Sunday, October 7, 2007

George Will: America's Most Widely Read Columnist

Editor and Publisher reports:

George Will's column runs in more newspapers than any writer in the nation, according to a new study by a liberal media watchdog group that concludes conservative voices such as his dominate editorial pages.

Will's syndicated column runs at least once a month in 368 newspapers with more than 26 million in total circulation, said the Media Matters for America. The organization surveyed 96 percent of the nation's 1,430 English-language daily newspapers.

"He reaches half of the newspaper readers in America," said Paul Waldman, the study's author. "He has a huge megaphone, probably bigger than anybody else in America". . . .

Will, 66, distributes two columns each week to newspapers through the Washington Post Writers Group and writes every other week for Newsweek, a unit of the Washington Post Co. He's been a columnist since 1974, when newspapers began searching for conservative voices after the Nixon administration complained about a liberal bias. . . .

Alan Shearer, editorial director and general manager of the group that syndicates Will, said he thinks the column is popular because it contains original reporting and is not just opinion. Will can also be unpredictable, and predictability is the death of columnists, he said. . . .

The five most popular columnists include another conservative, Kathleen Parker, and two liberals, Ellen Goodman and Leonard Pitts Jr. David Broder of the Washington Post, who is third, isn't assigned an ideology by Media Matters.

The top 10 is rounded out by Cal Thomas, Charles Krauthammer and three from the New York Times: Thomas L. Friedman, Maureen Dowd and David Brooks.

Start catching up on Will's archive here.