News & Opinion

Winners of The Comment Awards 2015 announced

The Observer’s Andrew Rawnsley wins the Chair's Choice award, while other winners include commentators from The Sun, The Times, London Evening Standard, The Daily Telegraph and the Guardian. 

Following a record intake of nominations from readers, writers and editors all over the country, the winners of The Comment Awards 2015 were revealed at a ceremony this morning.

Now in its seventh year, the annual ceremony recognises and celebrates the UK's best print and online commentators and their editors. The awards are the first of their kind in the UK, run by Editorial Intelligence, the knowledge networking business.

The Observer's Andrew Rawnsley won the Chair's Choice award, with Sir Anthony Seldon, chair of the judges, saying: "I have selected somebody who has been at the very top of their profession since joining the Guardian exactly 30 years ago. His career is remarkable in combining three distinct strands: comment pieces in newspapers, writing and presenting on both radio and television, and authoring a number of books. He combines excellent insight with an originality and power of expression which makes him sans pareil in his field. His writing in the last year has given us a unique insight across Whitehall and Westminster and particularly into the turbulent final months of Ed Miliband and the still more turbulent initial months of Jeremy Corbyn. There is no more worthy winner for the illumination and pleasure that he has given."

A new Special Award to celebrate overall excellence in the world of comment and opinion, given by Editorial Intelligence's daily comment bulletin eiDigest, was awarded to The Sun's Leader column, "The Sun Says".

The Comment Pages of the Year award went to the Financial Times, while this year's event saw five new categories awarded, including: Young Commentariat of the Year, which went to Bintu Sannoh (The Observer); Society and Diversity Commentator of the Year, awarded to Jenni Russell (The Times); Technology and Digital Commentator of the Year, which went to Cory Doctorow (the Guardian); and Comment Piece of the Year, awarded to David Aaronovitch (The Times).

"From one of the strongest shortlists the awards has ever had, these winners stood out for our judges – a remarkable feat" said Seldon. "We're delighted to celebrate their work here and this sector of the media as a whole – never has our tradition of comment journalism been more important".

He continued: "Britain should be very proud of its comment. The reaction to the attacks in Paris earlier in November have shown us yet again the benefits of belonging to a country where free-thinking writers can offer a glittering spectrum of opinion, which has shown us how to interpret and move on from the atrocities. The quality and variety of the comment has shaped, and far outshone, the expressions of opinions by parliamentarians. No stronger case can be made for the importance of comment than in the quality and profundity of the writing over the last few days."

Announcing new categories for 2016, Julia Hobsbawm OBE, founder of Editorial Intelligence and The Comment Awards, added: "We will continue to celebrate all that is vibrant, eclectic and exciting about UK comment in 2016. In addition to this year's fresh categories we will be announcing a handful more, including 'Contrarian Commentator of the Year' for the most controversial well-written voice in a column."

 The Comment Awards 2015 winners in full:

Chair's Choice
Andrew Rawnsley, The Observer

eiDigest Special Award
'The Sun Says', The Sun

Arts, Culture and Entertainment Commentator of the Year
Hugo Rifkind, The Times

Business Commentator of the Year
(sponsored by Tata Consultancy Services)
Gillian Tett, Financial Times

Business Ethics Commentator of the Year
(sponsored by IESE Business School)
Michael Skapinker, Financial Times

Columnist of the Year
(sponsored by Ipsos MORI)
Simon Jenkins, London Evening Standard

Comment Pages of the Year
(sponsored by Vodafone)
Financial Times

Comment Piece of the Year
(sponsored by eiDigest) 
David Aaronovitch, The Times

Commentariat of the Year
(sponsored by John Lewis Partnership)
Janan Ganesh, Financial Times

Economics Commentator of the Year
(sponsored by Barclays)
Allister Heath, The Daily Telegraph

Foreign Commentator of the Year
(gifted to the IRC – International Rescue Committee)

Gary Younge, The Guardian

Independent Blogger of the Year
Matthew Scott, Barrister Blogger

Media Commentator of the Year
Sathnam Sanghera, The Times

Online Comment Site of the Year
(sponsored by Virgin Media)
Channel 4 News http://blogs.channel4.com/news/

Political Commentator of the Year
(sponsored by Weber Shandwick)
Janan Ganesh, Financial Times

Science Commentator of the Year
(sponsored by Wellcome Trust)
Philip Ball, Prospect Magazine

Society and Diversity Commentator of the Year
(sponsored by Lloyd’s Banking Group) 
Jenni Russell, The Times

Technology and Digital Commentator of the Year 
Cory Doctorow, The Guardian

Young Commentariat of the Year
(sponsored by the Taylor Bennett Foundation) 
Bintu Sannoh, The Observer

This year's judges, chaired by Sir Anthony Seldon, Vice Chancellor of Buckingham University, hail from an eclectic range of industries and background with a 50/50 gender split, and include: broadcaster and author, Anita Anand; director of entertainment and comedy at ITV, Elaine Bedell; managing partner for Talent UK & Ireland at EY, Liz Bingham OBE; chair in Public Understanding of the Humanities at the University of London’s School of Advanced Study’s, Sarah Churchwell; director and producer Menhaj Huda; president of YouGov, Peter Kellner; editor of Management Today, Matthew Gwyther; founder of MDR, Chris Preddie OBE; journalist and author, Rachel Shabi; and global business leader at Google, James Rosenthal.

by Jessie Sampson 24/11/15

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