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2010 RNA Contest Winners
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September 25, 2010
Religion Newswriters Association honors top religion reporting

DENVER (RNS) — Religion reporters from The Washington Post and The New York Times won top honors Saturday (Sept. 25) at the 2010 Religion Newswriters Association's annual awards competition.

The RNA also honored former New York Times religion reporter Gustav Niebuhr with its William A. Reed Lifetime Achievement Award. Niebuhr, who left the beat in 2001, now teaches at Syracuse University.

William Wan of The Washington Post won first-place in the Supple Religion Writer of the Year award, followed by Michael Paulson of the Boston Globe and Eric Gorski of The Associated Press.

Veteran religion reporter Laurie Goodstein won the reporting award for The New York Times, followed by the AP's Gorski, Peter Smith of The Courier-Journal in Louisville, Ky., and Rachel Zoll of the AP (honorable mention).

In the Cassels Religion Reporter of the Year contest for small newspapers, first place went to Melissa Burke of the York (Pa.) Daily Record, followed by Ron Cassie of The Frederick (Md.) News-Post and Amy Umble of The Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va.

The Cornell Religion Reporter of the Year award for mid-sized newspapers went to Jenny Green of the Ottawa Citizen, followed by Peggy Fletcher Stack of The Salt Lake Tribune and Bob Smietana of The Tennessean in Nashville.

Awards of excellence in radio religion reporting went to Katie Davis and Laura Kwerel of Interfaith Voices, followed by freelancer Genevieve Oger, Capital Public Radio and Arun Venugopal of WNYC Radio (honorable mention). The PBS program Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly swept all three television awards for work done by Kate Seelye, Kim Lawton and Deborah Potter.

The Schachern Award for Multimedia Reporting went to The Salt Lake Tribune, followed by Manya Brachear of The Chicago Tribune, The Courier-Journal in Louisville, and one honorable mention to Jenny Green of The Ottawa Citizen and a second honorable mention to the staff of The Wichita Eagle.

The Chandler Student Religion Reporter of the Year went to Evan Pondel of the University of Southern California, followed by Jeremy Blaney of Michigan State University, Tiffany Stanley of Harvard University, and Kate Shellnutt of Northwestern University (honorable mention).

© 2010 Religion News Service. This release may be reproduced as long as Religion News Service is credited.



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2010 RNA Contest winners

Links to stories given where available.


Cassels Award: Religion Reporter of the Year — Small Newspapers

First place: Melissa Burke, York Daily Record

Second place: Ron Cassie, The Frederick News-Post

Third place: Amy Umble, The Free Lance-Star


Chandler Award: Best Student Religion Reporter


First place: Evan Pondel, University of Southern California

Second place: Jeremy Blaney, Michigan State University

Third Place: Tiffany Stanley, Harvard University

Honorable mention: Kate Shellnutt, Northwestern University


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


First place: Jenny Green, The Ottawa Citizen

Second place: Peggy Fletcher Stack, The Salt Lake Tribune

Third place: Bob Smietana, The Tennessean


Radio Religion Report of the Year

First place: Katie Davis and Laura Kwerel, Interfaith Voices

Second place: Genevieve Oger, freelancer

Third place: Capital Public Radio

Honorable mention: Arun Venugopal, WNYC Radio


Religion Reporter of the Year Award

First place: Laurie Goodstein, The New York Times

Second place: Eric Gorski, The Associated Press

Third place: Peter Smith, The Courier-Journal

Honorable mention: Rachel Zoll, The Associated Press


Schachern Award for Multimedia Reporter of the Year

First place: The Salt Lake Tribune

Second place: Manya Brachear, Chicago Tribune

Third place: The Courier-Journal

Honorable mention: Jenny Green, The Ottawa Citizen

Honorable mention: The Wichita Eagle


Supple Religion Writer of the Year

First place: William Wan, The Washington Post

Second place: Michael Paulson, The Boston Globe

Third place: Eric Gorski, The Associated Press


Television Report of the Year

First place: Kate Seelye, Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly

Second place: Kim Lawton, Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly

Third place: Deborah Potter, Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly



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2010 RNA Contest Finalists

Congratulations to the following finalists in the 2010 RNA Annual Contests for Religion Reporting Excellence!


Listed in alphabetical order. For work published/broadcast in 2009. Contests will small numbers of entries do not list finalists.


Cassels Religion Report of the Year -- Small-sized Newspapers
  • Issac Bailey, The (Myrtle Beach, S.C.) Sun News
  • Brett Buckner, The Anniston (Ala.) Star
  • Melissa Nann Burke, York (Pa.) Daily Record
  • Ron Cassie, Frederick (Md.) News-Post
  • Baylie Evans, Wyoming Tribune Eagle
  • Glenn Evans, Longview (Texas) News-Journal
  • Sara Schilling, Tri-City (Wash.) Herald
  • Tracie Simer, The Jackson (Tenn.) Sun
  • Melanie Smith, The Decatur (Ala.) Daily
  • Amy Umble, The Free-Lance Star (Fredericksburg, Va.)
Chandler Student Religion Reporter of the Year
  • Jeremy Blaney, Michigan State University
  • Catherine Cheney, Yale University
  • Kaellen Hessel, Marquette University
  • Emily Ponder, University of Missouri
  • Evan Pondel, University of Southern California
  • Kate Shellnutt, Northwestern University
  • Courtney Shove, University of Missouri
  • Tiffany Stanley, Harvard University
  • Sanette Tanaka, Duke University
  • Amanda Thompson, Gordon College
Cornell Religion Reporter of the Year -- Mid-sized Newspapers
  • Jim Carney, Akron (Ohio) Beacon Journal
  • Richard Dujardin, The Providence (R.I.) Journal
  • Doug Erickson, Wisconsin State Journal
  • Jenny Green, Ottawa Citizen
  • Mark Harper, Daytona Beach (Fla.) News-Journal
  • Mark Hunter, for work done at The (Baton Rouge, La.) Advocate
  • Bronnie Kush, (Worcester, Mass.) Telegram & Gazette
  • Adam Parker, The (Charleston, S.C.) Post and Courier
  • Bob Smietana, The Tennessean
  • Peggy Fletcher Stack, The Salt Lake (Utah) Tribune
Religion Reporter of the Year
  • Daniel Burke, Religion News Service
  • Tim Funk, The Charlotte (N.C.) Observer
  • Laurie Goodstein, The New York Times
  • Eric Gorski, The Associated Press
  • Abe Levy, San Antonio (Texas) Express-News
  • Michael Paulson, The Boston Globe
  • Peter Smith, The (Louisville, Ky.) Courier-Journal
  • Peggy Fletcher Stack, The Salt Lake (Utah) Tribune
  • David Van Biema, TIME Magazine
  • Rachel Zoll, The Associated Press
Supple Religion Writer of the Year
  • Adelle Banks, Religion News Service
  • Michelle Bearden, The Tampa Tribune
  • Manya Brachear, Chicago Tribune
  • Eric Gorski, The Associated Press
  • Nicole Neroulias, Religion News Service
  • Michael Paulson, The Boston Globe
  • Yonat Shimron, The (Raleigh, N.C.) News & Observer
  • Tim Townsend, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
  • William Wan, The Washington Post
  • Rachel Zoll, The Associated Press

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