Non-journalists don't understand how hard it is to be a newspaper columnist. It takes years, sometimes decades, of ink-stained toil in drab newsrooms. One by one, the hacks fall by the wayside. Only a select few have the talent and perseverance to be admitted to the pantheon and allowed the privilege of putting their opinions out in the world.
Or maybe not? According to the American Society of News Editors, the second-best columnist in the entire country is Gordon Keith who, as of 18 months ago, was the house funnyman on an unapologetically sophomoric sports radio show on KTCK-AM 1310 The Ticket, and now is the house funnyman on an unapologetically sophomoric sports radio show on The Ticket and an award-winning columnist for The Dallas Morning News.
The prize Keith narrowly missed out on was the ASNE's Mike Royko Award, named for the famed Chicago columnist, which "recognizes excellence in writing by an individual that expresses a personal point of view." He lost to Kevin Cullen, a Pulitzer Prize-winning Boston Globe reporter.
This proves two things, neither of which are exactly "news." One: Gordon Keith is an excellent columnist, even when he's writing about being pudgy. Two: The American newspaper column -- like the American newspaper industry -- is in a dreadful state.
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Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.