Some of these people I’ve complimented before, but here goes …
Best all-around writer: Braden Goyette. A Culture editor next year please.
Best news writer: Lendon Ebbels. Ebbels’ stories had interesting details that got beyond the two-toned story, and opened up every subject, made you want to learn more about it. But there were a lot of close seconds here. Max Halperin had the tight-as-drum news style down, but it seemed to lose a little life. Jennifer Markowitz wrote well, approaching stories midway between the styles of Ebbels and Halperin.
Best culture writer: Claire Caldwell. Her writing got almost totally outside the jargon bubble and she had the best control of tone … Maybe a few of the other writers if they had racked up more stories would have come close to Caldwell but she was leagues better than the ones who wrote a lot.
Best illustrations: a lot of the stuff in The Daily Art Supplement was good, but truth is I’m only really familiar with Dave Pullmer’s stuff … He was consistently good all year, probably the asset of The Daily that The Tribune could have got into a bidding war over to attract more attention to their paper, if stuff like that happened. (And as I understand it, the stipend for editors at The Daily is MUCH higher than for The Tribune editors who only get $250 per year or semester, I can’t remember which. [UPDATE here.])
Best compendium writer: Duncan Stockwell Links. Although his first piece of the year was really unimpressive, everything afterward went on to show talent. The Beatles revisionism was creative, if it didn’t have much laughs and he started to get outright funny with the “pennies” piece. I’m sorry I didn’t find an opportunity to compliment him between then and now but serious things intervened like the Rachel-Corrie-and-Anne-Frank-are-soul-sisters cover piece, with its related errors.
Best column: I guess it was Floh Herra-Vega’s, which was always well-written and honest … It didn’t try to “spin” anything. Although I can’t recall agreeing with her on what she picked to write about, you never got the sense she was shutting down conversation.
Best html code: that would have to be Peter Hurley, the web editor. But seriously the new website showed major possibilities as soon as it was up, and will probably improve the quality of The Daily for the next 5 years, when they have another referendum.