National Society of Newspaper Columnists Names Winners in 2014 Columnist Contest

Weingarten with Pulitzer (left) and junior high diploma (right).

Saturday night at Howard University, the National Society of Newspaper Columnists convened for its annual awards ceremony, which to our liking, was much more entertaining than anticipated.

Opening the ceremony was the announcement of several gag awards – including the Jeff Kramer Mystic Tie Award (recipient Amanda Bean, a columnist at the News and Tribune, Jeffersonville, Indiana) and the Sitting Duck Award (recipient ‘drones,’ nominated by A Look On The Light Side’s Judy Epstein). The Lifetime Achievement Award was then presented to The Washington Post’s Gene Weingarten by Weingarten’s co-author of I’m with Stupid: One Man. One Woman. 10,000 Years of Misunderstanding Between the Sexes Cleared Right Up Gina Barreca.

Barreca recalled the first time she spoke with the Post man; a call asking if she were an expert in feminism and humor. After responding ‘yes,’ she recalled Weingarten’s response as, “That’s like being an expert in oysters and accordions.”

At the podium, Weingarten poked fun at another award he twice received, a Pulitzer, which in physical form failed in comparison to the plaque he received from NSNC and even his middle school diploma, which he had one hand. His Pulitzer – which he framed himself – “looks like a fucking junior high school diploma,” he said.

The big surprise of the night was WaPo’s Mary C. Curtis winning first place in the category for Online, Blog and Multimedia Columns with over 100,000 Monthly Unique Visitors. Up against the late Chicago Sun-Times movie critic Roger Ebert and LA Weekly’s Gendy Alimurung, it was expected Ebert would take the top spot. Expected even by his widow Chaz Ebert, who when accepting his third place award said, “If I had known it was third place, maybe I wouldn’t have shown up.”

Likely the lowlight of the night was the extremely rude comment by the Philadelphia Daily News’ Stu Bykofsky, who yelled from his corner seat, “Thanks for dressing up for the occasion, pal,” when the NYTimes‘ Dan Zevin went up to receive his first place award award in the category of Humor, Over 50,000 Circulation. Of note, Zevin was wearing khaki pants and a summery button down, definitely not worth being publicly called out for or even worth mentioning. Bykofsky then said to his table where I was sitting, “Oh did I say that out loud? Shit!” Not sure what the deal is there…

Winners in the four remaining categories:

General Interest, Over 50,000 Circulation
Ken Dixon, Connecticut Post, Bridgeport

General Interest, Under 50,000 Circulation
Eve Samples, Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers, Florida

Humor, Under 50,000 Circulation
Jerry Zezima, The Advocate, Stamford, Connecticut

Online, Blog and Multimedia Columns, Under 100,000 Monthly Unique Visitors
Darcy Perdu, So Then Stories

Congrats to all!