At the start of last year, Katy Balls was assigned to the political beat for The Spectator. With the snap general election, she had a baptism of fire – and, before too long, a regular column in the national press (the i newspaper). This morning, she was one of the six journalists shortlisted as Political Commentator of the Year in the Press Awards, the Oscars of the UK media, alongside Stephen Bush of the i and New Statesman, John Harris of the Guardian, Dan Hodges of the Mail on Sunday, Marina Hyde of the Guardian and Rachel Sylvester of the Times. You can read her entry here.
The Spectator’s political team – James Forsyth, Isabel Hardman and Katy – is as strong as that of any UK publication. James was nominated for this award last year; the year before, Isabel was named Political Journalist of the Year by the Political Studies Association. Their work goes way beyond the weekly magazine, the daily analysis here on Coffee House. Katy and Isabel write a daily political news email summary (the Evening Blend: sign up here) and also release a daily politics podcast, a feat not attempted by any newspaper.
I always knew that Katy’s flair, her contacts, her love of a joke and nose for a story would make her a brilliant political writer. But to make such a shortlist, in such a timeframe, is something that has seldom, if ever, been seen before. Congratulations, Katy.