The SAGE Key Concepts series provide students with accessible and authoritative knowledge of the essential topics in a variety of disciplines. Cross-referenced throughout, the format encourages critical evaluation through understanding. Written by experienced and respected academics, the books are indispensable study aids and guides to comprehension. Key Concepts in Journalism offers a systematic and accessible introduction to the terms, processes, and effects of journalism;a combination of practical considerations with theoretical issues; and further reading suggestions. The authors bring an enormous range of experience in newspaper and broadcast journalism, at national and regional level, as well as their teaching expertise. This book will be essential reading for students in journalism, and an invaluable reference tool for their professional careers.



‘Great columnists make the difference great sauces make’, claims Bernard Shrimsley (2003: 23) in reference to those writers who assume personalities, sometimes fictitious, to opine to an audience to whom they appear familiar and friendly (Silvester, 1997: xi). The column, sometimes categorized as ‘personal journalism’, is a natural development and refinement of the traditional essay and belongs to the age of mass newspaper consumption. Columns, which tend to respond to contemporary events and shared experiences, usually appear regularly in the same publication (ibid.). Both broadsheets and tabloids are addicted to columnists (Shrimsley, 2003: 25).

The role of the columnist has been varied and may change, according to one historian, ‘from teacher or entertainer to the passive onlooker who records the pleasantries of everyday life’ (Silvester, ...

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