BEST WRITER AT A LOCAL DAILY Minneapolis 2000 - Brian Lambert
"It troubles me to say this, but I'm looking forward to watching television," confessed Pioneer Press media columnist Brian Lambert in a November 1999 column. "These days, I watch because I'm paid to, not because I like it any more than I did before I took this job." Lambert has been watching the Twin Cities radio and TV scene warily for some dozen years, his pieces providing a perspective often missing from the writing of other critics--that of a person with an actual life. (Imagine those hesitant words coming from the lips of TV Guide's Matt Roush or The Washington Post's Tom Shales). Busy with more important matters--raising his family, and avocations such as travel, sports, and film--he doesn't ask the entertainment media for much: Don't underestimate the audience and don't waste our time. That they are usually pitifully incapable of honoring even those simple guidelines is the source of some of Lambert's most biting and hilarious satire. (We recommend going online and pulling up any column written during sweeps months.) Lambert also handles less sexy topics like Arbitron-ratings summaries (one such column served as a springboard for a considered musing on female listening habits in the Cities), FCC regulation changes, and endless station-personnel changes with thoughtfulness and good, clear reportage. Fitting for a writer that can compare Gov. Ventura's Japan entourage to that of Louis XIV, but can't remember the names of the kids in the Partridge Family. His priorities are in the right order.