The National Catholic Reporter has been named the best national newspaper by the Catholic Media Association for the third year in a row and was additionally recognized for its investigative reporting as well as its coverage of the presidential election, the McCarrick Report, racism and other social justice issues.
NCR, EarthBeat and Global Sisters Report together took home 32 awards, including 10 first place ones, from the annual Catholic Media Convention, held virtually June 8-10. NCR has won best newspaper for 19 of the past 21 years.
In the categories for investigative news writing, analysis/background/round-up reporting and editorial writing, NCR won multiple awards.
First place for investigative writing went to my three-part series on questionable business practices by Matthew Kelly of Dynamic Catholic, while national correspondent Christopher White won third place in that category for a story about Sojourners magazine pulling a story about the church and racism. Then-Vatican correspondent Joshua McElwee received an honorable mention for his coverage of the Vatican suspension of an Irish priest who refused to sign a fidelity oath. NCR also received a fourth investigative award, an honorable mention, for its investigative coverage of the McCarrick Report.
White's coverage of the presidential election was honored with a first place award in analysis/background/round-up reporting for his two-part series about Catholic-led groups working for and against the reelection of Donald Trump. In that category, McElwee's story on " 'Vos estis' at one year" earned third place, while environment correspondent Brian Roewe's reporting on the University of Dayton's fossil fuel divestment was recognized with an honorable mention.
NCR won first and second place for best editorial on a national or international issue for "Dolan delivers the church to GOP" and for one calling for the suppression of the cult of St. John Paul II after the McCarrick report, respectively.
A post-election series, "Where do we go from here?", received an honorable mention as a special section, while art director Toni-Ann Ortiz's graphic design for the series won first place.
Bryan Massingale's powerful essay on white privilege won two awards: an honorable mention for social justice reporting and a third-place recognition as part of a package of stories on racism. The other two — about a mom on a hunger strike and on campus policing — were written by Bertelsen fellow Madeleine Davison.
Coverage of environmental justice at NCR's EarthBeat website was recognized with seven awards. In addition to his coverage of fossil fuel divestment, Roewe won first place for his feature about the first Earth Day celebration and third place for his report on Laudato Si' at five years. Freelancer Claire Schaeffer-Duffy won first place for her story about a woman fighting for environmental justice in Louisiana, and EarthBeat editor Barbara Fraser's story about the synod for the Amazon, one year later, took second place. In photography, Paul Jeffrey earned a first-place award for his Lens on Creation reflections, and Sean Hawkey won second place for his photo essay about Christmas in Honduras in the wake of two devastating hurricanes.
Global Sisters Report, a project of the NCR Publishing Company, received five awards, including a first place for reporting on social justice issues for staff reporter Soli Salgado's Q&A with Sr. Rosemarie Gonzalez, part of GSR's yearlong series on homelessness. That series also garnered a second-place award for coverage of disaster or crisis for pieces by Salgado, international correspondent Chris Herlinger and national correspondent Dan Stockman.
Other GSR awards include second place for in-depth news/special reporting on sisters' involvement in drug-harm reduction efforts by Georgia Perry; honorable mention for news writing on a national event for Stockman's coverage of the COVID-19 deaths of 14 Felician sisters; and an honorable mention for reporting on senior citizens for Joachim Pham's story about a homeless shelter in Vietnam.
Other NCR awards include: a second-place award for freelance writer Don Clemmer's personality profile of a Roman Catholic Woman Priest; second place for former news editor Peter Feuerherd's coverage of Catholics' involvement in Portland's "Wall of Moms"; and third place to freelance writer Jeannine M. Pitas for her feature on political divides among Catholic families and friends.
The NCR website earned a third-place award, and this column, NCR Connections, an honorable mention.
Every award-winning entry is a group effort on the part of editors, writers, copy editors, graphics and layout people, as well as social media and engagement folks. A special thanks goes to Ortiz and Teresa Malcolm, who do the painstaking work of preparing our many entries. And congratulations to all our fellow Catholic journalists for their awards, too. May we all continue to strive for journalistic excellence in our important work.