Catholic Courier wins 21 awards for 2023 work - Catholic Courier
A girl carries flowers.

Sixth-grader Lucille Brown from Brighton’s Seton Catholic School waits to process into Mass carrying flowers to be placed at the base of a statue of Mary during the Catholic schools’ 2023 May crowning Mass. Catholic Courier Chief Photographer Jeff Witherow won third place Catholic Media Association award for this photo. (Courier photo by Jeff Witherow)

Catholic Courier wins 21 awards for 2023 work

In addition to the Father John Catoir Social Media Evangelization Award, the Catholic Courier won 21 other awards from the Catholic Media Association for work published in 2023, including third-place for photographer of the year and an honorable mention for best non-weekly newspaper.

The Catholic Media Association represents more than 600 Catholic publications in the United States and Canada. The organization’s annual conference and awards dinner took place June 18-21 in Atlanta, Ga.

The Catholic Courier won the following awards:

General Individual Excellence

Photographer of the Year

Chief Photographer Jeff Witherow received third place in the photographer of the year category for a body of his work from 2023.

“People/faith-focused approach captures emotions from solemn to hopeful to joyous,” the judge wrote. “Excellent mix of angles, ranges, and colors to create varied compositions.”

Best Newspaper

Best Newspaper — Non Weekly

The Catholic Courier staff received an honorable mention in this category.

First-Place Awards

Best Multimedia Package — Depiction of Religious Life

Witherow and Digital Content Producer Gina Capellazzi won first place for the Priest Life video series that profiled the vocational journeys and current ministries of several diocesan priests.

“The video struck a good balance between being informative and engaging with its use of photos to illustrate the topic,” the judge wrote.

Best News Writing on a Local or Regional Event — Non-Weekly

Staff Writers Mike Latona and Jennifer Burke, along with former Staff Writer Amy Kotlarz Knapp, won first place for their news writing coverage on the life, death and legacy of Bishop Matthew H. Clark.

“No stone left unturned in this reporter’s reporting. What could have been a surface-level obituary piece was transformed into a richly written memorial that recounts the seemingly glorious life of Bishop Clark, from early life to his death and beyond,” the judge commented. “The reader learns a lot through story. Deeply detailed but an easy read.”

Best Seasonal Issue — Digital Only

Capellazzi and Witherow won first place for the 2023 digital Advent Calendar.

“The Catholic Courier interactive Advent calendar is both creative and comprehensive, offering readers a rich array of content,” the judge wrote. “From diocesan activities to seasonal recipes, stroies about saints, and exploration of Catholic religious traditions from diverse ethnic backgrounds, the calendar is engaging and inclusive. It provides a fun and inviting way for readers to delve into the Advent season and deepen their spiritual journey.”

Second-Place Awards

Best Multimedia Package — Feature

Capellazzi and Witherow won second place for their multimedia project on the 2023 New York State Eucharistic Congress, which took place Oct. 20-22, 2023, at the Our Lady of the North American Martyrs Shrine in Auriesville, N.Y.

Best Multimedia Package — The Eucharistic Revival

The “Inside New York State Eucharistic Congress” multimedia project also won second place in this category.

“The Catholic Courier’s coverage of New York State’s Eucharistic Congress in Auriesville, NY, is a standout project that skillfully combines narrative storytelling with compelling visuals,” the judge wrote. “Through strong photgraphs and videos, the author takes the reader on a journey, allowing them to experience the event up close and personal. The project effectively captures the essence of the Congress, providing readers with a deeper appreciation of the participants and the significance of the moment.”

Best Social Media Campaign, The Eucharistic Revival

In addition to winning the Father John Catoir Social Media Evangelization Award, the Catholic Courier’s Mass Matters social media series won second place in this category.

“The campaign was a creative and interesting way to actively engage with readers and highlight their own thoughts and comments about the importance of Mass,” the judge commented.

Best Use of Video on Social Media — Ongoing Series, Diocesan and National News Organizations

Capellazzi and Witherow won second place for their use of video on social media for the Priest Life video series.

Best Photograph — Portrait

Witherow took home second-place honors for his photo of Father Timothy Horan taken during the spring 2023.

Third-Place Awards

Best Use of Video on Social Media — News Organization

Staff Writer Elena Cambio and Marketing Manager Heidi Huntington won third place for their social media reel of a eucharistic procession at St. Bernard’s School of Theology and Ministry.

“Nice camera work,” the judge wrote. “Editing kept this colorful video moving along nicely.”

Best Reporting on the Celebration of a Sacrament

Burke won third place for her story on the more than 150 people from the Rochester Diocese who were received into the Catholic Church in 2023.

“This is a basic assignment elevated by tight writing, a great lede and a beautiful touch in circling back to that lede in the ending. Very impressive work,” the judge said.

Best Sports Journalism — Sports Feature of Column

Burke won third place for her story on Buffalo Bills chaplain Len Vanden Bos, who seeks to draw players and coaches to God.

“Thorough, in-depth look at the importance of faith. Well written and engaging. Excellent work,” the judge wrote.

Best Photograph — Catholic Education

Witherow won third place for a photo of a Catholic-school student honoring Mary during the Catholic schools’ May crowning Mass.

“Superb use of light, color and composition to summarize the story and powerfully underscores the story’s central theme with an artistic flare,” the judge said.

Honorable Mentions

Best Photo Gallery or Slideshow

Witherow received an honorable mention for his photo gallery of field days at Catholic schools.

Best Video — The Clergy, Diocesan and National News Organizations

Witherow won honorable mention for his video “Is the Lord calling me to be a priest?” that was featured in the Priest Life series.

Best Use of Social Media for Breaking News

Huntington, Witherow, Graphics Manager Matt Saxon and former Courier Staff Photographer Greg Francis received an honorable mention for their social media posts on the passing and funeral of Bishop Clark.

Best Online Content Not Published in Print — Photo

Witherow won honorable mention for his photos of students at St. Agnes School in Avon remembering Sept. 11, 2001.

Best News Writing on a Local or Regional Event — Non-Weekly

Latona and Cambio received an honorable mention for their news writing on refugees and asylum seekers in Rochester.

Best Reporting of Social Justice Issues — Life and Dignity of the Human Person

Latona also received an honorable mention for his news writing on Rochester welcoming asylum seekers in the fall 2023.

Best Print Special Supplement — Regular Special Supplement

The Catholic Courier won honorable mention for its 2023 May Vocations and Milestones print issue.

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