From our Late to the Party desk:
A couple of weeks ago the Wall Street Journal’s Speakeasy blog ran this item (via the Missus):
The National Society of Newspaper Columnists has weighed in on the question of what it considers the finest example of its craft. And the short answer? No, Virginia.
In an online poll, the society’s members voted Ernie Pyle’s “The Death of Captain Waskow ” the best column ever published in an American newspaper, placing the 1944 story ahead of Francis Pharcellus Church’s classic 1897 editorial-page proclamation, “Yes, Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus.”
(That Ernie Pyle piece, which the hardworking staff read years ago, is absolutely heart-stopping.)
The 15 finalists included the usual Hall of Famers – Mike Royko, Jimmy Breslin, H.L. Mencken, Murray Kempton, Red Smith – as well as other familiar names: Walter Lippmann, Westbrook Pegler, Molly Ivins, Dave Barry (!).
And then there were the little-knowns: Leonard Pitts, Jr. of the Miami Herald, the Washington Post’s Marjorie Williams, Chris Rose of the New Orleans Times Picayune, the Los Angeles Times’ Steve Lopez.
But nobody from Boston.
No George Frazier. No Bob Ryan. No James Carroll (no relation). No Leigh Montville.