September 29, 2006

Criterion wins national award for papal coverage

Staff report

The Criterion has earned a first-place national award for coverage of Pope John Paul II’s death and historical look at his 26-year papacy in the 2006 National Federation of Press Women (NFPW) Communications Contest.

“Pope John Paul II: 1920-2005—The World Was His Mission” earned the top prize for “Sections/Supplements Edited, Infrequent, Non-daily Newspaper.” The award was presented during the NFPW conference on Sept. 9 in Denver.

Senior reporter Mary Ann Wyand earned the national honor—which she said really is a staff award—for editing the 32-page commemorative edition published on April 8, 2005.

Along with Wyand, news team members Brandon Evans and Sean Gallagher worked tirelessly to make sure the commemorative issue served as a snapshot of John Paul II’s life and papacy. Evans, who now serves as archdiocesan webmaster, also continually updated The Criterion Online Edition.

But the commitment to the special issue didn’t end there. Art director Ann Sternberg and graphic specialists Dave Sechrist and Louie Stump (who has since retired) all did yeoman’s work in helping the issue come together, noted Greg Otolski, associate publisher of The Criterion.

“It’s an unfortunate part of the journalism business that newspaper staffs often do their best work when moments of great sadness or tragedy strike. The death of Pope John Paul II was one of those occasions,” Otolski said.

While several other diocesan newspapers throughout the country delayed their special editions about the pope’s death until the following week, “the entire staff of The Criterion worked around the clock under extreme deadline pressure to put together an outstanding issue of the newspaper filled with local, national, and international stories and photos about the life and death of the pope,” Otolski said. “We tried to keep our readers foremost in our minds throughout the process, and I think we ended up with a paper that not only would the archdiocese be proud of, but one that readers would want to keep forever.”

Other Criterion staff members—including former associate publisher William Bruns, business manager Ron Massey, and senior account executives Barbara Brinkman and Loretta Hahn Williams (who has since retired)—also worked on deadline to publish special editions about the papal funeral, election of the new pope and installation of Pope Benedict XVI in
subsequent weeks. †


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