National Catholic Reporter
The Independent Newsweekly
Issue Date:  June 18, 2004

NCR honored for excellence


For the fifth year in a row, the National Catholic Reporter received the Catholic Press Association’s highest honor, taking first place in general excellence for national newspapers.

Our Sunday Visitor won second place and Toronto-based The Catholic Register took third. The awards were announced May 28.

The judges said their choice of NCR for general excellence was unanimous. “This is the best national newspaper because of its unparalleled Catholic journalism perspective,” the judges said. They cited “balanced national and international reporting,” “well-written and reader-friendly articles” and “strong reader response in letters to the editor that represent a refreshing diversity of views.”

NCR finished a close second behind Our Sunday Visitor for best editorial page or editorial section. The judges said both papers featured equally good writing, but Our Sunday Visitor had superior layout. An NCR editorial, “Growing cost of mandatory celibacy” (Oct. 17, 2003), won third place for best editorial on a national or international issue.

NCR staff and contributors picked up 12 awards from the press association.

Margot Patterson, opinion editor, took top honors in two categories, best feature writing in a national newspaper for her cover story “Finding family at the Catholic Worker” (March 7, 2003), and best personality profile in a national newspaper for her article on Notre Dame professor Scott Appleby, “Historian in demand” (Dec. 26).

Arthur Jones, editor at large, won second place in the personality profile category for his article on M. Scott Peck (Nov. 7). Jones also received an honorable mention for the Eileen Egan Award for Humanitarian Reporting from Catholic Relief Services, the U.S. bishops’ development aid organization.

Longtime columnist Colman McCarthy won first place for best sports feature or column for his profile, “She taught Sammy, Julio, Rico, Pepe” (Oct. 3), about Sr. Lenore Gibb, a teacher in the Dominican Republic whose former students include at least 25 major-league baseball players.

Contributor Claire Schaeffer-Duffy won third place in investigative reporting and second place in analysis writing for her “Uncle Sam hustles to keep the ranks filled” (March 21 and 28, 2003) about military recruiting in high schools. The judges cited Schaeffer-Duffy’s “vivid imagery, extensive detail and stellar writing.”

Teresa Malcolm, news editor, received an honorable mention in investigative reporting for her story “Turmoil in Texas” (Aug. 21, 2003) about the firing of unionized parish staff in McAllen, Texas, and their subsequent reinstatement.

Best feature writing, national newspaper, second place, went to NCR contributor Rich Heffern’s “Spirituality and the fine-tuned cosmos” (Dec. 12).

Film critic Joseph Cunneen, media commentator Jesuit Fr. Raymond Schroth and music reviewer Matt Stoulil, who is also NCR’s layout assistant, shared third place honors for best regular column on culture, arts and leisure.

Toni-Ann Ortiz, art director, took a third place and an honorable mention in information graphics for a chart, “Comparison of major health care reform proposals” (Oct. 24), and a graphic presentation of NCR’s Web site redesign (May 9, 2003). The Web site placed third for best Web sites.

National Catholic Reporter, June 18, 2004

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