NSNC Contest Finalists Announced

It’s that time we’ve been awaiting all year: The results of the NSNC column-writing contest have been determined.

The judges have pored over the entries (they may have poured over them, too, when the judging went late into the night, but if nothing spilled on the entries, we don’t ask about such things and they don’t tell) and picked first, second and third places in each of the six categories, as well as honorable mentions in four. (6/3/11 Correction: A version of this article the last few days incorrectly listed two additional honorable mentions under Category D; Pat Detmer is the sole h.m. We apologize for any confusion.)

So without further ado, it can be revealed that the winners are (drum roll) … not going to be announced until June 25 at the conference in Detroit.

Sorry, but that’s tradition. It adds some drama and excitement to the Saturday night dinner. Just like the Oscars: Even fewer people would watch the show if they already knew who won.

Also like the Oscars, though, we can pique the public’s interest (and give entrants who were not chosen time to put on their “good sport” faces) by naming the finalists, the top three in each group. They are, in alphabetical order, not necessarily order of finish:

Category A: General interest, newspapers over 50,000 circulation: Mike Argento, York (PA) Daily Record; Joel Brinkley, Tribune Media Services; Mike Kelly, The Record, Bergen County, NJ. Honorable mention goes to Helen Ubinas, Hartford (CT) Courant.

Category B: General interest, newspapers under 50,000 circulation: Trisha Blanchet, The Sun, Lowell, MA; Jennifer Graham, Mansfield (OH) News Journal; Ken Tingley, The Post-Star, Glenn Falls, NY. Honorable mention to Mary Robbins Phelan, The Howard County (MD) Times, and Lynn Rebuck, Lititz (PA) Record Express.

Category C: Humor, newspapers over 50,000 circulation: Bill Ervolino, The Record, Bergen County, NJ; Eric Heyl, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review; Mark Woods, The Florida Times-Union, Jacksonville. Honorable mention to Anne Palumbo, Brighton-Pittsford (NY) Post.

Category D: Humor, newspapers under 50,000 circulation: John Philipp, Sausalito (CA) Marinscope; Steve Symanovich, San Francisco Business Times; Dawn Weber, Buckeye Lake (OH) Beacon. Honorable mention to Pat Detmer, Newcastle (WA) News.

Category E: Online, Blog and Multimedia over 100,000 unique monthly visitors: John Avlon, The Daily Beast; Mary Curtis, Politics Daily; Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times.

Category F: Online, Blog and Multimedia under 100,000 unique monthly visitors: Tracy Beckerman, Self-Syndicated; Jeff Brown, Master of None; Russell Frank, StateCollege.com.

Fortunately, we received no entries from columnists at newspapers of precisely 50,000 circulation or online institutions of precisely 100,000 unique monthly visitors, which would have caused a meltdown at Contest Central.

Those are your finalists; congratulations to all. It will be announced in Detroit who got which place, and posted here immediately thereafter.

To be in that grand banquet room at the Detroit’s renovated, historic Westin Book Cadillac for the announcement (and the conference preceding it):

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