NCR earns 'General Excellence' honor for 13th time in 14 years

National Catholic Reporter was named first in "General Excellence" among national Catholic newspapers for the 13th time in 14 years by the Catholic Press Association of the United States and Canada at the 2014 Catholic Media Conference that ran June 18-20 in Charlotte, N.C.

The judges said NCR provides "simply excellent coverage of the Catholic world in the U.S. and abroad. Challenging in some articles but solid in sourcing across articles. American journalistic standards with a strong sense of the newsworthy."

NCR also garnered 21 other CPA honors, including four first-place awards for news writing and commentary:

NCR also took the second- and third-place honors for investigative news writing. Second place went to NCR staff writer Brian Roewe for "Excommunicated: A tangled tale leads to Australian priest's dismissal." Third place was awarded jointly to Jason Berry, Joshua J. McElwee and Tom Gallagher for "Anatomy of a cover-up," "The widow: Deposition shows dedication to order," and "The banker: insulator and facilitator."

A "close second" for the prestigious Gerard E. Sherry Award "for analysis/background/round-up news writing" was presented to John L. Allen Jr. and McElwee for their coverage of the Vatican bank reform.

In addition to publication accolades, NCR film and arts writer Sr. Rose Pacatte was one of three finalists for the St. Francis de Sales Award, the Catholic Press Association's highest honor for an individual. James Lackey, a veteran journalist with Catholic News Service and its current web news editor, was named recipient.

Our Sunday Visitor and National Catholic Register were second- and third-place honorees, respectively, in national newspaper general excellence.

Additional runner-up citations went to NCR for:

  • "NCR Today" in the category of publication online blogs
  • Its special section, "Spirituality," in the category for supplements with an editorial emphasis
  • A feature story in a national newspaper: "Transformations follow after nuns take in mother and child" by former NCR Bertelsen intern Colleen Dunne
  • Use of art or graphics (best original illustration) for "Navigating uncharted territory with your middle-schooler" by Pat Marrin
  • Personality profile in a national newspaper: " 'Mr. Mac' sees teacher, deacon as one vocation" by Carol Hoverman

NCR editor at large Tom Roberts won third place in personality profiles for "The 'Bike Lady.' " The newspaper's other third-place honors included:

  • Online content not published in print for articles by Patricia Lefevere, McElwee, Roewe, Patrick O'Neill and Dan Morris-Young
  • Sports news reporting for Roewe's "A (hoops) leap of faith"
  • Editorial section or page for NCR's "Opinion & Arts" section
  • Editorial on a national or international issue for "Newark shows need for transparency" by the editors

Coverage of the papal transition by Allen, McElwee and editor Dennis Coday earned an honorable mention for best coverage of the time between the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI and the conclave.

NCR photographic achievements earned three honorable mentions:

  • In general news, "Protester Henri Garbison" by former Bertelsen intern Kate Simmons
  • In portrait work, "Kerri Martin at Second Life Bikes" by Sara Stadtmiller
  • In scenic or still life, "O Harbor of Our Hearts" by Toni-Ann Ortiz

Three popular NCR columnists were also honored for their work in book writing. Eugene Kennedy's Believing (Orbis Books) won first place in the category The Year of Faith. Kennedy writes the "Bulletins from the Human Side" column for NCR.

Benedictine Sr. Joan Chittister received the third-place award for new hardcover books on spirituality for The Way of the Cross: The Path to New Life (Orbis Books), co-created with artist Janet McKenzie. Chittister writes "From Where I Stand" for NCR.

Phyllis Zagano, who writes "Just Catholic" for NCR, also earned third place for a new reference book, Mysticism and the Spiritual Quest: A Crosscultural Anthology (Paulist Press).

Here's the full list of Catholic media awards, including for books and magazines.

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