Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: December 16, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412972048 | Print ISBN: 9780761929574 | Online ISBN: 9781412972048| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Columns and Columnists
Sam G. Riley
Columnists have an enviable job. Journalists given a column are usually chosen for their writing skill, discerning mind, and ability to interest readers. Beyond that, one might say personality is the main characteristic that distinguishes the work of the columnist from that of the reporter and the editorial writer. The reporter's job is to provide readers with an accurate description of news events, written as objectively as possible while keeping the writer and his or her personal opinions out of the story. The editorialist must offer readers the newspaper's positions (not necessarily his or her own) on various public issues, also refraining from writing himself or herself into the editorial. The columnist, on the other hand, filters public issues through his or her own personality and worldview and onto the printed page. A columnist is less directly tied to the news cycle, can take sides, and is free to employ ...