Allvoices announces American Pundit winners for 2012 contest

Allvoices announces American Pundit winners for 2012 contest

San Francisco : CA : USA | Dec 18, 2012 at 10:08 AM PST
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Allvoices is pleased to announce the prizewinners in The American Pundit political writing contest, which kicked off with the Iowa caucuses on Jan. 3 and ended Nov. 15 after writers had the chance to weigh in on the Nov. 6 election results.

Maryann Tobin of Tampa wins the title of “The American Pundit,” earning the $5,000 grand prize. Finishing in the runner-up spot and earning $1,000 for his strong performance is Herbert Dyer Jr. of Chicago. Rob Lafferty of Eugene, Ore., receives an honorable mention and $250 in prize money.

The contest received more than 11,000 total entries, with 42 semi-monthly winners and eight wildcards selected for the field of 50 finalists. Writers from all over the globe participated, with several international writers joining American writers in the pool of finalists. Readership for all the American Pundit entries combined received more than 9.5 million page views over a 45-week period. In total, Allvoices awarded more than $25,000 in prize money.

American Pundit editor/administrator Darren Richardson (better known to Allvoices readers as Punditty) and four celebrity judges reviewed the work of the top finalists before making their picks. Judges evaluated finalists on a combination of writing strength, originality, adherence to theme and popularity.

Be sure to check out our official press release.

In addition to Punditty, the judges were:

R.B. Brenner: Lecturer in the graduate journalism program at Stanford University

Click on the link to read “Observing Politics Through a Personal Lens,” Brenner’s judging essay.

Brenner worked at The Washington Post as Sunday Editor, Metro Editor and Deputy Universal News Editor. Additionally, he was a key editor in the Post’s coverage of the shootings at Virginia Tech, which won a Pulitzer Prize in 2008.

Brenner began teaching journalism at Stanford University in 2010.

Learn more at

Robert Salladay: Managing Editor, Center for Investigative Reporting

Click on the link to read “Moving the Public,” Salladay’s judging essay.

Salladay has covered California politics and government for more than a decade. Prior to becoming managing editor at the Center for Investigative Reporting’s California Watch, he ran the popular Political Muscle blog at the Los Angeles Times.

Salladay has covered numerous major political events, including the 2000 presidential recount in Florida and the California gubernatorial recall election in 2003. In addition to his work for the L.A. Times, Salladay has also worked for the San Francisco Chronicle and the Oakland Tribune.

Learn more at

Turk Pipkin: Writer, director, and founder of the Nobelity Project

Click on the link to read “A League of Their Own,” Pipkin’s judging essay.

Pipkin is the founder, along with his wife Christy, of The Nobelity Project, an education and action non-profit group that seeks solutions to several pressing global problems. He also directed the film “Nobelity” after interviewing several Nobel laureates on pressing issues of the day and potential solutions to those problems.

Pipkin, an author and comedian, is a strong advocate for the rights of children everywhere. Learn more at

Jay Heinrichs, author and speaker

Click on the link to read “Aristotle’s Rules of Punditry,” Heinrich’s judging essay.

Jay Heinrichs is the author of “Thank You for Arguing: What Aristotle, Lincoln and Homer Simpson Can Teach Us About the Art of Persuasion.”

According to Bloomberg, Heinrichs “brings the art of persuasion to the world’s leading masters of manipulation.” His clients have included Southwest Airlines, Walmart and the Pentagon.

Heinrichs also has extensive experience as a writer, with numerous articles published over the last 30 years. Publication credentials include the New York Times Magazine and Reader’s Digest.

Learn more at

Darren Richardson, aka Punditty, American Pundit managing editor and administrator

Click on the link to read “Presidential horse race produces a strong field of pundits in 2012,” Punditty’s judging essay.

Punditty has been an Allvoices contributor since the 2008 presidential campaign. Before writing and editing for Allvoices, he worked 15-plus years as a copy editor for various daily newspapers in Kentucky, Illinois and California, most recently at the San Francisco Chronicle from 2000 to 2006. He served as a military journalist in the Missouri National Guard from 1984 to 1990.

His interest in politics goes back to his early childhood years in the late 1960s, when his teenage brothers, out of boredom and/or amusement, taught him to imitate the accents of John and Robert Kennedy. He can still talk that way if the situation calls for it; sometimes he talks that way when it doesn't. For what it’s worth, he does a pretty good Bill Clinton imitation, too.


After judges weighed in with their picks, writers were assigned points based on where they finished in the judges’ rankings. First place was worth 3 points, second place was worth 2 points and third place was worth 1 point. The point totals were added together, with four writers receiving points.

Tobin received 13 total points, while Dyer and Lafferty tied with 7 points. TJ Larson was the only other writer to accrue points; he received 3 points. Dyer won the tiebreaker based on the overall popularity of his reports, which included metrics like total page views and social media shares.


Congratulations again to all the winners, and thank you to everyone who participated in this contest! We are happy to announce that we will be continuing The American Pundit next year. Stay tuned and keep writing!

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American Pundit winners
Allvoices announces the 2012 American Pundit winners.
The American Pundit Contest is based in San Francisco, California, United States of America, and is an Anchor on Allvoices.
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