National Catholic Reporter, EarthBeat and Global Sisters Report garnered 29 honors in the 2023 Catholic Media Awards, including the second-place prize for best national newspaper.
The three outlets earned first-place awards across a range of reporting categories, including the first- and second-place prizes in investigative news writing. In opinion writing, NCR columnists took first-place awards in general commentary, culture writing and political commentary.
NCR staff reporter Brian Fraga and freelancer Jenn Morson won in the investigative category for their in-depth reporting on allegations of misconduct by an employee at Word on Fire, the outlet founded by Bishop Robert Barron of Winona-Rochester, Minnesota. NCR staff reporter Katie Collins Scott won second in that category for reporting on sexual assault claims at California’s Mater Dei High School. In their comments, the judges called Fraga’s reporting « solid » and Collins Scott’s « superb. »
Fraga and Collins Scott also won joint first-place honors for coverage of Catholic education issues, including a report on a California school’s firing of two teachers. Fraga likewise won a first-place award for reporting on social justice issues for an article that examined the U.S. bishops’ decision to allow a gay woman to become a foster parent. Collins Scott won first place in a parallel category for reporting on a Catholic ministry to build « tiny homes » for persons experiencing homelessness.
NCR and EarthBeat environmental correspondent Brian Roewe won first place in the feature writing category for his look at the hygienic questions surrounding the use of the Communion cup at Mass since the eruption of the coronavirus pandemic. In their comments, the judges said Roewe showed « excellent » reporting skills that gave the story « breadth and strength. »
Roewe and NCR Bertelsen Fellow Aleja Hertzler-McCain also won a joint first-place prize in national reporting for their coverage of political issues, including the initial failure of President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better infrastructure plan.
Roewe and Hertzler-McCain were cited again together as winners alongside GSR international editor Soli Salgado and two other writers who won first place in the online only reporting category, for EarthBeat’s coverage of environmental issues, including of a campaign by Catholic Relief Services to engage U.S. Catholics in mitigating climate change. EarthBeat likewise won an honorable mention in the best electronic newsletter category, for environment editor Stephanie Clary’s « EarthBeat Weekly. »
GSR national correspondent Dan Stockman won second place in the in-depth news category, for his reporting on how U.S. sister congregations are reckoning with their historic involvement in boarding schools for Native American children. GSR Africa/Middle East correspondent Doreen Ajiambo won second place in reporting on environmental issues, for her work reporting from the U.N. COP27 summit in Egypt.
NCR Vatican correspondent Christopher White won second-place honors for his coverage of Pope Francis’ trips abroad in 2022, and was cited with Collins Scott for their coverage of Indigenous Canadians’ hopes for Francis’ visit to Canada. In their comments, the judges said White and Collins Scott’s reporting on the Canada trip was « outstanding and deeply moving. » White was also recognized alongside Fraga with a second-place prize for their reporting on the pope’s ongoing, three-year synod process.
In opinion writing, NCR executive editor Heidi Schlumpf won first place in the category for general commentary, for her biweekly « Connections » column. Franciscan Fr. Daniel Horan won second place in the same category, for his biweekly column. NCR political columnist Michael Sean Winters likewise won first place in the category for political commentary, for his thrice-weekly column. NCR contributor Jose Solís also won first place for best column in culture writing.
The NCR editors also won third place in the category for best editorial writing on a national or international issue, for their call for the Vatican to provide more information about investigations into bishops accused of abuse or cover-up.
The Francis Effect podcast, produced by Schlumpf, Horan and David Dault, won for best podcast in the topical news category.
Besides the second-place prize for best newspaper, NCR also garnered a second-place prize for best newspaper website.