A jolly good night was had by all

There is life in the computer industry, and a good chunk of it was gathered in the Sheraton Hotel ballroom in Auckland on July 25. I say a good chunk but excellent is the adjective that was being bandied about on the night.

There is life in the computer industry, and a good chunk of it was gathered in the Sheraton Hotel ballroom in Auckland on July 25. I say a good chunk but excellent is the adjective that was being bandied about on the night.

The occasion was the Computerworld Excellence Awards, for which only the least observant reader could have missed the build-up over the past couple of months. In case that person is you, we’ve been running stories since the start of June listing and profiling the finalists in the 14 award categories. On the 25th, the award winners were named.

For all of us associated with Computerworld, the event is a great annual energiser. It helps charge up the batteries for the weekly task of producing a newspaper which, it has to be said, can sometimes be a grind. What relieves the grind is contact with our audience and the awards night provides ample opportunity for that.

But believe it or not that’s not the principal reason for staging the awards. We do so to throw positive light on the organisations and individuals who work in IT in New Zealand. IT is an increasingly vital part of the country’s infrastructure but the men and women who build the systems and keep them ticking over are a largely invisible community. The awards are an occasion to drag you into the spotlight and let you enjoy the applause of your peers for a job well done.

Cynics might doubt the value of such awards; after all, they seem to be dished out to one group or another on at least a weekly basis. But from my association with two lots of them – the Qantas Media Awards and the IT variety – I have no doubt that they’re a healthy phenomenon. Perhaps journalists and IT practitioners are alike in that we attract a fair amount of negative attention to ourselves: the media by their apparent fixation with bad news, and IT for the occasional colossal project failure. Our respective awards help us feel good about ourselves again (if only until the next morning’s hangover).

So congratulations to all the winners; thanks for trying and try again next year, to all those who didn’t get an award this time around. And we hope to see you all again in 2004.

Doesburg is Computerworld’s editor. Send letters for publication to Computerworld Letters.

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