NCR awards from the Catholic Press Association 2018

Following is the list of awards won by NCR staff and contributors in the annual Catholic Press Association media awards contest. The awards are for material published online and in print in 2017. The list includes the name of the category, the winner and the material that is being honored, and the judges' comments. (Note: In some cases, headlines reflect the print version of the article and may not match the linked article.)

The complete list of winners is available on the CPA website.

First Place Awards

AD28: BEST NEWSPAPER WEBSITE — First Place

National Catholic Reporter, "NCRonline.org" by National Catholic Reporter staff and contributors

The National Catholic Reporter has highly impressive content that includes investigative and enterprise reporting that is relevant for a diverse Catholic audience. This site delivers on its mission.

AD08b: BEST BLOG: Publication Blog — First Place

National Catholic Reporter, "NCR Today" by NCR staff and contributors

They covered a wide variety of topics in their regularly scheduled blog posts throughout the 2017 year. Their morning briefings gave readers something consistent to rely on and read, and their topic-specific articles were captivating and well thought out. They take an interesting and modern approach to religion and the role of Catholicism in terms of current events, social justice, and politics. From the "Campus Notebook" segments that focus on issues on college campuses, to the pieces on gun control and safety, to articles connecting the spirit of Jesus to current issues of poverty and suffering.

AD08c: BEST BLOG: By Layperson — First Place

 National Catholic Reporter, "Young Voices" by Nicole Sotelo, Jocelyn A. Sideco, Julia Walsh, Allison Walter, Mike Jordan Laskey, Brian Harper, Christian Mocek, Jennifer Mertens, Clare Coffey, Mark Piper, Susan Rose Francois, Christin Tomy, Jennifer Wilson, Tracy Kemme, Tracey Horan, Colleen Gibson

I really liked this blog and its focus on issues facing America's youth. They did a good job incorporating lessons and values of Christianity into "cool" and relatable topics (e.g. Wonder Woman). Additionally, the writing style was professional and well developed. Concerns over lingering racism, women's rights issues, and drug addiction made for a powerful and insightful blog.

AD09a: BEST ONLINE CONTENT NOT PUBLISHED IN PRINT: Written Content — First Place

An entry consists of up to five articles published online within a 60-day period that by themselves demonstrate sound writing and storytelling, and in the aggregate suggests a publication's belief in the immediacy and value of reaching an online audience.

Excellent reporting on important issues. Courageous, bold story-telling. By far some of the best work I've read since I started judging for this contest years ago.

AD35: BEST PODCAST — First Place

National Catholic Reporter, "NCR In Conversation" by Brittany Wilmes, Stephanie Yeagle, Toni-Ann Ortiz, George Goss

This podcast series covers an array of timely and pertinent issues that directly affect the Catholic faith and vice versa. It is high in quality and in impact.

N03b: BEST NEWS WRITING ON A NATIONAL OR INTERNATIONAL EVENT: National Event, National Newspaper or Wire Service — First Place

National Catholic Reporter, "Meeting rallies to 'stand with those whose backs are against the wall'; San Diego bishop urges crowd to become disrupters and rebuilders" by Brian Roewe

With an impressive list of sources, these well-written and crafted articles tell a powerful story.

N03d: BEST NEWS WRITING ON A NATIONAL OR INTERNATIONAL EVENT: International Event, National Newspaper or Wire Service — First Place

National Catholic Reporter, "Coverage of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors" by Joshua J. McElwee. Articles submitted: 

Bold in approach, the coverage of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors is told with precision. The addition of the first person story of the resignation of Marie Collins and Pope Francis' response rounds out this story which must see the light of day.

N04b: BEST INVESTIGATIVE/ANALYSIS NEWS WRITING: Investigative News Writing, National Newspaper or Wire Service — First Place

National Catholic Reporter, "Coverage of money and the Catholic church" by Tom Roberts. Articles submitted:

The research and investigation for this story appears to be exhaustive. Reporter dug through a vast amount of federal tax forms in conducting research for the story and followed that up with detailed interviews in support of the research. Impressively weaved all of the research into a series a stories that explain in interesting detail how great sums of money are being disbursed by powerful people and organizations with ties to Catholicism

N04d: BEST INVESTIGATIVE/ANALYSIS NEWS WRITING: Best Analysis/Background/Round-Up News Writing: The Gerard E. Sherry Award for National Newspaper or Wire Service — First Place

National Catholic Reporter, "Sexual violence victims break the silence" by Heidi Schlumpf

This analysis of the Church's silence on the #metoo movement allows victims of sexual violence to speak for themselves, provides statistics on how many people are affected, and interviews theologians who explain how the Church can do better.

N07e: BEST EDITORIAL ON A NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL ISSUE: National Newspaper — First Place

National Catholic Reporter, "Now is the time for action on guns" by National Catholic Reporter editors

Bravo for pointed and vivid language that takes on the issue of guns and politics. The Bishop's story that leads the editorial has a power and immediacy that suggests NOW, as the rest of the editorial does too. 

N08b: BEST EDITORIAL PAGE OR EDITORIAL SECTION: National Newspaper — First Place

National Catholic Reporter, "Opinion & Arts" by National Catholic Reporter staff and contributors (Note: This is print only category, so no links to share.) 

Opinion and the Arts is characterized by creativity as well as breadth and depth of coverage. Content is representative of the wide range of the Catholic Intellectual tradition including art, literature, and critical thinking about current issues. Bravo!

N10e: BEST PERSONALITY PROFILE: National Newspaper or Wire Service — First Place

National Catholic Reporter, "Colman McCarthy makes sure students learn peace" by Tom Roberts

This story brings an interesting character to life and clearly demonstrates the impact he has on other people.

N11a: BEST REGULAR COLUMN: Culture, the Arts, and Leisure — First Place

National Catholic Reporter, Menachem Wecker. Articles entered:

Nice diverse collection of well organized articles.

N11b: BEST REGULAR COLUMN: Spiritual Life — First Place

National Catholic Reporter, "Soul Seeing" edited by Michael Leach. Columns submitted:   

A diverse collection of well-written columns with a lot of variety. Address profound topics in an engaging manner

N48e: BEST COVERAGE OF PRO-LIFE ISSUES: National Newspaper or Wire Service — First Place

National Catholic Reporter, Articles by Kristen Whitney Daniels

Strong descriptive writing chock full of well researched facts and relevant details make this series of stories stand out as the best treatment of pro-life issues.

N54e: BEST REPORTING OF SOCIAL JUSTICE ISSUES: Dignity and Rights of the Workers — First Place

National Catholic Reporter, "Conflicts on campus" by Menachem Wecker

This story uses detailed and rigorous reporting to investigate a contentious subject: disputes over faculty health care and unionizing at a Catholic university. The reporter is fair and precise in explaining competing claims about the course of negotiations between faculty and administrators. Persuading a variety of people to talk on the record led to the story providing a valuable range of perspectives.

N54f: BEST REPORTING OF SOCIAL JUSTICE ISSUES: Solidarity — First Place

National Catholic Reporter, "Sisters listen to help heal as Rwanda marks 23 years since the genocide" by Melanie Lidman

More than a decade after the genocide in Rwanda, the Benebikira Sisters describe how they work as Sister Listeners to help community members process their experiences. The depth of reporting and explanation of the complex political situation in Rwanda -- the government acknowledges genocide only against Tutsis, not against Hutus — make clear the challenges the sisters face in helping people heal.

Download this FREE NCR eBook to learn more about impact of Humanae Vitae.

Second Place Awards

AD08c: BEST BLOG: By Layperson  — Second Place

National Catholic Reporter, "Distinctly Catholic" by Michael Sean Winters

These articles were very informative and presented rational, well-developed arguments about the intersections between Catholicism and politics in America. The author took issues such as the storm recovery in Puerto Rico and U.S. foreign policy and both provided background on the issues and presented a framework in which Catholics can evaluate their role and how the lessons of Christianity and Jesus can guide their stance and actions on certain issues. The writing style of these posts is a double-edged sword. In some ways, they are excellent because they are professional and even academic in style. In other ways, this may be something that audience members do not like. It is hard to judge an entry like this against something like "open window" which is often about recipes and arts and crafts and takes on a much more conversational tone.

AD08d: BEST BLOG: By Religious/Clergy  — Second Place

National Catholic Reporter, "Simply Spirit" by Christine Schenk

I really liked this blog! They covered a great mix of political topics and brought Catholic values into real world applications. They explored incredibly pressing topics and had an interesting viewpoint. These posts were not posted as often as the winning entry and did not have as consistent of a sharing strategy and format, but overall it was still an outstanding entry and a blog I thoroughly enjoyed reading.

AD25: BEST ONLINE PRESENTATION OF MULTIMEDIA VISUALS  — Second Place

National Catholic Reporter, "Fast-food workers celebrate Puzder's secretary of labor nomination withdrawal" by Shireen Korkzan, George Goss

Good written text. You may want to clarify the names and titles in the lead. Good video for social med

N03b: BEST NEWS WRITING ON A NATIONAL OR INTERNATIONAL EVENT: National Event, National Newspaper or Wire Service  — Second Place

National Catholic Reporter, "Words are not enough: Racial justice activists urge action from Catholic leaders" by Heidi Schlumpf

Weaving past and recent news events with contemporary responses but Church leadership, this well-researched and crafted article lays out Church and world responses to the sin of racism.

N03d: BEST NEWS WRITING ON A NATIONAL OR INTERNATIONAL EVENT: International Event, National Newspaper or Wire Service  — Second Place

National Catholic Reporter, "Coverage of Magnum Principium." Articles submitted:

Changes in liturgical language always rouse interest and ire. These articles spell out with clarity the background and implications of the current guides coming from Rome to the local church by way of the USCCB.

N05b: BEST IN-DEPTH NEWS/SPECIAL REPORTING: National Newspaper or Wire Service  — Second Place

National Catholic Reporter, "Awareness fosters hope for often-invisible sex-trafficking victims in the Midwest" reporting and writing by J. Malcolm Garcia, and Soli Salgado. Graphics by Toni-Ann Ortiz

Interesting read. In-depth with breadth. Excellent intertwining of personal stories with support resources created to address human trafficking.

N07e: BEST EDITORIAL ON A NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL ISSUE: National Newspaper — Second Place

National Catholic Reporter, "Default must be to trust the victim" by National Catholic Reporter editors

This appeal to transform culture because of misuse of power and authority around sexual relationships is presented with logic and a bit of emotional content as well.  The editorial appeals to the mind as well as the heart.

N10e: BEST PERSONALITY PROFILE: National Newspaper or Wire Service — Second Place

National Catholic Reporter, "Helen Prejean sways hearts with stories" by Kristen Whitney Daniels

This story profiles a complex and determined personality that is touching the lives of many.

N45: BEST COVERAGE OF THE PAPAL TRIPS OVERSEAS — Second Place

National Catholic Reporter. Articles submitted:

Excellent job reporting on a variety of news events around the world. Very well written

Third Place Awards

N04d: BEST INVESTIGATIVE/ANALYSIS NEWS WRITING: Best Analysis/Background/Round-Up News Writing: The Gerard E. Sherry Award for National Newspaper or Wire Service — Third Place

National Catholic Reporter, "Annulment reform seems to cultivate change of culture" and "What are the changes to the annulment process?" by Dan Morris-Young

As applications for annulment rise dramatically in some dioceses, this story explains how the process works, describes recent changes in canon law, and gathers perspectives from interviews with diocesan leaders across the country.

N16c: BEST USE OF ART OR GRAPHICS: Best Chart or Information Graphic — Third Place

National Catholic Reporter, "Human trafficking and the sex trade: A modern form of slavery" by Toni-Ann Ortiz

Nicely divided with enough information to enhance the story but not overwhelming.

N54g: BEST REPORTING OF SOCIAL JUSTICE ISSUES: Care for God's Creation — Third Place

National Catholic Reporter, "Students undertake Carbon Challenge" by Brian Roewe

The details of how high school students and their teachers bring the principles of "Laudato Si" into their schools — from the "ID a Tree" challenge to taste tests of fair-trade chocolate — are told in lively anecdotes, providing a guide to other schools who want to incorporate the values of environmental justice into their classes

Honorable Mentions

AD08c: BEST BLOG: By Layperson — Honorable Mention

National Catholic Reporter, "My Table Is Spread" by Melissa Musick Nussbaum

E09: NEWSPAPER OF THE YEAR - National Newspaper — Honorable Mention

National Catholic Reporter, "National Catholic Reporter" by NCR staff and contributors.

N01b: BEST FRONT PAGE: Tabloid (11 x 17") — Honorable Mention

National Catholic Reporter, "National Catholic Reporter" by Toni-Ann Ortiz

N03b: BEST NEWS WRITING ON A NATIONAL OR INTERNATIONAL EVENT: National Event, National Newspaper or Wire Service — Honorable Mention

National Catholic Reporter, "A Nation Under Trump" by Dawn Araujo-Hawkins, James Dearie, Maria Benevento, Antoine de Tarlé, Heidi Schlumpf. Articles submitted:

N05b: BEST IN-DEPTH NEWS/SPECIAL REPORTING: National Newspaper or Wire Service — Honorable Mention

National Catholic Reporter, "Coverage of Uncommon Conversation" 

N07e: BEST EDITORIAL ON A NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL ISSUE: National Newspaper — Honorable Mention

National Catholic Reporter, "Time for dialogue on sexual ethics" by National Catholic Reporter editors

N11a: BEST REGULAR COLUMN: Culture, the Arts, and Leisure — Honorable Mention

National Catholic Reporter, Film reviews by Sr. Rose Pacatte 


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