The Catholic Key wins seven journalism awards from Catholic press group
WASHINGTON - The Catholic Key won top honors in the categories of editorials, news writing and personality profiles in the annual judging for Catholic newspapers sponsored by the Catholic Press Association. The awards for work done during 2003 were announced at the annual convention of the association May 26-28, held this year in Washington, D.C.
The Catholic Key won seven awards in all, three first place awards, a second place, a third place and two honorable mentions.
Kevin Kelly's story on Catholic middle school students lobbying Missouri legislators to increase funding for foster care (March 21) took first prize in the category of "Best reporting on children."
The judges wrote, "The writer starts with a routine event - a student rally, and turns it into a serious look at an important children's issues, the adequacy of the foster care system. The reporting is thorough."
Marty Denzer won a first place award in the category of "Best Personality Profile," for her story of a former prostitute who helps other prostitutes get off the street (Dec. 19). "The story is powerful and upbeat without being overly sentimental," the judges wrote. "It's got all the ingredients of a good movie."
Albert De Zutter's May 9 editorial on Pope John Paul II's encyclical on the Eucharist and the recourse available to Catholics in irregular marriages received first place in the category "Best editorial on a specifically national or international issue."
"This editorial dealt with a problem that many Catholics face on a regular basis: how to stay with the church through marital problems, annulment and so on," the judges wrote. "It reminded readers of what was available to them, rendering insight on an issue that could easily have been misunderstood. The editorial showed mature reflection on a very important issue."
A story by Kelly won third place in the "Best Personality Profile" category. The story told of a contribution made to by a New York plastic surgeon who, as a Vietnamese refugee, was given her opportunity for education by St. Pius X High School (Nov. 9). "The author takes a potentially dull topic - a donation - and turns it into a piece alive with vivid details," the judges wrote.
Catholic Key reporting on the closing of St. Francis Xavier School during August and September won second place in the category of "Best news writing on a local or regional event." The stories were written by Denzer, Kelly and de Zutter.
"The well-written main-bar, which gets to the point and lets the facts do the talking, lays out the simplicity of the situation," the judges wrote. "Just laying out the facts can make you feel outrage, sympathy and the feeling that there's something you want to do to help. Follow-up stories did a good job showing the impact of this decision. You read it and think, 'how did this happen?' or 'what will the children do?' and follow-up stories answer those questions."
De Zutter's editorial on the topic, entitled "Catholic schools are our treasure and our gift to society" (Aug. 29) won honorable mention in the category, "Best editorial on a local issue."
The Catholic Key's special edition on the dedication of the renewed Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception won an honorable mention in the category of "Best one-shot special section" (Feb. 21).
In addition to awards earned by The Catholic Key, a Key staffer, Rich Heffern, won second place in the category of "Best feature writing, national newspaper," for his Dec. 12 piece in The National Catholic Reporter entitled "Spirituality and the fine-tuned cosmos."
Judging for most Catholic Press awards takes place in three circulation categories: 1-17,000, 17,001-40,000, and over 40,000. The Catholic Key, with a circulation of 24,500, competes in the middle category, which is the largest with more than 70 newspapers.
Judges for the competition are drawn from the ranks of academics and professionals not related to the Catholic press.