A vestige of prestige
By Caring Times editor Geoff Hodgson
When I first started out as a journalist, the daily paper I worked for had a document called a “style guide” which I practically memorised.
I recall that the style guide admonished us junior hacks never to use the word ‘prestigious’ in association with ‘award’ or ‘awards’, the reason being that awards, of their very nature, confer prestige and so to call them prestigious is merely redundant, akin to describing ice as frozen or a fatal accident as tragic (the paper I worked for was a little more high-minded than some of the tabloids around today).
The style guide was right of course; when one thinks of some major accolades, awards and trophies – the Nobel Prize, the Pulitzer, the Ashes, an Olympic gold medal or even the Ryder Cup – no one refers to these as ‘prestigious’, there is no need to, it is self-evident.
So I am always suspicious of any awards which oversell themselves as being ‘prestigious’ – to my mind, the use of the adjective paradoxically devalues that which it is describing. I am even more suspicious of any organisation which makes an award contingent on the recipient paying a fee – this is no more than ‘cash for honours’, albeit on a small scale. Mind you, sometimes the scale of these scams is not quite so small; one so-called award doing the rounds of care sector businesses at the moment asks prospective winners for as much as £985. My wife and I recently spent a bit less than that on a short break in St Malo and I think we got much better value from that than we would from the dubious kudos conferred by a dodgy award sold to me by an equally dodgy awarding body.
Then again, I am very proud of my degree in astrophysics from the University of Bogota – very reasonably priced.
- The CT Blog is written in a personal capacity – comments and opinions expressed are not necessarily endorsed or supported by Caring Times.