The Catholic Courier has been named the best large-circulation Catholic arch/diocesan newspaper in the United States and Canada.
The Courier earned first place in the General Excellence category (circulation greater than 40,000) at the Catholic Press Association’s banquet and awards ceremony on May 30 at the Sheraton Centre Hotel in Toronto, Canada. This distinction — the CPA’s highest journalistic honor — was one of 13 awards received for work published in 2007 by the Courier and its Spanish-language sister publication, El Mensajero Cat√≥lico.
The General Excellence award is judged on the basis of three consecutive issues, which are rated on a number of criteria including news content, story range and writing quality, photography and graphic design. Due to its large subscriber base, the Courier competes in the association’s largest circulation bracket against the Catholic newspapers of several major metropolitan areas. Second place, third place and an honorable mention in the same category went to newspapers serving the archdioceses of St. Paul/Minneapolis, Minn.; Washington, D.C.; and New York, N.Y., respectively. Judging was conducted by the American Press Institute.
Commenting on the award-winning submission (Courier issues of February, March and April 2007), judges observed: “These were excellent stories that reflect the Catholic community in the Rochester area. There was great photography and design. The compelling cover story topics: Catholic health-care facilities in ethical dilemma while seeking partners; a look inside the Darfur crisis; global warming’s effect on the poor. Overall, an excellent paper.”
“The judges confirmed what I have long believed: The Catholic Courier is an excellent newspaper that truly serves the Diocese of Rochester and its people consistently well with breaking news, interesting features and helpful information,” said Bishop Matthew H. Clark, publisher of the Courier and El Mensajero. “I also am grateful that El Mensajero Cat√≥lico is receiving the recognition it deserves.”
“As our readers know, the Courier has made some major changes in frequency and journalistic approach over the past four years, and I am thrilled to see the tireless efforts of our staff recognized at the national level,” remarked Karen M. Franz, general manager/editor of the Courier and El Mensajero. “While many awards recognize a single photo or story, the General Excellence award — and several of the others we received from CPA — really speak to the consistently high-quality work produced by our team each and every issue. I am proud to work with such a dedicated, talented group of people.”
The CPA represents six U.S. and Canadian national newspapers; 177 arch/diocesan newspapers; 231 magazines; 113 newsletters; 49 foreign-language publications, including 15 that publish in Spanish; and a number of general publishers. Member periodicals have a combined circulation exceeding 26 million Catholic households. The association also annually presents book awards to Catholic and secular publishing houses.
The Courier’s highly successful showing in CPA judging follows five awards won at the New York Press Association convention earlier this year, giving the newspaper a total of 18 honors for 2007.
The Courier also received CPA awards for:
Individual Excellence — Photographer/Artist: Third place among all member publications went to Photo Editor Mike Crupi for a portfolio of images.
“Crupi’s entry contained a very nice silhouette that set his work above the other entries. He used nice lighting on the portrait combined with unusual composition on a couple of portraits,” judges commented.
Best Scenic/Still Life/Weather Photo: Crupi won an honorable mention among all newspapers for a photograph of balloons being released during a service memorializing five Fairport teens who died in a June 2007 car accident.
El Mensajero Cat√≥lico received the following awards:
Best News Writing, National/International Event: First place among Spanish-language publications went to staff writer Annette Jim√©nez for her yearlong coverage of immigration issues.
“The (series) illuminates the complexity of the immigration debate in the United States. It allows us to listen to voices that are rarely heard,” judges wrote.
Best In-Depth Analysis: First place among Spanish-language publications went to Jim√©nez for her migrant health-care piece, “Programa ofrece cuidados de salud a migrantes.”
“The writer went beyond the mere statement of facts and presented the stories behind the numbers,” judges wrote.
Best Photo Story: First place among all newspapers went to a package of photos by Crupi of a charismatic Mass at Rochester’s Holy Apostles Parish.
“This entry was a clear first place. The photographer used a variety of lenses and perspectives to capture storytelling moments and emotion,” judges wrote.
In the same category, Crupi also took third place for photo package on Rochester’s 2007 Puerto Rican Festival.
Best Front Page: Second place among all tabloid-sized newspapers was awarded to El Mensajero. Commending the newspaper’s story selection, photography, layout and crisp typography, judges wrote: “Ultimately, the front pages are free of unnecessary clutter and visually emphasize the community and content (they) serve.”
Best Feature Story: Jim√©nez earned second place for her story on charismatic renewal in the Hispanic community, “Los hispanos adoptan Misas carism√°ticas.”
“Of all the entries in the feature writing category, this article presented the best journalism package, by far,” judges wrote.
Best Lead Article: Third place among Spanish-language publications went to Jim√©nez and fellow staff writer Amy Kotlarz for their article on local efforts to keep at-risk youths out of gangs, “Logrando la paz con rima y razon.”
“Instead of demonizing gang members, the article demonstrates that the most effective way to fight gangs is through dialogue and communication,” judges commented.
Best Feature Photo: An honorable mention among all newspapers went to Crupi’s photo of an artist painting during a Hispanic Heritage Month event at the Rochester Museum & Science Center.
Individual Excellence, Writer/Editor: Jim√©nez also received an honorable mention in this Spanish-language category for a portfolio of articles.
Best News Writing, Local/Regional Event: Honorable mention was awarded to Jim√©nez for “Festival honra a los ‘pioneros ausentes’ de la communidad,” an article on the annual Puerto Rican Festival’s effort to honor nine local residents as “absent pioneers.”
Book author also honored
In addition to the awards to the newspapers, the Catholic Press Association also bestowed a book award on an individual author well-known in the Diocese of Rochester. Third place in the Professional Books category went to Father Kevin E. McKenna, pastor of Irondequoit’s St. Cecilia Church and soon-to-be pastor of Rochester’s Sacred Heart Cathedral, for Battle for Rights in the United States Catholic Church.
The judges wrote that Father McKenna, former chancellor for the Rochester Diocese, “has produced a timely, scholarly and extremely readable book.”
This story was updated on June 3, 2008.