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2007 RNA Contest Winners

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SEPT. 29, 2007
Religion Newswriters Association announces 2007 Contest Winners

SAN ANTONIO—The Religion Newswriters Association today announced the winners of its 2007 contests for excellence in religion reporting in the mainstream media. The organization, which has more than 570 members and subscribers, awarded nearly $15,000 in prizes at its annual banquet, held this year at the Historic Menger Hotel.

Winners were selected from among 327 entries in 11 categories. Judges included current or former reporters, journalists and scholars who praised the entries as "simply dazzling” with insights "honed and sharp.”

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 Sandi Dolbee of The San Diego Union-Tribune. From a feature on a team of young Mormons recreating a pioneer mountain trek, to a moving profile of a local National Guard chaplain whose faith was challenged in Iraq, judges said her stories showed a "knack for finding the heart of a story and presenting it in a way that brings difficult and complex subjects to life.” Dolbee 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 Eric Gorski for work he did at The Denver Post.  "This writer’s package had it all—a hard-hitting investigation of Heritage Christian Center, strong examination of the Ted Haggard scandal that was both local and national in scope, and a good sampling of other religious events in the community.” Gorski, now a religion reporter for The Associated Press, received $1,000.

Religion Story or Series of the Year
Created four 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 David O’Reilly and the Philadelphia Inquirer for a three-part series on the Catholic Church worldwide called "Faith in Flux.” Judges lauded O’Reilly’s work for "taking an ambitious look at the state of the Catholic Church, examining its current place both in the community the paper serves and in the larger world.” For his award-winning work. The $3,500 award is courtesy of the John Templeton Foundation.

Religion 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. Larissa Theodore-Dudkiewicz of the Beaver County (Pa.) Times won first place this year with an entry judges deemed "beautifully written.” "The author’s eye for detail and compassionate prose make this truly a joyful read.” Theodore-Dudkiewicz won $750.

Religion 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. G. Jeffrey MacDonald of The Christian Science Monitor won first place with "fresh angles on religious issues,” the judges said. MacDonald 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 Mobile Press Register, won first place. Judges mentioned "centerpieces that consistently got beyond headlines to reflect the intensity that people feel about faith.”

In the larger Schachern category, The Salt Lake Tribune took top honors. Michael Anastasi and Lisa Carricaburu are editors. Judges complimented the section for "clear writing, distinctive design, a lively column, provocative centerpieces and an affinity for confronting the biggest, toughest topics from suicide to ‘The Da Vinci Code.’”

Best Student Religion Reporter
Excellence in student journalism is recognized with the Chandler Award. Established through the generosity of Russell Chandler, former religion writer for the Los Angeles Times, and his wife, M.L., the contest rewards young writers who have a grasp of religion issues that is fair and balanced.

Taking top prize this year is Tina Shah of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, whose entries included topics from Filipino Catholics to varieties of Hindu cremation. "This writer has already been to India and will continue going places,” the judges said. Shah won $600.

Best Television Short and Long Religion Reporting
This year, the Religion Newswriters Association awarded two prizes for television segments on religion. The short form recognized a four-minute television segment and the long form recognized a segments of four to 20 minutes.

In the short form, Maria Arita of CBS II in Dallas/Fort Worth won for her piece "Orbs of Light. The long form was awarded to PBS’ NewsHour with Jim Lehrer for a reflection on Sept. 11, 2001. "We were moved to tears” the judges wrote, adding that seldom have they seen a story "so powerfully told.”

Best Radio Religion Reporting 
The top prize for a short radio piece less than eight minutes long went to Rachael Martin of NPR for a segment on Latina women converting to Islam. Martin’s use of "natural sound to contrast the Latino music with the Muslim call to prayer was a wonderful way to begin the piece,” the judge wrote. "Her clear voice and straightforward writing brought to life the very human conflict some of the women choosing Islam face within their families.”





2007 RNA Contest Winners & Links to Stories

Cassels Award: Religion Reporter of the Year—Small Newspapers

First Place: Larissa Theodore-Dudkiewicz, Beaver County (Pa.) Times

  • A church filled only with faith
  • Religion Gluttony can't be healthy
  • Many just don't want to become pastors
  • Hold your cards...and cigarettes too
  • Chippewa synagogue to close at end of March

Second Place: Terri Jo Ryan, Waco (Texas) Tribune-Herald

Third Place: Terry Rombeck, Lawrence (Ks.) Journal-World

  • Shrouded in Mystery
  • Professing their faith
  • Preaching Peace

Chandler Award: Best Student Religion Reporter

First Place: Tina Shah, Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism

  • Celebrating Mass Without the Masses
  • Practicing Faith Without Hate
  • Non-Traditional Methods of Cremation

Second Place: Shari Rabin, The Daily Free Press (Boston University)

Third Place: Mrinalini N. Reddy, Northwestern University

  • Wives fast for husband's health
  • New cell-phone company focuses on faith-based services
  • Conference highlights the roles of Muslim women

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

First Place: G. Jeffrey MacDonald, The Christian Science Monitor

Second Place: Bill Sherman, Tulsa World

Third Place: John Chadwick, The Bergen County Record (N.J.)

  • Putting Guys in the Pews
  • Giving Islam a Human Face
  • Sins of the Father
  • The Spirit Moves Them
  • Divine Advice for Passover Chefs

Lifetime Achievement

Recipient: Russ Chandler, Los Angeles Times

Radio Religion Reporting

First Place: Rachael Martin (NPR)

Second Place: Jason DeRose, Chicago Public Radio

Third Place: Philip Graitcer, Georgia Public Radio

Schachern Awards: Best Religion Section or Pages

(Links not available)

LARGE NEWSPAPERS
First Place: The Salt Lake Tribune
Michael A. Anastasi & Lisa Carricaburu, section editors

Second Place: Star Tribune
Colleen Stoxen, section editor

Third Place: The Grand Rapids Press
Charles Honey, section editor

SMALL NEWSPAPERS
First Place: The Mobile Press Register

Second Place: Deseret Morning News
Mary Finch, section editor

Third Place: The Huntsville Times
Kay Campbell, section editor



Supple Religion Writer of the Year

First Place: Eric Gorski, for work he did at The Denver Post

Second Place: John Chadwick, The Bergen County Record (N.J.)

  • Putting Guys in the Pews
  • Giving Islam a Human Face
  • Sins of the Father
  • The Spirit Moves Them
  • Divine Advice for Passover Chefs
  • A Ministry on the March
  • Rabbi, Counselor, TV Star

Third Place: Jeff Weiss, Dallas Morning News


Television Reporting

SHORT FORM
First Place: Maria Arita, CBS II (Dallas/Fort Worth)

  • Orbs of Light

Second Place: Maria Arita, CBS II (Dallas/Fort Worth)

  • Godpodding (links not available)

Third Place: Jamey Tucker, WKRN (Nashville)

  • What do different faiths teach about hell? (links not available)

LONG FORM
First Place: Janet Vincent, NewsHour with Jim Lehrer (PBS)

  • Reflections (links not available)

Second Place: Lucky Severson, Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly

  • Religions of New Mexico (links not available)

Third Place: Kim Lawton, Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly

  • B.K.S. Lyengar (links not available)

Templeton Religion Reporter of the Year Award

First Place: Sandi Dolbee, The San Diego Union-Tribune.

Second Place: Cathleen Falsani, The Chicago Sun-Times

Third Place: Eric Gorski, for work he did at The Denver Post


Templeton Story of the Year

First Place: David O’Reilly, Philadelphia Inquirer

Second Place: Eric Gorski, for work he did at The Denver Post
"The Prosperity Gospel"

Third Place: Neil Munro, National Journal

  • "Debating Design"




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2007 RNA Contest Finalists

Listed in alphabetical order. For work published in 2006.

Cassels

  • Brett Buckner, Anniston (Ala.) Star
  • Adriana Janovich, Yakima (Wash.) Herald-Republic
  • Gloria LaBounty, The (Attleboro, Mass.) Sun Chronicle
  • Carol Reeves, Corvallis (Ore.) Gazette-Times
  • Terry Rombeck, Journal-World (Lawrence, Kan.)
  • Terri Jo Ryan, Waco (Texas) Tribune-Herald
  • Marleen Shepherd, Southern Illinoisan
  • Melanie Smith, The (Ala.) Decatur Daily
  • Larissa Theodore-Dudkiewicz, Beaver County (Pa.) Times
  • Dawn Baumgartner Vaughan, The (Durham, N.C.) Herald-Sun

Chandler

  • Lynae Anderson, Medill School of Journalism
  • Karla Bruning, Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism
  • Neha Singh Gohil, Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism
  • Jason Kane, George Washington University
  • Tess McBride, University of Oregon
  • Lauren Melnick, Barnard College
  • Shari Rabin, Boston University
  • Mrinalini Reddy, Medill School of Journalism
  • Tina Shah, Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism
  • Tara Thoel, Michigan State University

Cornell

  • John Chadwick, The Record (Bergen County, N.J.)
  • Greg Garrison, The Birmingham News
  • Michael Gartland, The Post and Courier
  • Jennifer Green, The Ottawa Citizen
  • G. Jeffrey MacDonald, The Christian Science Monitor
  • Marc Parry, Times Union (Albany, N.Y.)
  • Pamela Podger, The Roanoke Times
  • Bill Sherman, Tulsa World
  • Peggy Fletcher Stack, The Salt Lake Tribune
  • David Yonke, The (Toledo, Ohio) Blade

Radio—Long
Canceled due to lack of entries.

Radio—Short
Due to a low number of entries, no finalists
were named.

Schachern Large (circulation over 100,000)
Due to a low number of entries, no finalists
were named.

Schachern Small (circulation under 100,000)
Due to a low number of entries, no finalists
were named.

Supple

  • Alexandra Alter, The Miami Herald
  • Michelle Boorstein, The Washington Post
  • David Briggs, The (Cleveland, Ohio) Plain Dealer
  • John Chadwick, The Record (Bergen County, N.J.)
  • Alan Cooperman, The Washington Post
  • Kevin Eckstrom, Religion News Service
  • Eric Gorski, for work done at The Denver Post
  • David Haldane, Los Angeles Times
  • Michael Paulson, The Boston Globe
  • Jeffrey Weiss, The Dallas Morning News

Television Long
Due to a low number of entries, no finalists
were named.

Television Short
Due to a low number of entries, no finalists were named.

Templeton Reporter

  • David Briggs, The (Cleveland, Ohio) Plain Dealer
  • Alan Cooperman, The Washington Post
  • Sandi Dolbee, The San Diego Union-Tribune
  • Cathleen Falsani, Chicago Sun-Times
  • Jennifer Green, The Ottawa Citizen
  • Eric Gorski, for work done at The Denver Post
  • Robert King, The Indianapolis Star
  • Steve Levin, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
  • Margaret Ramirez, Chicago Tribune
  • Jeffrey Weiss, The Dallas Morning News

Templeton Story

  • Eric Gorski, for work done at The Denver Post, "The Gospel of Prosperity"
  • Tom Hundley, Chicago Tribune, "Fading Faith"
  • Gregory Katz, Houston Chronicle, "The Silent Exodus"
  • Jon Meacham, Newsweek, "Billy Graham in Twilight"
  • Neil Munro, National Journal, "Debating Design"
  • David O’ Reilly, The Philadelphia Inquirer, "Faith in Flux"
  • Michael Paulson, The Boston Globe, "Articles of Faith"
  • Nina Shapiro, Seattle Weekly, "The AIDS Evangelists"
  • Robert Sibley, Ottawa Citizen, "9/11 Five Years Later"
  • Rachel Zoll & Brian Murphy, The Associated Press, "The New Missionaries"

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11/3/2014 » 2/3/2015
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