Press Gazette's Comment Top 50

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.

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 were:

  • 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

Press Gazette’s research also found that despite the growth of the ‘blogosphere’, more Britons like to read comment in print than in any other medium.

Press Gazette asked 1,000 members of the public where they like to read or view comment, analysis and opinion journalism.

Some 38.1 per cent said in print; 28.4 per cent said online, 18.1 per cent said TV and 15.4 per cent said they do not read comment and analysis/opinion journalism.

When iCD asked the weighted sample of 1,000 members of the public to name the broadcast outlet, print publication or website they most rate when it comes to comment, analysis and opinion – the BBC dominated the top ten.

The public’s favourites were:

  • 1. BBC TV news
  • 2. BBC news online
  • 3. BBC radio
  • 4. The Daily Mail
  • 5. ITV News
  • 6. Sky News
  • 7. The Sun
  • 8. The Guardian
  • 9. The Times
  • 10. The Daily Telegraph

For more on this survey read the February edition of Press Gazette.

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