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2004 RNA Contest Winners

Religion Newswriters Association announces 2004 award winners

WASHINGTON – The Religion Newswriters Association today announced the winners of its 2004 contests for excellence in religion reporting, awarding nearly $14,000 in prizes at its annual awards banquet, held at the downtown Wyndham City Center Hotel. Winners in the 10 print and broadcast contests were selected from among 277 entries and thousands of individual stories judged by current or former reporters and editors.

The number of entries was the highest ever, and the contests also featured a new category, the John M. Templeton Religion Story of the Year, which was created to showcase a single story or series on a single topic on religion in the print media. (READ MORE—PDF)

2004 RNA Contest Winners & Links to Stories

Cassels Award: Religion Reporter of the Year—Small Newspapers

First place: Gloria LaBounty, (Attleboro, Mass.) Sun Chronicle

  • Keeping her faith
  • Pulpit and People divided on war, peace
  • Gay marriage: A growing debate
  • A nun's life of prayer
  • 'Un-nunniest' nun
Second place: Maya Kremen, Herald News
  • Leaps of faith
  • Dharma & me
  • The pipes, the pipes aren't calling
  • Keeping their distance
  • Food for thought
Third place: Karen Owen-Phelps, Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer
  • Forever changed
  • Quakers embrace the silence, explore their inner lights
  • Protestants saying hola to Hispanics
  • True story: Jon Brennan
Chandler Award: Best Student Religion Reporter

First place: Andrew Olsen, Asbury College

  • A pastor accused, a congregation torn
  • When court becomes chapel
  • Say a little prayer for you
Second place: William Nathan Ross Todd, University of Missouri
  • Soul searching: Journey of faith takes many roads for new immigrants
  • Living in the presence of Swami
  • Building a holy house
Third place: Jeffrey LaBroad, Boston College
  • Last rites: Possibility of church closings a concern for local parishes
  • Bishops consider banning speakers
  • 'Renewal' kickoff event opens dialogue
Third place: Amanda Michaels, University of Notre Dame
  • A higher calling
  • ND students continue to flock to Mass
  • Mass forges friendship, community

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

First place: Peggy Fletcher Stack, The Salt Lake Tribune
  • The Brazil Connection
  • New SLC rabbi ready for all
  • Spirituality's outer limits
  • In the name of God
  • Priest in the making
Second place: Julia Duin, The Washington Times
  • Higher grounding: Tradition-rooted Christian colleges thriving
  • Answer to a prayer
  • Libraries revisit Islam
  • Priest speaks his mind
  • Scotland's St. Columba remembered
Third place: Norris Burkes, Gannett News Service
  • Homeland Security
  • Internal struggle when duty calls
  • A mother's promise
  • How does one let go?
  • Who speaks for you?
Lifetime Achievement

Recipient: David Anderson, Religion News Service

Radio Religion Reporting

Local reporting: Simone Orendain, Northern Public Radio: WNIJ-FM
  • Historic Ordination
  • A Visit to the Cherry Valley Spritualist Camp Association
  • Animal Blessings
National reporting: Barbara Bradley Hagerty, National Public Radio
  • African Anglicans: how the Episcopal church was being torn in two long before Gene Robinson
  • Mother Teresa's dark night of the soul
  • How basic theology is splitting the Christian Science Church (aired with a station break in the middle) Part 1; Part 2
Schachern Awards: Best Religion Section or Pages

Small Papers: Santa Barbara News-Press (section editor, Al Bonowitz)

Mid-sized Papers: The Salt Lake Tribune
(section editor, Peg McEntee)

Large Papers: The Dallas Morning News (section editor, Bruce Tomaso)

Supple Religion Writer of the Year

First place: Eric Gorski, The Denver Post
  • God's work facing man's judgment
  • Mormons mark '78 end of ban on black priests
  • The un-churches
  • Saint's cloak to warm faithful
  • GI's religion brings his wife comfort, love in a lonely time
Second place: John Blake, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
  • Crossing the line
  • Divided on doctrine
  • Morality amid technology
  • A different dream
  • Brotherly Love
  • In the shadows of mighty fortresses
Third place: William Lobdell, Los Angeles Times
  • Benny Hinn
  • Father Siegfried Widera
  • Muslim American athletes
  • Rick Warren/Saddleback Church
  • Hajj

Television Reporting

Kim Lawton, Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly

Templeton Religion Reporter of the Year Award

First place: Sandi Dolbee, The San Diego Union-Tribune
  • Jonestown/People's Temple
  • Marla Bennett and Rachel Corrie
  • Billy Graham/evangelicals
  • Hospice care
Second place: Bruce Nolan, The Times-Picayune
  • Bush's religious allusions cause stir
  • Perfect Harmony
  • 90 and still driving hard
  • Team spirit
  • Sex charge forces Knoth out at Loyola
Third place: Darren Barbee, Fort Worth Star-Telegram
  • Profit in the pulpit
  • Ministry gives money to Murdock's relatives
  • Satellite slots spur Christian TV fight
  • The rise of Daystar
Templeton Story of the Year

First place: Rukmini Maria Callimachi, Daily Herald
  • Passage from India: Stories of Suburban Immigrants
Second place: David Van Biema, Time Magazine
  • Missionaries Undercover
Third place: Ward Sanderson, Stars and Stripes
  • The Cross and the Anchor: War in the Chaplain Corps


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