Winner: Jim Shaw
Location: Connect with Shaw on LinkedIn
What's your reaction to winning?
"I'm thrilled!" Shaw said. "I'm pleasantly surprised and very flattered. The best thing about it is I'm connecting with readers. My goal is to make people think and I think people like that approach and the insight I'm giving them. This is gratifying."
What was your favorite column?
Shaw said, "Before the election last year, I wrote a column pushing for medical marijuana to be passed. It was the hardest column I've ever written. I shared my problems with chronic pain, something I've kept private. But I thought it was important for voters to hear from someone going through it. I was expecting a barrage of negativity, but instead I got some really positive feedback."
As a traditional journalist for 30 years, what was it like becoming a columnist?
"It was a rough transition going from three decades of straight journalism where I was trained to keep my opinions to myself," Shaw said. "It took me awhile to find my rhythm and get into a groove. But I bring my journalistic training to the column by first laying out all the facts, then I tell them my opinion based on those facts. You can agree or disagree with me, but you can't dispute the facts."
Second Place: Mike McFeely
Third Place: Rob Port