Columnists Tap Ebert for Lifetime Achievement Award

Roger Ebert, 2011DETROIT, Mich., Feb. 7, 2011 – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times movie columnist, author, television host and blogger, has been selected to receive the 2011 Ernie Pyle Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Society of Newspaper Columnists.

“As a small boy I read my aunt’s book of Ernie Pyle’s reporting, which makes his award even more meaningful,” Ebert said.

Ebert has been a columnist and reviewer with the Sun-Times since 1967, and his reviews are syndicated in more than 200 newspapers through Universal Press Syndicate. In 1975, he became the first film critic ever honored with a Pulitzer Prize. He gained even wider acclaim in 1975 with his reviews on the television show Sneak Previews with the late Gene Siskel of the Chicago Tribune. The show continued as At the Movies and Siskel and Ebert, then Ebert and Roeper after Siskel’s death. Last month, Ebert successfully premiered his new television series on public television, Ebert Presents At The Movies.

In addition to his newspaper work, books and television show, Ebert posts online and at his blog at suntimes.com, which won the 2010 award for best online blog-column from the National Society of Newspaper Columnists. Meanwhile, the Online Film Critics Society named his website (rogerebert.com) the best online movie review site. Ebert has further embraced technology since complications from thyroid cancer surgery robbed him of his voice, substituting a computer-generated voice for his own.

“Roger Ebert exemplified ‘multimedia’ before that was even a word,” said NSNC President Ben Pollock in announcing the award. “As his personal and media circumstances developed, the advent of ‘Roger Ebert’s Journal’ has made him a blogger’s blogger. His is a personal journalism, and while the Sun-Times may call him a critic not a columnist, I think Roger Ebert fits right in the pantheon of Ernie Pyle Lifetime Achievement recipients.”

One Lifetime Achievement Award is granted each year by the 300-member National Society of Newspaper Columnists, the leading national organization for columnists appearing in print and online. Recent recipients of the award include Carl Hiaasen of The Miami Herald, Ellen Goodman of The Boston Globe, Clarence Page of the Chicago Tribune and the late Art Buchwald of The Washington Post. The society’s 2011 national conference will take place in Detroit June 24-26, with the Lifetime Achievement Award being presented Saturday, June 25, along with awards for the 2011 national column-writing contest.

The 2011 conference chairman is Brian J. O’Connor, personal finance editor and columnist for The Detroit News.

The National Society of Newspaper Columnists was founded in 1977 and exists to promote professionalism and camaraderie among newspaper columnists. Membership is open to general interest, humor, op-ed, online, or other staff and freelance columnists. Academics and student columnists also are eligible to join. The annual conference and column-writing contest are the society’s primary events. The group also publishes a monthly newsletter, maintains a website and advocates for columnists and free-press issues. New members are welcome, and information on the conference and membership can be found at columnists.com.

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