Best Newspaper Columnist - 2009
As editorial page editor for the Springfield News-Leader, Tony Messenger endorsed Republican Jim Talent for the U.S. Senate. As political columnist for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Messenger went after GOP governor Matt Blunt for egregiously flouting the Sunshine Law. What's not to love about a columnist who doesn't toe any party line? Messenger jumped ship at the News-Leader in early 2008 and proceeded to spiff up the P-D's coverage of state politics. He ferreted out info on government workers doing campaign work on state time, uncovered criminal sexual-assault charges filed against a state representative and exposed how millions of dollars in tax subsidies were funneled to a politically connected real estate developer. A columnist Messenger is, yes. But a fact-finder, to boot, making his work equal parts illuminating and disturbing — just the way we like it.