columnist, the writer of an essay appearing regularly in a newspaper or periodical, usually under a constant heading. Although originally humorous, the column in many cases has supplanted the editorial for authoritative opinions on world problems. Usually independent of the policy of the publication, the columnist is allowed to criticize political and social institutions as well as persons. Well-known American columnists have included Finley Peter Dunne, Heywood Broun, Ernie Pyle, F. P. Adams (F. P. A.), Drew Pearson, Dorothy Thompson, Arthur Krock, Westbrook Pegler, Walter Lippmann, James Reston, Joseph and Stewart Alsop, Russell Baker, Mary McGrory, William F. Buckley, Jr., Jimmy Breslin, William Safire, Tom Wicker, Ellen Goodman, Murray Kempton, and Art Buchwald. Noted newspaper columnists have included gossip columnists Walter Winchell, Louella Parsons, Liz Smith, and "Suzy"; advice columnists Ann Landers and Abigail van Buren; economic columnist Sylvia Porter; etiquette columnist "Miss Manners" (Judith Martin); and sports columnists Lou Cannon and Red Smith.
See S. G. Riley, ed., Biographical Dictionary of American Newspaper Columnists (1995) and S. G. Riley, The American Newspaper Columnist (1998).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.