Catholic Spirit wins news awards

| June 20, 2014 | 0 Comments

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The Catholic Spirit garnered three first-place awards, two second places, a third place and a cluster of honorable mentions in the annual newspaper competition of the Catholic Press Association of the United States and Canada.

The awards were presented June 20 at the annual Catholic Media Conference, held this year in Charlotte, N.C.

First-place honors went to The Spirit’s Dave Hrbacek for best feature story and to outgoing editor Joe Towalski for best editorial on a local issue.

“Faith in the Public Arena,” the column by members of the Minnesota Catholic Conference staff that is syndicated by The Catholic Spirit, earned first place for best regular general commentary column.

Judges praised Hrbacek’s winning story about the mother of the terminally ill Zach Sobiech, “In the quiet stillness of suffering, Mary resides,” for “a wonderful beginning that pulls readers immediately into this story that combines faith with life and death. And the winner is faith.”

Towalski’s winning editorial, “It’s time to start looking into the faces of the poor,” was called “Outstanding encouragement of Gospel values and practice.”

About the Minnesota Catholic Conference column, judges chose it as the top entry because, in their words, “The Faith in the Public Arena columns address tough issues in a straight-forward, thought-provoking way. The graphic presentation — often with visuals, pullout quotes and subheads — attracts reader interest. Noteworthy is the call to action at the end of [Jessica] Zittlow’s column; readers often want to know, ‘What can I do?’ ”.

Towalski’s editorial “Society in need of flavoring with Catholic salt” which took second place for best editorial on a national or international issue, was called “a more informative and creative way to consider a good Catholic Christian life.”

The Catholic Spirit also earned second-place honors for best coverage of religious liberty for stories about the “Fortnight for Freedom.” Judges especially noted the newspaper’s suggestions for 14 ways to celebrate the fortnight.

The new look of The Catholic Spirit — as of September last year — garnered a third-place award for best redesign. The collaboration of Towalski and Catholic Spirit designer Caron Olhoft “screams ‘energy,’ ” judges noted, “which is according to strategy. Younger readers will appreciate the care you took.”

Earning honorable mention for The Catholic Spirit were:

  • Hrbacek’s series of stories on the life and death of Stillwater teen songwriter Zach Sobiech, for best reporting on a special age group/children and teens.
  • Hrbacek’s “Making the right choice,” for best feature writing.
  • The Catholic Spirit’s “Lent” section, for best seasonal issue, produced by the staff.

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Category: Featured, Local News