NCR writers among Religion Newswriters Association honorees

Several NCR writers received honors at the Religion Newswriters Association 2012 awards competition, held at the organization’s annual conference Oct. 4-6 in Bethesda, Md.

At the awards ceremony on the conference’s final night, NCR editor at large Tom Roberts received the top prize for his book The Emerging Catholic Church: A Community’s Search for Itself, named the Nonfiction Book of the Year.

Published by Orbis Books, The Emerging Catholic Church has sold more than 2,600 copies as of Tuesday. Roberts was named NCR editor in 2000, a position he held until 2008, when he became editor at large.

In the Religion Commentary of the Year category, NCR columnist Jamie Manson received second place, with Asra Nomani of The Daily Beast placing third and Religion News Service’s David Gibson taking the top honor.

Manson earned the award for her columns on St. Joseph’s hospital in Phoenix losing its Catholic identity, the fallout of same-sex marriage legislation passing in New York, and Archbishop Michael Sheehan’s 2011 letter admonishing divorcees and cohabitating couples.

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Staff writers Zoe Ryan and Joshua J. McElwee were both finalists in the Magazine News Religion Reporter of the Year category. Ruth Moon of Christianity Today finished first, Julia Duin of The Washington Post Magazine second, and Nadine Epstein of Moment magazine third.

Other Reporter of the Year winners in the competition included Tom Breen of The Associated Press (large newspapers and wire services); the Kansas City Star’s Judy Thomas (metropolitan newspapers); Peggy Stack of the Salt Lake Tribune (mid-sized newspapers); and Jennifer Preyss of The Victoria Advocate (small newspapers).

In the awards for best publication, Moment was named top magazine, and’s Belief Blog received the Schachern Award for Online Religion Section of the Year, with the news website also earning the Gerald A. Renner award for its religion reporting on the faith lives of Republican presidential candidates.

In addition to his commentary award, Gibson also won the Supple Religion Feature Writer of the Year award, while taking second among Religion Reporters for large newspapers and wire services.

Longtime religion reporter Paul Carson was honored with a lifetime achievement award.

Founded in 1949, the Religion Newswriters Association is the primary organization for religion reporters and journalists, and is dedicated to “raising the standards of religion newswriting in the secular world of newspapers, magazines, wire services, and news agencies.”

For a full list of this year’s award finalists and winners, visit the Religion News Writers 2012 contest page

Editor's Note: A previous version of this story incorrectly reported the number of copies sold of The Emerging Catholic Church. It has been updated to reflect the latest sales figures. 

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