I just learned that an article I wrote for another publication received an award from the Associated Church Press (ACP) for "Editorial Courage."
It is one the most prestigious awards, in my opinion, that the interdenominational religious press association confers because it recognizes the risks that church publications take when they speak the truth and do real journalism.
The National Catholic Reporter does not currently belong to the ACP, but if we did, I venture that we would win the award for "Editorial Courage" every year.
The independence NCR has, thanks to our subscribers and supporters, allows us to practice real, independent journalism about the church every day. As someone who has worked for both a diocesan newspaper (where I got in trouble with the chancery) and a publication owned by a religious congregation (where I got in trouble with the Vatican), I can't stress enough how important that editorial freedom is.