John Avlon, an award-winning member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, today published his list of the best columns of 2012 in his running column in The Daily Beast.
The dozen include a piece by Dave Barry, the 2013 winner of NSNC’s Ernie Pyle Lifetime Achievement Award (and Avlon slipped in a second link from the legendary wit); Gail Collins, NSNC’s 2012 lifetime achievement winner; Carl Hiaasen, the 2010 lifetime achievement winner; Steve Lopez, similarly honored in 2004; and Lindor Reynolds, a longtime NSNC member and former officer for the group.
Avlon explains at the top that he “crowdsourced” to find suggestions of top essays “to cut the inevitable subjectivity.” To help, he asked NSNC’s Director of Online Media Ben Pollock, who posted a call-out on the society’s Facebook page, Twitter account and Yahoo discussion group. The responders faced a hard deadline and had only about 10 hours to send in nominations for the informal survey; there was no judging outside of Avlon’s discretion.
Reynolds’ piece previously was listed in columnists.com’s compilation of member commentaries on the Newtown, Conn., school mass shooting. A 6-year-old former resident of Winnipeg — Reynolds, a Canadian, writes for its newspaper — was among those slain, and she traveled to Connecticut to report a two-parter on the girl’s funeral.
Avlon, writes for several publications and appears frequently on CNN. He won first place in the 2012 NSNC Column Contest in the category of Online, Blog and Multimedia columns on large websites, and second place in that category in 2011. The society’s well-respected contest has been conducted annually for over a quarter-century. (Reynolds herself has been a contest winner twice, in 2006 and 1998.)
Avlon is one of three editors of the 2011 collection Deadline Artists: America’s Greatest Newspaper Columns and the trio’s sequel Deadline Artists: Scandals, Tragedies and Triumphs, which was published this past fall. The books’ website is www.deadlineartists.com. Books ordered through NSNC’s Amazon link will earn the society a portion of the sale.