It's probably not accurate to call Times-Dispatch columnist Michael Paul Williams an "accidental truth-teller", but the truth is that there was no design that landed him in the seat he inhabits downtown. Which makes the fact that he survived the columnist culling that took place at the TD in recent years – probably a dozen columnists vanished, turning up (seriously) in the pages of Boomer Life magazine, and Mike and political columnist Jeff Schapiro trudged forward.
Now the local troublemaker and ne'er do well has a serious feather in his cap. He's the winner of the 2010 George Mason Award, which is given by the Society of Professional Journalists each year to someone who has made significant and lasting contributions to Virginia journalism.
Williams’ reporting and columns about minority issues in central Virginia have given voice to, and focused attention on, an often-overlooked part of the community, earning him a steady flow of passionate reader response.
“Williams has demonstrated courage in reporting news and publishing his opinions despite death threats and hate mail,” said Brian Eckert, chair of the chapter’s award nomination committee. “His passion for, and dedication to, journalism are undimmed.”
“Williams gives Richmond and all of Virginia a look at itself through the eyes of its minorities and downtrodden. On the eve of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, we believe his work reflects’s principles in a timely and meaningful manner,” Eckert said.
Mike is a smart thinker, and unafraid of speaking and writing with deep honesty and candor. He even gets righteous and indignant at all the right moments. The award is well-deserved.
Go read more about the award, and weigh in with your comments here.