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2006 RNA Contest Winners

Religion Newswriters Association announces 2006 Contest Winners

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.

Winners 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 $3,500.
 
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 Foundation.
 
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?”




2006 RNA Contest Winners & Links to Stories

Cassels Award: Religion Reporter of the Year—Small Newspapers

First Place: Nicole Neroulias, San Mateo County Times

Second Place: Daniel Burke, Lancaster New Era

  • Self-help of scan?
  • And from this pulpit—Eagles!
  • Rappin' for Jesus
  • Local clerics recall 'People's Pope'
  • A patchwork mystery

Third Place: Linda Andrade Rodrigues, The Standard-Times

  • Woman's silent hope brings redemption
  • In God's hands—with growing shortage of pastors, churches struggling to stay open
  • Touched by a guardian angel—believers share accounts of heavenly visitations
  • Promise of peace, fear of failure
  • Food pantries thankful for big business partner
Chandler Award: Best Student Religion Reporter

First Place: Roy Maurer, Indiana University

  • A path less traveled
  • Spiritual rebirth
  • New Hindu temple draws midwest followers

Second Place: Laura Misjak, Michigan State University

  • Youthful devotion
  • Festival of giving
  • Keeping the faith

Third Place: Malorie Lucich , San Francisco State University


Cornell Award: Religion Reporter of the Year—Mid-sized Newspapers

First Place: John Chadwick, The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

  • Politics from the pulpit
  • Minister who acted like a father now at center of a storm
  • A priest who's been there eases the pain for alcoholics
  • Interest in Dalai Lama shows Buddhism's reach
  • In his sister's name

Second Place: Brad A. Greenberg, The Sun and the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin

  • Church claims mouthful of miracles
  • Student strives to balance religion and sports
  • Crises spark divine notions
  • A test of faith
  • Religion is prison tested

Third Place: Jessica Ravitz, The Salt Lake Tribune

  • 100 Years of Community
  • Torah Celebration
  • Festival of Praise
  • Sacred Initiation
  • Our Little Adventure


Lifetime Achievement


Dick Ostling, The Associated Press

Schachern Awards: Best Religion Section or Pages

Large papers

Small papers

  • First Place: The Record (Ontario, Canada)
  • Second Place: The Post and Courier (Charleston, S.C.)
  • Third Place: The Huntsville Times (Ala.)

Supple Religion Writer of the Year

First Place: Douglas Todd, The Vancouver Sun

  • Enter the Evangelicals
  • Buddhists sell a temple to raise relief funds
  • Openness will pose a challenge
  • A multicultural Christmas
  • Beware the 'Boredom Boom'

Second Place: Jennifer Garza, The Sacramento Bee

  • Through years of suffering, the bishop held on until a selfless...
  • He read about the bishop's plight in the newspaper. The story tugged...
  • Bishop's new life gives meaning to donor's pain
  • A year ago, two Christian camp counselors were found slain on a lonely…
  • The deaths a year ago of two Christian camp counselors have touched…
  • He cast aside ancient ways
  • Murdered nun Dorothy Stang is remembered by some as a saint…

Third Place: Margaret Ramirez, Chicago Tribune

  • Journey toward the spirits
  • Farrakhan now opens arms with Millions More march
  • Angle to fly off after earning wings at Cabrini
  • Mormons' true believers
  • Reliving the Passion if Pilsen
  • Church gears up for show of faith
  • Suffering seen as part of spiritual journey

Templeton Religion Reporter of the Year Award

First Place: Gary Stern, The Journal News (White Plains, NY)

Second Place: Bruce Nolan, The Times-Picayune

  • A Pastor to the World: Millions Mourn the Passing of Pope John Paul II
  • Benedict XVI: Joseph Ratzinger of Germany Elected 265th Pope  
  • The Governor Speaks
  • Shepherds Tend to Scattered N.O. Flocks; Church Members Need Help, Hope, Housing
  • The Call of St. Gabriel

Third Place: James Davis, South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, FL)


Templeton Story of the Year

First Place: Robert Sibley, The Ottawa Citizen

Second Place: John Cochran, Congressional Quarterly

Third Place: William Lobdell, Los Angeles Times



#

2006 Finalists
(for work published in 2005)

Cassels

  • Marshall Allen, Pasadena Star-News (Calif.)
  • Betsey Bruner, The Arizona Daily Sun
  • Daniel Burke, Lancaster (Pa.) New Era
  • Maya Kremen, Herald News (West Patterson, N.J.)
  • Gloria LaBounty, The Sun Chronicle (Attleboro, Mass.)
  • Nicole Neroulias, San Mateo County (Calif.) Times
  • Carol Reeves, Corvallis (Ore.) Gazette-Times
  • Diane Reynolds, Carroll County (Md.) Times
  • Linda Andrade Rodrigues, The Standard-Times (New Bedford, Mass.)

Chandler

  • Patrick Cain, The Ohio State University
  • Piet Levy, Northwestern University
  • Leah Lohse, University of Missouri-Columbia
  • Malorie Lucich, San Francisco State University
  • Roy Maurer, Indiana University
  • Nicole McKay, Southwest Minnesota State University
  • Laura Misjak, Michigan State University
  • Lacey Nadeau, Point Loma Nazarene University
  • Ingrid Norton, University of Texas at Austin
  • Jodie Oxman, University of Southern California

Cornell

  • John Chadwick, The Record (Bergen County, N.J.)
  • Virginia de Leon, The Spokesman-Review (Spokane, Wash.)
  • Michael Gartland, The Post and Courier (Charleston, S.C.)
  • Jean Gordon, The Clarion-Ledger (Jackson, Miss.)
  • Brad A. Greenberg, The Sun / Inland Valley Daily Bulletin (Calif.)
  • Jenny Jackson, The Ottawa Citizen (Ontario, Canada)
  • Jane Lampman, The Christian Science Monitor
  • Dana Massing, Erie (Pa.) Times-News
  • R. Gregory Mellen Jr., (Long Beach, Calif.) Press-Telegram
  • Jessica Ravitz, The Salt Lake Tribune

Schachern Large (circulations over 100,000)

  • The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Editor: Kevin Austin
  • The Dallas Morning News, Editor: Bruce Tomaso
  • The Grand Rapids Press, Editor: Charles Honey
  • Houston Chronicle, Editor: Richard Vara
  • The Salt Lake Tribune, Editor: Peg McEntee

Schachern Small (circulations under 100,000)

  • The Huntsville (Ala.) Times, Editor: Kay Campbell
  • Mobile (Ala.) Register, Editor: Debbie Lord/Cheryl Washington
  • The Post and Courier (Charleston, S.C.), Editor: Doug Pardue
  • The Record (Kitchener, Cambridge, Waterloo), Editor: Harvey Taylor
  • San Mateo (Calif.) County Times, Editor: Nicole Neroulias           

Supple

  • John Blake, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
  • David Briggs, The (Cleveland, Ohio) Plain Dealer
  • Sandi Dolbee, The San Diego Union-Tribune
  • Kevin Eckstrom, Religion News Service
  • Jennifer Garza, The Sacramento (Calif.) Bee
  • Jennifer Berry Hawes, The Post and Courier (Charleston, S.C.)
  • Tom Heneghan, Reuters News Agency                        
  • Margaret Ramirez, Chicago Tribune
  • Douglas Todd, The Vancouver Sun (British Columbia, Canada)
  • Jeffrey Weiss, The Dallas Morning News

Templeton Reporter

  • Manya Brachear, Chicago Tribune
  • James Davis, South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)
  • Kevin Eckstrom, Religion News Service
  • Jennifer Garza, The Sacramento (Calif.) Bee
  • Jenny Jackson, The Ottawa (Ontario, Canada) Citizen
  • Bruce Nolan, The Times-Picayune (New Orleans, La.)
  • Michael Paulson, The Boston Globe
  • Margaret Ramirez, Chicago Tribune
  • Gary Stern, The Journal News (White Plains, N.Y.)
  • Jeffrey Weiss, The Dallas Morning News

Templeton Story

  • Mariah Blake, Columbia Journalism Review
  • David Briggs, The (Cleveland, Ohio) Plain Dealer
  • John Cochran, Congressional Quarterly
  • Nathan Dinsdale, The Santa Fe Reporter
  • Michael Gartland, The Post and Courier (Charleston, S.C.)
  • Todd Lewan, Associated Press
  • William Lobdell, Los Angeles Times
  • Robert Sibley, Ottawa (Ontario, Canada) Citizen
  • William C. Symonds, Business Week
  • David Van Biema, TIME Magazine

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