by Abigail Van Buren

2019 Dear Abby College Columnist Scholarship Contest

An Interview with Dear Abby

The Dear Abby College Columnist Scholarship Program is an annual contest for college publication columnists underwritten by The Jay & Rose Phillips Family Foundation of Minnesota on behalf of Jeanne Phillips aka Dear Abby, who is also co-chair of the Foundation.

Q: It’s very generous of you to provide a scholarship for aspiring college-age writers. What inspired you to partner with the National Society of Newspaper Columnists Education Foundation to create this scholarship program and contest?

A: In 2016, I was invited to be the keynote speaker at the NSNC Annual Convention. I decided at that time to fund the scholarship program and contest to encourage and support college columnists.

Q: Who is the ideal candidate to receive this scholarship?

A: The ideal candidate would be a young person who has the desire not only to succeed, but also to contribute to the betterment of the community.

Q: What is your goal for the contest?

A: My goal is to inspire and facilitate young people to consider careers in journalism.

Q: What advice can you give to young journalists and columnists?

A: You can accomplish more with an economy of words than with a deluge.

Q: Besides your mother, who were your biggest inspirations and influences as a young columnist?

A: My mother, of course. As well as her twin sister, who wrote using the pen name Ann Landers.

Q: What is your greatest challenge as a columnist today? What do you find most rewarding?

A: Keeping my column relevant to readers, who are trying to cope in this quickly changing world is a challenge. What’s most rewarding to me is knowing I’m able to make a positive difference.

Q: Share one timeless piece of advice with us.

A: It isn’t always necessary to write an opus. Many times it’s sufficient to just answer the question.

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