Religion Newswriters Association announces 2002 award winners
Newswriters Association today announced the winners of its seven contests,
awarding more than $8,000 in prizes at its annual Awards Banquet, held at the
Hilton Suites Nashville.
All the contests reward
excellence in religion reporting in the secular print and broadcast media.
Winners were selected from 234 total entries by judges who were all current or
G. Jeffrey MacDonald,
writing for Religion News Service, won the $3,500 first place Templeton Award
for Religion Reporter of the Year. The Templeton Award honors the breadth and
depth of a journalist’s skills.
“This journalist’s work
reveals the highest level of professional skill and rare imagination that grasps
and shapes excellent, insightful stories from material that others might pass
over,” judges wrote of MacDonald’s entry. MacDonald’s entries showed he “is
relentlessly curious about the world and the people in it, has a powerful
instinct for the story, rare analytical power and a concise, effective and
unobtrusive prose style.”
First place in the Supple
Religion Writer of the Year Award and $1,000 went to Gary Stern of The Journal
News in White Plains, N.Y. “Here is a writer who has something to say, one
whose stories offer depth and perspective,” judges wrote of Stern’s entry. The
Supple Award recognizes writing skill on the religion beat.
Carrie A. Moore of The
Deseret News in Salt Lake City won first place and $500 in the Cornell Award,
which is given to the religion reporter of the year at a mid-sized newspaper.
Judges praised her ability “to write on a range of issues…all the stories were ‘good
The Cassels Award is given
to the religion reporter of the year at newspapers with circulations below
50,000. This year’s first place winner was Judy Totts of The Medina (Ohio)
County Gazette. Totts, who won $500, “captured the importance of prayer and
faith in our collective response” in an article published the day after Sept.
Coverage of the Sept. 11
attacks was also a common theme in the Schachern Award. The Schachern contest
recognizes excellence in religion sections or pages in three circulation-based
categories: Under 50,000; 50,000-150,000; and over 150,000. All winning papers
receive a citation.
The Sept. 11 coverage by
The Times-News of Twin Falls, Idaho, buoyed it to first-place honors in the
small newspaper category. “While many newspapers in all size categories
explored religion in the context of the events of Sept. 11, The Times-News was
the only paper to pull it off that week with a locally-written story and column
plus two pick-ups from news services,” judges wrote about The Times-News, which
is edited by Denise Turner.
In the Schachern contest
for mid-sized newspapers, The Deseret News, edited by Carrie A. Moore, took top
honors. Judges praised this Salt Lake City daily’s “nice mix of stories.”
Judges said, “The depth-treatment of timely, issue-oriented events such as the
conference on intolerance displays were particularly noteworthy.”
The Schachern Award for
large newspapers was awarded to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, edited by
Diane Lore. Judges chose the newspaper based on its “well-written features and
issue-oriented lead stories featuring a variety of religions, many of which
displayed a degree of timeliness that is sometimes lacking in stories for
For the first time, RNA
awarded prizes in radio and television. The RNA Radio Award and $500 was given
to Adam Phillips for his work at Voice of America.
“The listener is soul
touched…a sound master and perfect sound bites selector, Phillips’ weaving of
words and natural sound provides a showcase for the American spirit in all its
glory,” judges said.
The inaugural RNA
Television Award was split into national and local categories. The national
prize went to Deryl Davis of Religion & Ethics Newsweekly. The professional
look and Davis’ “sensibility and sensitivity” helped Davis’ entry stand out,
judges said. The local television prize was awarded to Dan Howell of Fox 61
News in Chattanooga, Tenn. Howell’s sense of story selection and an “informativeness
to the viewing audience” was a hallmark of this winning entry, judges said.
Each of the television winners received $500.
2002 RNA Contest winners
(for work done in 2001)
|Cassels Award for Excellence in Religion Reporting|
- First: Judy
Totts, The Medina (Ohio) County Gazette
- Second: Katherine
K. Lee, The Tuscaloosa (Ala.) News
- Third: Gloria
LaBounty, The (Attleboro, Mass.) Sun Chronicle
|Cornell Award for Excellence in Religion Reporting|
- First: Carrie
A. Moore, The (Salt Lake City) Deseret News
- Second: Allison
Askins, The (Columbia, S.C.) State
- Third: Bob
Mims, The Salt Lake Tribune
|Radio Excellence in Religion Reporting|
Phillips, Voice of America
|Schachern for Excellence in Religion Pages and Sections|
- Under 50,000 circulation: The
(Twin Falls, Idaho) Times-News, Denise Turner, section editor
- 50,000-150,000 circulation: The
(Salt Lake City) Deseret News, Carrie A. Moore, section editor
- Over 150,000 circulation: The
Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Diane Lore, section editor
|Supple Award for Religion Writer of the Year|
- First: Gary
Stern, The (White Plains, N.Y.) Journal News
- Second: Laurie
Goodstein, The New York Times
- Third: David
Waters, The Commercial Appeal
|Television Excellence in Religion Reporting|
- Local: Dan
Howell, Fox 61 News, Chattanooga, Tenn.
- National: Deryl
Davis, Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly
|Templeton Religion Reporter of the Year|
- First: G.
Jeffrey MacDonald,writing for Religion News Service
- Second: Mark
O’Keefe, Newhouse News Service
- Third: Kevin
Eckstrom, Religion News Service