Best Of Regina voting will be over this time next week so you don’t have a ton of time left to make up your minds about Regina’s finest people, places and pursuits. But I’m here to help — for the next seven days (and maybe eight, depending if I crawl into the office before polls close at noon on the 23rd) I’ll be profiling some this year’s new and returning categories.

Up today: Best Reporter.

What makes a great reporter? A short list of qualities I think are essential: honesty, a strong work ethic, intelligence, a world-class bullshit detector, enthusiasm, compassion, curiosity, a reverence for facts, diligence, cunning and courage.

And, of course skill: a knack for research, an ability to coax information from reluctant sources, proficiency building coherent and compelling stories from jumbled information, and of course a nose for news.

And, unlike with online dating profiles, being nice and having a great sense of humour isn’t a bad thing to have either.

Reporters are the foot soldiers of news. They aren’t news readers, opinion columnists or program hosts, although those certainly do reporting from time to time. They don’t spend all day sitting at their desks spouting opinions (like lazy editors). They’re making phone calls, chasing leads, talking to people and finding things out, snooping, scooping, and generally trooping along like nerdy, obsessed detectives.

The best ones tell us what’s happening and help us understand why, and they’re not afraid to show us proof that what we think about something is wrong. I like to think they can change the world for the better, a little bit.

Who is Regina’s Best Reporter? Dunno. Want your opinion. Vote! But not for political reporters — that subspecies has its own category in this poll. And not for prairie dog writers. They have their own category, too.

Up tomorrow: either visual artists or plumbers. Gonna flip a coin!