The winners of the Catholic Press Awards were announced last month, and Black Catholics took home a number of awards, alongside others that went to coverage of stories and issues in the Black community.
The winners were announced during the Catholic Media Association’s annual conference, titled “Anchored in Hope” and held virtually from June 8-10th.
Several categories concerned social justice topics specifically, including that of creation care, workers’ rights, Whole Life ethics, poverty, and solidarity. In addition, several larger classifications concerning video content, multimedia, podcasts, and blogs, were broken down into sub-categories concerning social justice.
The third-place winner of a more general category, Photographer of the Year, went to a retiring Black member of the Catholic press, Michael Alexander of the Georgia Bulletin (the diocesan newspaper for the diocese of the Archdiocese of Atlanta). He left his post in March.
His work was included in a number of other categories, including the Bulletin’s third-place finish for Best Multimedia Package (News) and Best Online Content Not Published in Print (Photo). Both honors came for the paper’s coverage of a Catholic protest march in downtown Atlanta following the murder of George Floyd.
The Archdiocese of Washington won similarly, with its Catholic Standard paper taking second place for Best Photograph (National/International Event), captured at a Josephite-led protest march in June 2020.
Black Catholic contributors who took home awards include New Orleans’ Ty Salvant for “Time to Clean House”, which helped the Clarion Herald’s NOLA Catholic Parenting site win second for Best Blog (Topical News).
Salvant also participated in the site’s broadcast on the intersection of COVID-19 and education, which helped the Clarion win first for Best Video Panel Discussion and for Best Podcast (Topical News). The other NCP panel involved in both awards, which concerned life after a miscarriage, featured Black Catholic author Megan Lacourrege (who has written a children’s book on the topic).
The Clarion also took third for Best Regular Column (Racial Inequities), which included guest writers (and Black Catholics) Don Boucree and Fr Anthony Bozeman, SSJ. The winner of that category was “The Griot’s Cross”, a monthly Black Catholic history column from Dr. Shannen Dee Williams of the USCCB’s Catholic News Service.
The Archdiocese of Detroit took home third place for Best Podcast (Social Justice) with an episode on racism for its “Eyes on Jesus” show from Archbishop Allen Vigneron. He was joined by Fr John McKenzie—a Black priest, former monk, and author of a children’s book on St Benedict of Nursia (the founder of the order to which McKenzie once belonged).
Carol Norris Greene of Baltimore’s Catholic Review took second place in the Best Guest Column/Commentary category for “Where Do We Go From Here?”, her reflection on participating in the original March on Washington.
CNS took home first for Best Video (Social Justice) with its vignette on racism featuring Cardinal Wilton Gregory and Deacon Steven Rubio, and for Best Multimedia Package (Social Justice) with its coverage of the aforementioned protest march in DC.
Coverage in November of Gregory’s elevation to the cardinalate gained the Catholic Standard third place in Best Print Special Supplement (Bishop Transition), and Gregory’s own column on racial inequities for the US Catholic Health Association’s Health Progress journal won first place for Best Essay (Professional and Special Interest Magazines).
Another Health Progress piece, also on racial disparities in healthcare, placed first in Best Reporting on Social Justice Issues (Option for the Poor and Vulnerable); as well as second in Best Layout or Article Column (Scholarly Magazine, Prayer and Spirituality Magazines and Print Newsletters), Best Writing (Analysis), and Best Feature Article (Racial Inequities).
The Catholic Standard also won first for Best Multimedia Package Series for its groundbreaking “Black Catholic Voices” series, which interviewed parishioners from across the diocese to provide a Black perspective on the faith.
Their “Kobe the Catholic” piece took first place for news profiles of the laity, and together with two other pieces—a reflection from the LA bishops and a piece on a local high school team inspired by Bryant’s legacy—also won top honors in Best Sports reporting.
Other notable awardees
Best illustration with Graphic Design or Art
2nd: Shalom Media, “The Story Of A Continent Whose Heart Beats For God”
Honorable Mention: The Catholic Telegraph, “African Americans on the Path to Sainthood”
Best Freestanding Presentation of Online Video - Feature
Best Multimedia Package (Feature)
Best Use of Live Video in Social Media
Best Press Release
2nd: Diocese of Gary, “Catholics Invited to Fast, Pray to Support Peace and End Racism”
Best Magazine (Mission Magazines; Overseas and Home)
Best Layout or Article Column (Mission Magazine; Overseas and Home)
Best Reporting of Social Justice Issues (Life and Dignity of the Human Person)
1st: St. Anthony Messenger, “Keep Hope Alive on Death Row”
Best Magazine Coverage (Racial Inequities)
1st: America Magazine
Best Feature Article - Racial Inequities
2nd: Health Progress, “Two Zip Codes, A World Apart”
3rd: America Magazine, “How Latino Catholics Are Grappling with Their Own History of Racism”
3rd: St. Anthony Messenger, “Standing in Solidarity against Systemic Racism”
HM: America Magazine, “To fight racism, Catholics must hunger for justice like we do for the Eucharist”
Best Photograph (Holy Days/Liturgical Seasons)
Best Sports Reporting
2nd: America Magazine, “The Rules of the Game”
Personality Profiles - Laity
HM: FAITH Lansing, "I made a vow to make a difference in people's lives"
Best Sports Journalism - Sports Feature or Column
Best Reporting of Social Justice Issues (Solidarity)
HM: FAITH Lansing, “Special report: Racism what does the Church say?”
1st: Angelus News, “Flannery O’Connor’s moral drama”
Best Photograph – Color
Best Regular Column by Bishop or Archbishop
Best Regular Column - Racial Inequities
Best Newspaper Coverage - Racial Inequities
1st: Florida Catholic
HM: The Record, “Justice depends on us all”
Best Coverage of Pro-Life Issues
2nd: The Criterion, Death Penalty Coverage
Best Editorial on a Local Issue - Diocesan newspaper
HM: Arkansas Catholic, “Hate crimes law is long overdue in state”
Best Analysis/Background/Round-Up News Writing - The Gerard E. Sherry Award - Diocesan
Best News Writing on a Local or Regional Event - One Shot
HM: The Tablet, “Coronavirus and Mass Incarceration”
Best Personality Profile - National Newspaper or Wire Service
Best Reporting on a Special Age-Group - Young adults (18-40)
HM: The Tablet, “Young Musician Is in Tune With Ministry”
Best Reporting on Catholic Education
HM: Catholic Standard, “For St. Thomas More Principal, College And Heaven Are Goals For His Young Scholars”
Best Story and Photo Package
1st: Catholic Standard, “New library at St. Thomas More Catholic Academy seen as opening a ‘new world of possibilities”
Best Reporting of Social Justice Issues - Care for God's Creation
1st: National Catholic Reporter, “Sharon Lavigne's fighting faith on the bayou”
Best Reporting of Social Justice Issues - Life and Dignity of the Human Person
Best Reporting of Social Justice Issues - Rights and Responsibilities
HM: Catholic Health World, “Catholic health care uses dialogue, therapy, education to advance racial equity”
Best Reporting of Social Justice Issues - Solidarity
1st: Florida Catholic, “‘I want you to be my brother’”
HM: National Catholic Reporter, “What to do about white privilege”
Series - Radio
Special or Documentary
Best Podcast (Audio)
Best Front Page
Best Use of Graphics with an Article
1st: The Barry Buccaneer, “A Star Too Soon in the Sky”
Best Use of Graphics with an Article
Best Single Photo
Best Writing (Single Story)
Best Example of Teaching of the Church
1st: Loyola Maroon, “Opinion: Pro-Life means supporting the Black Lives Matter Movement”
Hot Topic - Current Events Affecting Student Life (Blog)
Books for Ages 11 – 16
Faithful Citizenship/ Religious Freedom
2nd: Orbis Books, “Keeping Hope Alive: Sermons and Speeches of Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr.” by Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr.; edited by Grace Ji-Sun Kim
Nate Tinner-Williams is co-founder and editor of Black Catholic Messenger, in priesthood formation with the Josephites, and a ThM student with the Institute for Black Catholic Studies at Xavier University of Louisiana (XULA).