Journalistic competitions, often held by corporations or media associations, including the Press Council, are effective means to promote quality journalistic works but can also be used to draw public attention to a particular issue. As with other competitions, this type of event usually provides various awards and prizes as a form of appreciation for the winners, and also to draw participants. The appreciation can vary from cash prizes, scholarships, goods, to full accommodation to visit the organizer’s premise. Truly Okto Purba, from Medan in North Sumatra, is among those journalists who are always keen to take on the challenge of journalistic competitions. Truly has already managed to pocket top awards from more than 50 competitions since 2008.

“Of course I am motivated to win the competition and the prize, but another strong motivation is the desire to compare my own capabilities with those of other journalists, especially those from the capital,” said Truly who works for the Tribun
Network. Besides that, he also gets invaluable experiences from being able to visit a number of interesting destinations and meet with other fellow journalists from other regions. He believes that journalistic competition can really become a means to produce quality journalistic works but only if they are run professionally and are supported by qualified panels of juries. “A number of corporations and state-owned enterprises are routinely holding
highly credible journalistic competitions. The substantial prizes are, of course, a big draw. But a number of competitions had problems because the organizers were not consistent with their own rules of the game. There are also some suspicions of favoritism and if they are like that, I am usually reluctant to take part in their next competitions,” Truly said.

The quality of the organizers of journalistic competitions has also come under the attention of media watchdogs as such events do indeed stand the chance of incurring the skepticism of journalists. Designing a quality journalistic competition which is not only aimed at self-promoting the organizers poses a serious challenge, but if they succeed in doing so, their reputation would automatically take a boost. There are a number of steps that corporations and organizations could take to produce a quality journalistic competition. They include involving credible juries from outside their organizations, providing the opportunity for journalists to quote statements from experts in their work, providing the journalists with capacity-building programs and fellowships to boost their capacity