Results of News Sentinel columnist survey

Sam Venable, the News Sentinel’s Local page humorist and observer of human affairs, was No. 1 in every group in the paper’s recent columnist survey.

Sam Venable

Sam Venable

More than 350 readers sent in paper ballots, and 800-plus voted online. Respondents’s birthdays ranged from the 1980s to 1913.

The survey looked at frequency of readership and asked readers to pick favorite columnists in 10 categories. Venable was the top Local page columnist, and he got more total “favorite” votes than anyone else.

Leslie Snow, columnist on the front of the weekly Your News section, received the second largest number of “favorite” votes overall, and she also ranked second among all women readers. Third overall was The Grub Scout. The restaurant critic’s column in the Go Knoxville section came in second among younger male readers.

Here were the columnists getting the most “favorite” votes in each category:

Advice — Amy Dickinson, followed closely by Judith Martin, who was tops among older women, and Billy Graham, who led among older men.
Business — David Moon led among every group.
Daily Features — Sherri Gardner-Howell was tops overall and among women. Dave Ramsey led among men.
Go Knoxville — Grub Scout was the choice of all.
Local — Venob rules.
Op-Ed Page — David Hunter was tops overall and among the oldest female group. Thomas Sowell finished second, but highest among men. Ina Hughs was a close third but led among baby boomer women.
Perspective — Somehow yours truly came out ahead, helped especially by the paper’s oldest readers. Don Ferguson, however, led among baby boomer females, and Tom Humphrey was highest among baby boomer males.
Sports — John Adams led in all groups except baby boomer males, who more often picked Mike Strange as their favorite.
Sunday Life — Rheta Grimsley Johnson was the winner across the board.
Your News — The newspaper’s Snow is loved by all groups, unlike the white stuff Mother Nature served up this past week.

The News Sentinel is not planning any wholesale changes based on the results, but the information will be useful to section editors.