National Columnists Day

April 18 is a day set aside to honor columnists. The National Society of Newspaper Columnists chose this day because Pulitzer Prize winner Ernie Pyle died on April 18, 1945. He was a well-known newspaperman in World War II, dying while covering the war in the East. The holiday highlights both the dangers faced by columnists, but also their importance. Though this started out as a day for those writing for newspapers, it now covers YouTube, bloggers, and vloggers – just about anyone who posts on any kind of media. As I read somewhere, all you need to be a columnist is access to media, and opinions.

Columnists come in various categories. Right now, probably those most in the spotlight are political columnists. Whether you are liberal, conservative, or middle of the road, you can find someone who sees the world as you do and writes about if regularly. Of course, it’s also good to read those you don’t necessarily agree with to get a more rounded view.

Second for me are those who write on religious issues. You can find the Christian viewpoint – both fundamentalist and progressive – the Jewish or Muslim viewpoint and the thoughts of those not so fond of religion, such as the secular humanist page on Facebook. All bring unique viewpoints to my day.

One of the most famous columnists of all times is Dear Abby, who gives advice about people’s problems. Originally written by Pauline Phillips, her daughter has now taken over the reins.

We also have those who write in genres, such as science fiction or mystery, and those who even write about specific shows on television. There are columnists who write about sports, about finance and business, about food and wine, about traveling or life in particular countries. Chances are there is at least one columnist you follow. So give a thought for them today and all the work that goes into producing regularly scheduled short opinion pieces.

Quotes about and by columnists

As a columnist, I realize that whatever amount of corruption I expose, half my readers will block it out, although they may get a frisson of joy in the process.–Margaret Carlson

Don’t commit to being a columnist unless you’re willing to do it right. Report your behind off, so you have something original and useful to say. Say it in a way that will interest someone other than you, your family and your sources.–Allan Sloan

The best way to get thrown out of the columnists’ club is to be uncertain about anything whatsoever on this earth.–Eric Sevareid

I was a kid who sometimes got in trouble because I couldn’t keep my mouth shut, which turned out to be an advantage when I became an opinion columnist.–Anna Quindlen

It makes me cry to think that I’m a nationally syndicated personal finance columnist for one of the world’s best newspapers and my core advice comes from my black grandmother who was a nurse’s aide with just a high school education.–Michelle Singletary

I think blogging and the ability to instantaneously respond to news items has changed the way we approach all media. We’re seeing people talking back to columnists… I read almost all the media I do read online, and plenty of other people do, too.–Rachel Kramer Bussel

The wonderful thing about being a New York Times columnist is that it’s like a Supreme Court appointment – they’re stuck with you for a long time.–William Safire

When the political columnists say ‘Every thinking man’ they mean themselves, and when candidates appeal to ‘Every intelligent voter’ they mean everybody who is going to vote for them–Franklin P. Adams

Every year, hundreds of thousands of people try their hand at this demanding profession (humor columnist). After a few months, almost all of them have given up and gone back to the ninth grade.–Dave Barry

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