SALT LAKE CITY — The Religion Newswriters Association today announced
the winners of its 2006 contests for excellence in religion reporting
in the mainstream media. The organization, which has more than 500
members and subscribers, awarded nearly $15,000 in prizes at its annual
banquet, held this year at the Marriott City Center in Salt Lake City.
were selected from among 262 entries in eight categories. Judges
included current or former reporters, journalists and scholars who
praised the entries as "clever,” "an excellent variety” and "very fine writing.”
Religion Reporter of the Year The
Templeton Religion Reporter of the Year Award recognizes excellence in
enterprise reporting and versatility on the religion beat. The
first-place winner this year is Gary Stern of The Journal News
in White Plains, N.Y. Judges said his story "Greetings New York” struck
"just the right tone, informative without being snide.” Stern received
Religion Writer of the Year
The Supple Religion Writer of the Year Award, also judged on a body of
work, recognizes a reporter’s skill with a particular focus on writing.
This year’s winner is Douglas Todd of The Vancouver Sun
in British Columbia. "Best display of mastery across reporting styles
and writing genres,” the judges said of Todd’s work. "A creative blend
of personal experience, observation and more standard techniques added
up to a "wow.” Todd received $1,000.
Religion Story or Series of the Year
Created three years ago, the Templeton Story of the Year contest
showcases a single story or series on religion in print media. This
year the first-place award went to Robert Sibley of The Ottawa Citizen for
an 11-part series titled "The Way of Shikoku.” Judges lauded Sibley’s
work as "expansively and wonderfully written.” For his award-winning
work, Sibley took home $3,500, courtesy of the John M. Templeton
Reporter of the Year — Small Newspapers
The Cassels Award is given to the religion reporter of the year at
newspapers with circulations of 50,000 and less. Nicole Neroulias of
the San Mateo County Times
in California won first place this year with an entry judges deemed
"easy to read.” "Everything about this entry was good: The leads were
clever, the details telling, the subjects interesting, the lengths
appropriate.” Neoulias won $750.
Reporter of the Year — Mid-sized Newspapers
The Cornell Award is given to the top religion writer at mid-sized
papers with circulations between 50,001 and 150,000. John Chadwick of The (Bergen County, N.J.) Record
won first place with "clear and straightforward” articles. "This writer
gets the local angle on national stories and doesn’t let go,” judges
said. Chadwick won $750 for his work.
Best Religion Section or Pages
The Schachern Awards for best religion section or pages give citations
for three places in two categories: newspapers below 100,000
circulation and newspapers above 100,000 circulation.
In the smaller paper category, The Record
of Ontario, Canada, won first place. Harvey Taylor is the editor. "This
paper features smart, sophisticated features on...contentious
subjects,” judges said.
In the larger Schachern category, The Salt Lake Tribune
took top honors. Peg McEntee is the editor. "We loved this section
because of its depth,” judges wrote. "Where else could you find
articles on Utah’s Hindus, Jews and Scientologists?”