Columnist of the Year – Weekly Papers

Scroll down to meet the nominees for Columnist of the Year – Weekly Papers

Entrants should have a regular by-lined column or blog. The winner will be a journalist with a special style and the ability to provoke debate that may annoy as much as delight.

The Shortlist

Mike Kelly, Sunday Sun

Writing from the heart, Mike delves into issues he really thinks about and believes in.

His contributions this year have included a thoughtful piece on attacks on activists, as he considers the disgraceful treatment of Swedish climate change activist Greta Thunberg.

His second submission on the fantasist Carl Beech was an important analysis of the lessons learned after Beech was found guilty of perverting the course of justice. Mike unpicks the dangers of what happens when politics becomes entwined in matters of justice.

The final piece following Boris Johnson’s election as Prime Minister examines how the PM will cope under the pressure of leadership. And still, Mike’s columns retain relevance and intrigue months after publication.

The judges said:

Good columns. Topical, well written and a varied range of topics.

Hard-hitting look at the big news stories of the week. Well made points and an engaging style. Piece on Carl Beech was particularly good.

Mike Lockley, Birmingham Mail / Sunday Mercury

Mike’s wry look at the issues of the day and the quirks of human nature make his column a must read.

From Love Island to crime on public transport, Mike picks subjects that his readers want to hear about most.

His first column ‘Chuffing Hell’ explores the shocking statistics of violence and offences taking place in Birmingham’s rail network.

Mike’s second column confesses a fascination with the ITV reality show, Love Island, as he tries to explain how he is forced to ‘shed an hour of my life, every night, watching’ the show his family are addicted to.

A light hearted final piece on the ‘rise of the wrINKlies’ delves into the world of tattoo artistry and explores the rise in elderly people getting tattoos.

The judges said:

Topical, well-crafted writing alighting on issues that people are talking about – or will now be talking about.

Very funny and well-constructed.

Peter Grant, Wirral Globe

In his weekly column Granty’s Inferno, Peter provides a topical, relevant and opinionated diary. Aiming each week to inform and entertain, his diary columns demand meticulous research, great quotes from interviews, local and national knowledge.

His submitted columns have humoured what could have occurred if Melvyn Bragg had ambitions of being Prime Minister, or the value of a guiding light to society such as Sir David Attenborough.

In a clever use of medium, Peter explores the role of satire and whether topical programmes are experiencing their downfall. He concludes: “So is Britain in the grip of satire fatigue? Don’t make me laugh”.

Peter’s column brings a regular chance to have some light relief as well as some serious to complement the rest of the paper. The Inferno may have a tongue-in-cheek title but it could always be relied on to fire people up.

The judges said:

Lively range of local issues explored with ingenuity and sympathy.

These columns were short snappy pieces which were easy to read and covered a wide range of topics, issues and subjects that would interest readers. Good local issues and good comment.

Phil Wisdom, Cornish Guardian

Phil believes the job of the local newspaper has never been harder. Not only does it have to compete for both resources and readers’ attention against an ever-expanding range of digital distractions, but it also has to recognise that those readers have a broader perspective than ever before. For better or worse, life is no longer local.

In the past year, the key topics which have inspired and infuriated the readers of the Cornish Guardian have been the same ones dominating the national news agenda. Now it’s all Brexit and climate change, and as a columnist, Phil has had to adjust accordingly as this year he centres what matters to his local audience in his comments on national issues.

In an age of social media, Phil believes a newspaper has not only the opportunity but the duty to deliver diversity and dissent, presenting its readers with information and opinions they might not want to hear in ways they might not necessarily find agreeable.

The judges said:

A welcome addition to a lively opinion page with well researched columns.

Good local newspaper column in a lively considered style.