The Catholic Anchor earned seven awards for excellence in journalism at the annual competition sponsored by the Catholic Press Association of the United States and Canada (CPA).
The awards, for work published in 2013, were announced June 20 at the annual Catholic Media Convention in Charlotte, NC.
The Anchor, now in its 15th year of operation, consistently wins in secular and religious journalism competitions. This year’s seven awards are in addition to the three awards received earlier this year at the annual Alaska Press Association.
At the Catholic Press Association, the Anchor won awards in several classes, both in the open category against all publications and in the category of diocesan newspapers from around the nation and Canada with circulations up to 17,000. Judges of this year’s competition included a Pulitzer Prize juror along with veteran editors and journalists with experience editing and writing for publications such as America magazine, the Associated Press, Sports Illustrated, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and others. Judges also included professors of journalism from around the country.
Competing against all classes, including the largest national newspapers, the Catholic Anchor took second place for “Best Editorial Page.” Judges noted the “strong writing,” along with “interesting letters to the editor and guest commentaries, especially those on Catholic education.”
For overall general excellence for a diocesan newspaper with a circulation of up to 17,000, the Catholic Anchor took second place. Judges praised the “Longer articles, well displayed” that “provide a strong impression of the Catholic community and its challenges.” The judges also noted the selection of “good national and international stories” that “provide a sense of the Catholic world elsewhere.”
Competing against all classes, including the largest national newspapers Anchor Editor Joel Davidson received honorable mention for “Individual Excellence” as an editor.
Additionally, in the category of “Best Editorial” on a local issue, he took first place for a piece that challenged pro-abortion activists to back the birth option.
Judges noted that the editorial “stands on Catholic principles and at the same time delivers an argument for compassion for pregnant women who are struggling most in need of support from the church and others.”
LOCAL REPORTING WINS
The Anchor earned two awards for best news writing on a local issue.
Assistant Editor Patricia Coll Freeman won first place for her article on the cloistered nuns who serve at Blessed Sacrament Monastery. Judges called the article an “interesting story, and one built on the unexpected” that “illuminated the lives of nuns.”
Anchor writer Mario Bird took third place for his article “Catholic dad fights bear to save family,” a blow by blow report of a Kenai man’s struggle to defend his wife and kids from an aggressive brown bear. Judges called the article a “harrowing tale” with “nice details” and “good reporting.”
FEATURE WRITING PRAISED
Anchor writer Rashae Ophus Johnson took third place for her article “Priest musher finds inspiration on the trail,” a story that looked at Father Luz Flores’ passion for mushing sled dogs. Judges praised Johnson’s “excellent” writing and praised it for details that “truly reveal subject’s whole personality and faith.”