A note of thanks for press awards

I had the honor and privilege of representing NCR in Buffalo, N.Y., for the 2015 Catholic Media Convention, the annual gathering of the Catholic Press Association. I admit that I was very proud to hear the National Catholic Reporter name called out 22 times in the course of the awards banquet.

It’s also a humbling experience, because for me it reinforces a truth I have learned since being named editor three and half years ago. Individual names are attached to many of these awards, but the production of this newspaper is a team effort. If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a newsroom of editors, a network of stringers and contributors, and a dedicated production team to produce a newspaper.

I want single out three people whose names don’t appear in the list of awardees, but should have. If, like the National Basketball Association, the Catholic Press Association kept track of assists, you would have seen the names of managing editor Stephanie Yeagle, copy editor and special sections editor Teresa Malcolm, and art director and layout editor Toni-Ann Ortiz all over those awards. They’d be leading the league in assists.

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When I told Menachem Wecker about his first-place award for art reviews, he said, “The certificate belongs as much to Stephanie. She’s so great to work with, and makes me sound way smarter than I truly am.” Stephanie does that for many of us at NCR.

And when the judges note the newspaper’s excellent graphics and the “bold visual presentation” of our Arts and Opinion section, they are speaking directly to the work of Malcolm and Ortiz. So I want to add a special thanks to Stephanie, Teresa and Toni-Ann. And big thanks to team NCR.

Also, in this time ahead of the second Synod of Bishops dedicated to the family and the September World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia, I take special pride that two NCR columnists won first and second place for their writing about families. If the synod fathers and the World Meeting folks take the time to read the thoughts of Heidi Schlumpf and Melissa Musick Nussbaum on family, they will have a ground-level, reality-based picture of family life. Heidi and Melissa, congratulations and thanks.

A version of this story appeared in the July 17-30, 2015 print issue under the headline: Awards reflect team effort .

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