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Black Catholics win big in Catholic Press Awards

African Americans were counted among the creators, co-creators, and subjects of a number of award-winning Catholic media pieces last year. We have a list.

The winners of the Catholic Press Awards were announced last month, and Black Catholics took home a number of awards, alongside others that went to coverage of stories and issues in the Black community.

The winners were announced during the Catholic Media Association’s annual conference, titled “Anchored in Hope” and held virtually from June 8-10th.

Several categories concerned social justice topics specifically, including that of creation care, workers’ rights, Whole Life ethics, poverty, and solidarity. In addition, several larger classifications concerning video content, multimedia, podcasts, and blogs, were broken down into sub-categories concerning social justice.

The third-place winner of a more general category, Photographer of the Year, went to a retiring Black member of the Catholic press, Michael Alexander of the Georgia Bulletin (the diocesan newspaper for the diocese of the Archdiocese of Atlanta). He left his post in March.

His work was included in a number of other categories, including the Bulletin’s third-place finish for Best Multimedia Package (News) and Best Online Content Not Published in Print (Photo). Both honors came for the paper’s coverage of a Catholic protest march in downtown Atlanta following the murder of George Floyd.

The Archdiocese of Washington won similarly, with its Catholic Standard paper taking second place for Best Photograph (National/International Event), captured at a Josephite-led protest march in June 2020.

Philadelphia’s diocesan news website took second in Best Photo Story (News) and Best Photograph (General News Photo) for its coverage of a protest as well, an ecumenical event held that same month.

Black Catholic contributors who took home awards include New Orleans’ Ty Salvant for “Time to Clean House”, which helped the Clarion Herald’s NOLA Catholic Parenting site win second for Best Blog (Topical News).

Salvant also participated in the site’s broadcast on the intersection of COVID-19 and education, which helped the Clarion win first for Best Video Panel Discussion and for Best Podcast (Topical News). The other NCP panel involved in both awards, which concerned life after a miscarriage, featured Black Catholic author Megan Lacourrege (who has written a children’s book on the topic).

The Clarion also took third for Best Regular Column (Racial Inequities), which included guest writers (and Black Catholics) Don Boucree and Fr Anthony Bozeman, SSJ. The winner of that category was “The Griot’s Cross”, a monthly Black Catholic history column from Dr. Shannen Dee Williams of the USCCB’s Catholic News Service.

The Archdiocese of Detroit took home third place for Best Podcast (Social Justice) with an episode on racism for its “Eyes on Jesus” show from Archbishop Allen Vigneron. He was joined by Fr John McKenzie—a Black priest, former monk, and author of a children’s book on St Benedict of Nursia (the founder of the order to which McKenzie once belonged).

Carol Norris Greene of Baltimore’s Catholic Review took second place in the Best Guest Column/Commentary category for “Where Do We Go From Here?”, her reflection on participating in the original March on Washington.

CNS took home first for Best Video (Social Justice) with its vignette on racism featuring  Cardinal Wilton Gregory and Deacon Steven Rubio, and for Best Multimedia Package (Social Justice) with its coverage of the aforementioned protest march in DC.

Coverage in November of Gregory’s elevation to the cardinalate gained the Catholic Standard third place in Best Print Special Supplement (Bishop Transition), and Gregory’s own column on racial inequities for the US Catholic Health Association’s Health Progress journal won first place for Best Essay (Professional and Special Interest Magazines).

Another Health Progress piece, also on racial disparities in healthcare, placed first in Best Reporting on Social Justice Issues (Option for the Poor and Vulnerable); as well as second in Best Layout or Article Column (Scholarly Magazine, Prayer and Spirituality Magazines and Print Newsletters), Best Writing (Analysis), and Best Feature Article (Racial Inequities).

The Catholic Standard also won first for Best Multimedia Package Series for its groundbreaking “Black Catholic Voices” series, which interviewed parishioners from across the diocese to provide a Black perspective on the faith.

Another notable awardee was the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, whose Angelus News won big for its coverage of the faith life of the late Kobe Bryant, who died tragically last January.

Their “Kobe the Catholic” piece took first place for news profiles of the laity, and together with two other pieces—a reflection from the LA bishops and a piece on a local high school team inspired by Bryant’s legacy—also won top honors in Best Sports reporting.

Other notable awardees

Best illustration with Graphic Design or Art

2nd: Shalom Media, “The Story Of A Continent Whose Heart Beats For God
Honorable Mention: The Catholic Telegraph, “African Americans on the Path to Sainthood

Best Freestanding Presentation of Online Video - Feature

HM Arlington Catholic Herald, “Who is Jeremy Roach

Best Multimedia Package (Feature)

1st: Busted Halo, “Faith in Action: Resources for Today’s Anti-Racist Catholic

Best Use of Live Video in Social Media

3rd: Catholic Review, “Baltimore City Prayer Service

Best Press Release

2nd: Diocese of Gary, “Catholics Invited to Fast, Pray to Support Peace and End Racism

Best Magazine (Mission Magazines; Overseas and Home)

1st: The Josephite Harvest

Best Redesign

3rd: The Josephite Harvest

Best Layout or Article Column (Mission Magazine; Overseas and Home)

The Josephite Harvest
St. Anthony Messenger, “Keep Hope Alive on Death Row

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

1st: St. Anthony Messenger, “Keep Hope Alive on Death Row

Best Magazine Coverage (Racial Inequities)

1st: America Magazine

2nd: Angelus News, “Conversations and conversion”, “The ultimate scapegoat”, “George Floyd and us”, “My K Street epiphany”, “It should not be this way

3rd: Northwest Catholic, Addressing racism in our hearts and community (and general coverage)

Living City Magazine, “A Call for change
Columbia, “That We May Be One”; “The Knights of Columbus and Racial Equality”; “The Choice of Charity

Best Feature Article - Racial Inequities

2nd: Health Progress, “Two Zip Codes, A World Apart

3rd: America Magazine, “How Latino Catholics Are Grappling with Their Own History of Racism

Best Editorial

3rd: St. Anthony Messenger, “Standing in Solidarity against Systemic Racism

HM: America Magazine, “To fight racism, Catholics must hunger for justice like we do for the Eucharist

Best Photograph (Holy Days/Liturgical Seasons)

3rd: Catholic Standard, “Archbishop Gregory lights Easter candle

Best Sports Reporting

2nd: America Magazine, “The Rules of the Game

Best Interview

2nd: FAITH Lansing, "I made a vow to make a difference in people's lives"

Personality Profiles - Laity

HM: FAITH Lansing, "I made a vow to make a difference in people's lives"

Best Sports Journalism - Sports Feature or Column

HM: Arlington Catholic Herald, “Duke's next basketball star?

Best Reporting of Social Justice Issues (Solidarity)

HM: FAITH Lansing, “Special report: Racism what does the Church say?

Best Review

1st: Angelus News, “Flannery O’Connor’s moral drama

HM: American Catholic Studies, “Book Review - Thea Bowman: Faithful and Free, By Maurice J. Nutt, CSsR

Best Photograph – Color


Best Regular Column by Bishop or Archbishop

1st: The Tablet, “The Evil of Racism Must End Now

Best Regular Column - Racial Inequities

2nd: The Tablet, “The Killing of Ahmaud Arbery”; “One Hundred Thousand Deaths … and Then One More”; “From George Floyd to George Washington

HM: Denver Catholic, “Jesus desires to heal wounds of racism

Best Newspaper Coverage - Racial Inequities

1st: Florida Catholic

2nd: Our Sunday Visitor, “Combating racism”; “Now is not the time to silence conversations on race”; “Can Catholics support Black Lives Matter?”

3rd: National Catholic Reporter, “What to do about white privilege”; “Mother continues hunger strike”; “Activists demand change in policing on Catholic campuses

HM: Detroit Catholic, “Speaking Out for Equality, Anti-Racism Is The Catholic Thing To Do

HM: The Record, “Justice depends on us all”

Best Coverage of Pro-Life Issues

2nd: The Criterion, Death Penalty Coverage

Best Editorial on a Local Issue - Diocesan newspaper

HM: Arkansas Catholic, “Hate crimes law is long overdue in state”

Best Analysis/Background/Round-Up News Writing - The Gerard E. Sherry Award - Diocesan

1st: Catholic Sentinel, “Racism's Roots in Oregon

Best News Writing on a Local or Regional Event - One Shot

HM: The Tablet, “Coronavirus and Mass Incarceration

Best Personality Profile - National Newspaper or Wire Service

HM: National Catholic Register, “94-Year-Old Doctor, Granddaughter of a Slave, Continues to Inspire

Best Reporting on a Special Age-Group - Young adults (18-40)

HM: The Tablet, “Young Musician Is in Tune With Ministry

Best Reporting on Catholic Education

HM: Catholic Standard, “For St. Thomas More Principal, College And Heaven Are Goals For His Young Scholars

Best Story and Photo Package

1st: Catholic Standard, “New library at St. Thomas More Catholic Academy seen as opening a ‘new world of possibilities

Best Reporting of Social Justice Issues - Care for God's Creation

1st: National Catholic Reporter, “Sharon Lavigne's fighting faith on the bayou

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

HM: Clarion Herald, “Faith leaders call for end to solitary confinement

Best Reporting of Social Justice Issues - Rights and Responsibilities

3rd: Catholic Health World, “Civil unrest in the U.S. could be planting much-needed seeds of change, say ministry leaders

HM: Catholic Health World, “Catholic health care uses dialogue, therapy, education to advance racial equity

Best Reporting of Social Justice Issues - Solidarity

1st: Florida Catholic, “‘I want you to be my brother’

HM: National Catholic Reporter, “What to do about white privilege”

Gabriel awards

Feature Film

1st: Lifetime, The Clark Sisters: First Ladies of Gospel

Series - Radio

1st: NPR, Mississippi Prisons in Crisis

Special or Documentary

HM: Florentine Films. “East Lake Meadows: A Public Housing Story

Best Podcast (Audio)

HM: The Busted Halo Show With Father Dave Dwyer, “‘A Real Wake-Up Call’: Father Bryan Massingale on Racism and the Way Forward

Student awards

Best Front Page

1st: The Barry Buccaneer, “Black Lives Matter

Best Use of Graphics with an Article

1st: The Barry Buccaneer, “A Star Too Soon in the Sky

Best Use of Graphics with an Article

3rd: Loyola Maroon, “Ending racism is God's justice

Best Single Photo

1st: The DePaulia, “Chicago Protests

HM: Loyola Maroon, “Protestors gather near South Carrollton to protest the Black injustices in New Orleans, Thursday, Sept. 24, 2020.

Best Writing (Single Story)

HM: 14 East, “Beware of the White Gaze

Best Example of Teaching of the Church

1st: Loyola Maroon, “Opinion: Pro-Life means supporting the Black Lives Matter Movement

Hot Topic - Current Events Affecting Student Life (Blog)

HM: The Summit, “Letter from professors spurs Zoom meeting”; “Students in Action will lead a sit-in”; “Sit-in opens discussion on diversity to protest racial injustice

Book awards

Books for Ages 11 – 16

3rd: Paulist Press, “Sister Thea Bowman: Do You Hear Me, Church?” by Peggy A. Sklar

Faithful Citizenship/ Religious Freedom

2nd: Orbis Books, “Keeping Hope Alive: Sermons and Speeches of Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr.” by Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr.; edited by Grace Ji-Sun Kim

Nate Tinner-Williams is co-founder and editor of Black Catholic Messenger, in priesthood formation with the Josephites, and a ThM student with the Institute for Black Catholic Studies at Xavier University of Louisiana (XULA).

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