Business? The New Pornographers-esque power pop of Anchorage? The eclectic sounds of Suspicious Package? The spare, dark indie rock of The Surge? Only the first annual JOURNOPALOOZA will determine who wears the crown.
And just as the best journalism is that which serves the public good, JOURNOPALOOZA is a rock festival with a charitable mission. All proceeds will benefit two very worthy causes.
The Committee to Protect Journalists is an advocacy organization that aids our colleagues in their efforts to bring out the truth under the harshest of conditions. Half of the money raised with Journopalooza will go to CPJ's Journalist Assistance Fund, their emergency resource to save journalists who must go into hiding or exile to escape threats; journalists in need of medicine and other material support in prison; and journalists injured after violent attacks. The other half of the proceeds will help fund the National Press Club's efforts to hone the skills of the next generation of newsgatherers with their array of training programs and scholarships.