Times columnist Matthew Parris has been named as the nation’s top comment writer in a Press Gazette poll of leading journalists and the general public.
Parris, who pens a diary piece for The Times each Thursday and an opinion column every Saturday, took the overall honours beating second-placed Guardian and Evening Standard contributor Simon Jenkins to claim the accolade.
Despite claiming second place in the overall poll, Jenkins beat Parris to claim the prize as the leading commentator as voted for by Press Gazette’s panel of journalists.
Jeremy Clarkson, Sunday Times and Sun contributor, was the public’s choice as the nation’s leading commentator and was third in the overall standings.
Parris claimed the overall prize after coming fifth in the public vote and second in the journalist’s vote.
He told Press Gazette: “I’m really delighted about it. I’m particularly pleased because the electorate for this award [includes] my own colleagues so that’s a great honour.”
The poll found that the BBC TV news was overwhelmingly favoured as the public’s preferred source of comment/opinion and analysis.
Press Gazette’s panel of leading journalists voted The Guardian newspaper as its preferred source of comment.
The poll, which was run by iCD research on behalf of Press Gazette, surveyed 1,000 members of the public and a panel of 32 journalists from which a list of 50 leading comment writers was compiled using a points system.
Overall, The Times had ten writers in the top 50 – more than any other publication. The Guardian came second with nine. Both The Guardian and The Times had three comment writers listed in the Top Ten.
The full list of the Top 50 comment writers and a detailed breakdown of the poll can be found in this month’s edition of Press Gazette magazine.
The leading 10 comment writers:
1 Matthew Parris, The Times
2 Simon Jenkins, Evening Standard, The Guardian
3 Jeremy Clarkson, Sunday Times, The Sun
4 Quentin Letts, The Daily Mail
5 Polly Toynbee, The Guardian
6 Richard Littlejohn, The Daily Mail
7 Charlie Brooker, The Guardian
8 Rachel Sylvester, The Times
9 Janice Turner, The Times
10 Rod Liddle, Sunday Times