Peer Pressure Creates a Better Product: 2013 SVG/NACDA College Sports Media Awards

by Tom Buffolano, Chairman, SVG College Sports Summit

Awards season is here, and we’re gearing up for the 2013 SVG/NACDA College Sports Media Awards (CSMA) entry process to begin.

CSMAGenericLogoUnlike many of the other awards competitions, especially in sports, we recruit judges who themselves produce video for college sports. We don’t have an Academy nor a Hollywood Foreign Press. Nor do we recruit sportswriters or journalists to judge. Maybe that’s not such a unique idea, but when it comes to handing out the awards, it seems that receiving a CSMA trophy and knowing that your work has been judged to be the best in a category by a jury of your peers is more satisfying. That’s what I’ve heard not just from the winners, but from the nominees and honorable mention recipients as well.

You see, many of these producers, especially those on college campuses, never had a forum to present or view what their peers were creating on almost a daily basis. What we’ve seen is that each year the bar gets set higher, the criteria for receiving a nomination is more critical, and the margin between who wins and who doesn’t gets smaller. That’s both a blessing and a curse, but what has occurred over the past four years of competition is that the entire industry has learned from one another. They have become technically more proficient, driven to produce a more compelling story, and this has resulted in a much more competitive CSMA.

While the CSMAs has four Divisions and four Categories within each division – which may not seem like that many – I think the strength of the CSMAs is that it rewards excellence in the basics of producing: storytelling, framing, directing, and editing. Although we’ve been asked to consider splitting broad categories into smaller, more distinct ones, I’m not sure that would enhance the competition. I find that those who don’t win don’t complain, they just become more determined to improve their entries and overall body of work the next year. For those at universities, many of whom use student producers, it becomes a teaching moment and way to inspire them to become better at their craft.

On the whole, the college sports production industry is inclusive, it shares ideas, and its criticism is constructive. With such a diverse athletic landscape where lines of competition are well-defined between NCAA Divisions, the CSMAs provide a level playing field where Indiana (PA) and Ithaca (NY) knows it can compete against Baylor and South Carolina, peer vs. peer.

The call for entries for the 2013 CSMAs is March 1.  We’re also looking for qualified judges to join our esteemed panel. Contact me at tom@sportsvideo.org if you are interested.

The 2013 SVG College Sports Media Awards ceremony is Wednesday, May 29 at the Hyatt Regency in Atlanta in conjunction with the 2013 SVG College Sports Summit.