Steve Dyson today on his blog, hosted by HoldtheFrontPage, has a great list of regional journalists who are widely admired for their work as columnists, feature writers and reporters.
The list has been sparked off by a review of a book by Peter Rhodes, the long serving and award winning columnist and feature writer on the Express & Star, Wolverhampton. Rhodes has written For a Shilling a Day, a collection of interviews with war veterans carried out for his paper from 1983 to 2008.
Dyson writes: "Many newspapers have such scribes, often – like Rhodes – with the official title of 'chief features writer', their constant contributions becoming essential reading."
He also mentions the Northern Echo's columnist Mike Amos, who has won stacks of journalism awards and been on the paper 45 years. This week HTFP quoted his editor Peter Barron saying of Amos: "The attraction of Mike is a combination of a unique style of writing coupled with his unparalleled ability to get stories that nobody else gets anywhere near. He is the best off-diary journalist, I would argue, in all my time with newspapers. You don't give him jobs, he just goes out."
Dyson also names: Maureen Messent on the Birmingham Mail; the late Dick Williamson on the Sunday Mercury; and the wonderfully named Barbara Argument on the Teesside Gazette.
He also singles out my old Press Gazette colleague Jean Morgan for praise, describing her as "formidable but so honest and accurate she had a level of respect in the industry that meant no-one at any level ignored her calls or copy".
Quite right, Steve.