By: Dave Astor
Compete in our writing contest, said the National Society of Newspaper Columnists (NSNC) in an open letter to Dave Barry.
When asked for his response, Barry told E&P Online Monday: “In fact, I have entered the contest every year since 1987, but always using assumed names. Not to toot my own horn, but I have won first place every single year; in some years, I also finished second and third.”
The messsage to Barry — whose Miami Herald column is syndicated to 500-plus newspapers by Tribune Media Services — appeared in the NSNC newsletter. Here’s part of what newsletter editor Robert Haught wrote the humorist: “You have had a remarkable career, having won a Pulitzer and many other prizes. … However, there is one prestigious award that is missing from your collection. You have never won the NSNC column writing contest. To the best of our recollection, you have never even entered the contest.
“So I have to ask you: what’s the matter, Dave? Are you afraid of a little competition? Each year we have some very funny columnists vying for a top cash award of $300. It could be yours.
“The prize money might not be an incentive to a person of your vast wealth. But the thrill of being presented your certificate by our president next June in New Orleans should move you to accept this challenge: TAKE THE DARE! ENTER THE 2004 NSNC CONTEST!”