By: Greg Mitchell
Kicking off the 2004 award season, two well-known New York Times columnists, an up-and-coming blogger and a local writer from Charlotte, N.C., are the winners of The Week magazine’s first Opinion Awards, announced at noon today in New York at a luncheon at the home of Harold Evans.
Thomas L. Friedman was named Columnist the Year and his Times colleague Paul Krugman took the Single-Issue Advocate of the Year prize. Joshua Micah Marshall, who runs talkingpointsmemo.com won the Blogger of the Year title. Tommy Tomlinson of The Charlotte Observer took home the Local Columnist of the Year award.
“There are many admirable awards for good reporting,” Evans wrote in a 20-page booklet about the awards published today, “and insufficient recognition, it seemed to us, of the value of lucid, reasoned, entertaining, even outrageous opinion.”
Friedman was hailed for his on-the-ground reporting and for grappling with issues, “not pursuing an ideological agenda.” In an interview for the awards booklet, William Falk, editor of The Week, asked Friedman if he’d gotten a lot of heat from liberal colleagues for supporting President Bush on the Iraq war. Friedman replied: “Oh, yes. Even from my wife.”
Krugman won his award for making it his mission “to show that most of the billions of dollars in tax savings from President Bush’s tax-cut package would go to the wealthiest Americans.” Krugman told Falk: “I get a bushel of hate mail each week.”
Tomlinson, a former reporter and pop-music writer for the Observer, was hailed for bringing to his local writing “a perspective and a voice that both surprises and instructs.”
Winning blogger Marshall, who also writes for the Washington Monthly, is known for helping to dog Rep. Trent Lott into giving up his Senate Majority Leader spot and with reports on the current presidential campaign.
Evans chaired a judging panel that considered nominations by The Week editors. A separate committee (Jeff Jarvis, Daniel Radosh, Glenn Reynolds) picked the winning blogger.
Finalists in each category were also announced. For columnist of the year: David Brooks, Steve Chapman, Richard Cohen and William Kristol. For advocate: Michelle Malkin, Joel Mowbray, William Safire and Andrew Sullivan. For local columnist: Betty Baye of the Louisville (Ky.) Courier-Journal, Nick Coleman of the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Mark Alan Hughes of the Philadelphia Daily News and John Kelso of the Austin (Texas) American-Statesman. For blogger: Mickey Kaus (kausfiles.com), plus Choire Sicha of gawker.com, Eugene Volokh of volokh.com and the group site windsofchange.net.