Previous Winners 2012 | The Comment Awards

2012 Winners


Commentariat of the Year sponsored by Jaguar Land Rover

WINNER: David Aaronovitch, The Times

Former president of the National Union of Students, BBC Programme Editor and Executive, David joined The Independent in 1995. At the beginning of 2003, he switched to The Guardian and the Observer, and in June 2005 to The Times where he is a columnist. He is the author of two books ‘Paddling to Jerusalem’, which won the Madoc prize for travel journalism, and ‘Voodoo Histories – a modern history of conspiracy theories’.

Best Comment Pages sponsored by the John Lewis Partnership

WINNER: The Times


Best Online Comment Site sponsored by Digital Animal

WINNER: Coffee House, The Spectator

Coffee House is The Spectator’s team blog on the politics of Westminster and beyond. It owes its name and inspiration to Joseph Addison and Richard Steele’s first version of The Spectator, created in 1711, which emerged from the rambunctious, highly political and debatefilled coffee houses of the time. Edited until June 2012 by Peter Hoskin, the core team of bloggers now includes Fraser Nelson, James Forsyth, Isabel Hardman and David Blackburn.

Columnist of the Year sponsored by Editorial Intelligence’s ei Digest

WINNER: Janet Street-Porter, The Independent on Sunday

Janet Street-Porter writes a column for The Independent on Sunday and the Daily Mail on Mondays. She appears regularly on television and is one of the Loose Women panelists on IT V1. She has worked in print since 1969 and television since 1975. She edited The Independent on Sunday for two years and has won a BAFTA for originality and the Prix Italia for arts programming. A former President of the Ramblers Association, she is a Trustee of the Science Museum.

Business Commentator sponsored by Taylor Bennett

WINNER: Michael Skapinker, Financial Times

Michael Skapinker is an Assistant Editor and columnist at the Financial Times and Editor of FT Special Reports. He was born in South Africa and, after working as a freelancer in Greece, began his career at the FT in 1986. He has held many positions at the FT, including Editor of FT Weekend.

Cultural Commentator sponsored by Bishopsgate Institute

WINNER: Christopher Hitchens, Vanity Fair

Christopher Hitchens joined Vanity Fair as a Contributing Editor in November 1992 and wrote a regular column for the magazine until his death on December 15, 2011. In May 2011, he won the National Magazine Award for Columns and Commentary for a series of columns on his illness. His dispatches on the topic were recently published in ‘Mortality’, his thirteenth book. Hitchens won two other National Magazine Awards for Columns and Commentary, in 2007 and 2012.

Economics Commentator sponsored by ICAP

WINNER: Roger Bootle, The Daily Telegraph

Roger Bootle is Managing Director of Capital Economics. He is also an Honorary Fellow of the Institute of Actuaries and a Specialist Adviser to the House of Commons Treasury Committee. Roger is a regular columnist for The Daily Telegraph and has also written several books including his new book, ‘The Trouble with Markets’ and the widely acclaimed ‘Money for Nothing’. In July, Roger and his team from Capital Economics won the Wolfson Prize, the second-biggest prize in economics after the Nobel.

Foreign Commentator sponsored by Independent Diplomat

WINNER: Marie Colvin, The Sunday Times

Marie Colvin, The Sunday Times Correspondent who was killed by a Syrian shell while reporting from Homs on February 22, was described by John Witherow, her editor, as the “greatest war correspondent of her generation”. Colvin, 56, who covered wars for more than a quarter of a century, and had lost an eye on the front line of Sri Lanka’s civil conflict in 2001, made her name for her intrepid forays into some of the most dangerous regions of the world. During her career, her coverage ranged over the conflicts in Chechnya, Kosovo, Sri Lanka, and more recently the uprisings of the Arab Spring in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya. She also covered the Iran- Iraq War, the 1991 Gulf War, and conflict in Sierra Leone and East Timor.

Media Commentator sponsored by Vodafone

WINNER: Hugo Rifkind, The Times

Hugo Rifkind is a Leader Writer for The Times, and has been contributing to the newspaper since 2000. Initially a features writer, he was the diary “People” columnist from 2005 until 2008. Alongside leaders, he writes a notebook on Fridays, the spoof diary My Week on Saturdays, and occasional features, interviews and online rants about mobile phones. He also writes a fortnightly column for The Spectator and makes semi-regular appearances on various shows on Radio 4.

Independent Blogger

WINNER: Mic Wright,

Born in Norfolk, Mic somehow avoided webbed feet. The first in his family to attend university, he graduated from Homerton College, Cambridge and began his career at the thrillingnamed Pensions World magazine. After section editor roles at Stuff and Q, he went freelance in 2009. He writes technology opinion for the Telegraph and is the co-founder of The Mater Consultancy, an editorial and business strategy firm. He tweets about politics and telly as @brokenbottleboy and looks about 12.

Mainstream Media Blogger sponsored by Wardour

WINNER: Andrew Sparrow, The Guardian

Andrew Sparrow is a Guardian political journalist and a pioneer of political live blogging. He won political journalist of the year in the British Press Awards for his live blog covering the 2010 general election and now he writes a daily blog, Politics Live. Previously he worked as a lobby correspondent for The Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail. He is also author of one book, ‘Obscure Scribblers: A History of Parliamentary Journalism’.

Political Commentator

WINNER: Tim Montgomerie, The Times

Tim Montgomerie is Editor of and is now a fortnightly columnist for The Times. He has been steeped in Conservative politics ever since he left the Bank of England in 1998. Before he formed ConservativeHome in 2005 he helped found the Centre for Social Justice as the culmination of his work with Iain Duncan Smith and his belief in a more compassionate, one nation conservatism.

Sketch Commentator

WINNER: Ann Treneman, The Times

Ann Treneman has been the Sketchwriter for The Times since 2003. Previously she was a feature writer on the paper. She also has worked for The Independent and Observer. In addition, she has published two books of sketches.

Sports and Olympics Commentator

WINNER: Simon Barnes, The Times

Simon Barnes is the multi award-winning Chief Sports Writer at The Times. He also writes a Saturday column on wildlife. His 15 books include three novels and the best-selling ‘How To Be A Bad Birdwatcher’. His latest, ‘The Meaning of Sport’, was published last autumn. He lives in Suffolk with his family and five horses . He has written six books on sport, three on wildlife and conservation, and three novels.

Twitter Politician

WINNER: Tom Watson MP, @tom_watson

Tom Watson has been MP for West Bromwich East since 2001. He is the former Minister for Digital Engagement and a member of the Culture Media and Sport Select Committee. He is also Parliament’s first blogger, a prolific user of Twitter and was recently named one of the Evening Standard’s “influential in technology”. Tom has received widespread recognition for his role in exposing the phone hacking scandal at News International in 2011.

Twitter Public Personality sponsored by EVRYTHNG and decided by public vote

WINNER: Laurie Penny, @PennyRed

Laurie Penny is a columnist for the New Statesman and The Independent and a Staff Writer for One in Four magazine, the UK’s first mental health lifestyle publication. She freelances for The Guardian, The Times, and Huffington Post. She writes the popular left-wing feminist blog Penny Red. ‘Meat Market’ (Zero Books) and ‘Penny Red: Notes From The New Age Of Dissent’ (Pluto Press) were published in 2011, and she is currently writing a book for Bloomsbury, to be published in 2013.

Chair’s Choice chosen by Harvey Goldsmith CBE

WINNER: AA Gill, The Sunday Times

AA (Adrian Anthony) Gill was born in Edinburgh but has lived as a refugee in London for most of his life. His cover is so deep now that few would be able to tell he wasn’t a native. He works as a journalist and is a Critic and Features Writer for The Sunday Times, a Contributing Editor for Vanity Fair, Esquire and Australian Gourmet Traveller. He has been nominated for more awards than he has won, and written a number of books – some of which are funny and some of which are not.


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