After scanning the front page headlines of the Omaha paper every morning, I flipped to Ann Landers’ column. This was the daily routine I enjoyed during my adolescence. In fact, after reading Landers’ words of wisdom, I made sure to check out “Hints from Heloise” on those days her column appeared–which was not every day. Only after the columnists were read, did I finally turn to the comics pages.
Since today is National Columnists’ Day, we can salute the newspaper columnists we like to read. In fact, the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, themselves, have expanded the scope of the celebration to bloggers and serial story writers on the Web and every medium. So, if you fit this description, hurray for you. If you like to read such writings, kudos to you, too.
Columnists and bloggers are still my main source of daily reading material because they provide a lot of good content. Ever since my youthful days of reading Ann Landers, newspaper columns and blogs have stimulated my mind with information about the daily business of living.
Among some of my favorite writers have been the old school editorialists and commentators. Herb Caen comes immediately to mind. His home paper for about 60 years was the San Francisco Chronicle as he kept his finger on the pulse of the City by the Bay.
For a humorous take on life, I used to read Pulitzer Prize-winning Dave Barry. When I couldn’t keep up with his column, one of his books filled in.
The one contemporary columnist I regularly read and hear is Paul Krugman. His pragmatic, very intelligent observations are well worth taking in. His main field is economics but has expanded his writing to include political issues. His voice is an important one in today’s fast-changing world.
One of the most famous, if not popular columnists steered his commentary writing skills towards the broadcast media. Andy Rooney was most widely known for his commentary slot at the end of CBS’s “60 Minutes”. Millions of viewers looked forward to Rooney’s curmudgeonly commentaries each Sunday evening until late 2011 when he finally retired. The nation mourned his death a month later.
Among the past “must read” columnists was Molly Ivins. The Texas transplant was a lady who used her sense of humor to call out injustice wherever she found it. Her powerful writing inspired a generation of activists. Her intellect is greatly missed in today’s expanding world of corruption and unfairness.
When a history of columnists is compiled, it will have to include the illustrious Mark Twain. What more can I say about this legend that hasn’t already been said? It’s hard to find any more prolific commentator than Twain. He remains my all-time favorite.
With these giants of journalism and others in mind, I hope you have an educational and happy National Columnists’ Day, today.
The Blue Jay of Happiness cites writer and journalist George Packer. “The difference between a reporter, a newspaper columnist, a paid speaker, a television personality, a radio talk show host, a blogger, a movie producer, a publicist, and a political strategist, is growing less–and not more–distinct.”