ROCHESTER — Karen M. Franz, editor and general manager of the Catholic Courier is the 2009 winner of the St. Francis de Sales Award, the highest honor given to an individual by the Catholic Press Association.
The award was presented May 29 during the Catholic Media Convention in Anaheim, Calif. The St. Francis de Sales Award is given annually for "outstanding contributions to Catholic journalism."
Franz told Catholic News Service June 1 she was humbled to win the award, especially given that other "stalwarts" of Catholic journalism were nominated.
"It was an even bigger honor to win the prize and look out at the sea of people at the luncheon," she said. "It was amazing to think of the previous winners and to be there among the past winners. It was a very much a humbling experience.
"I very much appreciate the honor," she added.
Franz’s nomination stated that her "passion for the Catholic press, twinned with good humor, has served as a model for editors throughout the country and for women determined to pursue their vocations as Catholic journalists."
Franz began her career at the Catholic Courier in 1985 as editor. In 1989, while continuing her responsibilities as editor, she became assistant general manager and was promoted to general manager six years later.
The newspaper has been in the forefront of new technology, having launched its Web site in 1996 with continuous updates in design and content. In 2004 she led an effort to change the paper’s publication schedule from weekly to monthly, with greater emphasis on delivering new content daily through its Web site.
Franz said the newspaper continues to broaden its digital communication outreach through networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
The newspaper has won numerous CPA awards for its journalism, including general excellence awards in 2008 and 2009.
In addition to her work at the newspaper, Franz has held various leadership positions in the CPA, including president from 2000 to 2002, vice president from 1998 to 2000 and treasurer from 1996 to 1998.