July 13, 2018

Criterion staff honored for excellence in journalism

The Criterion staff received a third‑place award from the Catholic Press Association of the United States and Canada for its special issue welcoming new Archbishop Charles C. Thompson in the summer of 2017. The award came in the Best Supplement or Special Issue: Best One-Time Special Issue category.

The Criterion staff received a third‑place award from the Catholic Press Association of the United States and Canada for its special issue welcoming new Archbishop Charles C. Thompson in the summer of 2017. The award came in the Best Supplement or Special Issue: Best One-Time Special Issue category.

Criterion staff report

Staff members of The Criterion were recently honored for excellence in journalism by three organizations.

The recognition included awards from the Catholic Press Association of the United States and Canada (CPA), the Woman’s Press Club of Indiana (WPCI) and the National Federation of Press Women (NFPW).

WPCI and NFPW awards

The recognition for work completed during the 2017 calendar year started on June 9 when staff writer Natalie Hoefer was honored by WPCI. She garnered four first-place awards:

• Articles with Photography category for her contributions to The Criterion’s coverage of the National Catholic Youth Conference (NCYC).

• Special Series category for the articles published in 2017 in her series on adoption as a pro‑life option (does not include final series article published in 2018): “Couple provide home for five children as they embrace adoption as pro-life calling,” “Couple’s life becomes touched by love in opening their hearts to adoption,” and “ ‘It’s all through God’: Milan couple with grown children find blessing in adopting young siblings.”

• Feature Story category for “Growing up in ‘Kentucky Holy Land’ shaped Archbishop Charles C. Thompson’s faith.”

• Specialty Articles, Social Issues category for “Priests Join Event Opposing Immigrant and Refugee Discrimination.”

Hoefer also received a second-place award from WPCI in the Specialty Articles, Religion category for her article, “A day in the life: ICC director offers inside look at helping shape public policy for common good,” which highlighted the work of Indiana Catholic Conference executive director Glenn Tebbe.

All of her WPCI first-place entries advanced to the national NFPW competition, where her NCYC coverage won first-place in the Articles with Photography category, and her adoption series earned third-place in the Special Series category.

CPA awards

The staff received more recognition on June 15 in Green Bay, Wis., during the Catholic Press Association’s annual awards program.

Editor Mike Krokos was awarded first place in the Best Editorial on a Local Issue category for “Standing strong against the evil of racism in our time,” which focused on the clashes between white supremacists and counter-protestors on Aug. 11 and 12 in Charlottesville, Va., that resulted in the death of 32-year‑old Heather Heyer and more than 20 injuries. The piece encouraged people of faith to have the courage to stand up to racist attitudes that are becoming too commonplace in today’s society.

“This editorial is well-researched and compellingly argued,” judges wrote.

Assistant editor John Shaughnessy was awarded second place in the Best Reporting of Social Justice Issues: Solidarity, for his story “Give them a chance,” which focused on the friendship that Anna Brown-Mitchell and Chanita Dawson formed through the archdiocese’s prison ministry mentorship program.

“This story demonstrates the solidarity created between two women through a prison ministry task force,” judges wrote. “Both women describe eloquently what they have gained through their friendship, and the piece also provides valuable context about what people need when they move from prison to re-entering society.”

In the CPA competition, Hoefer received a third-place award in the Best Coverage of Pro-Life Issues for her series on adoption.

“This refreshing series on adoption moves the pro-life needle beyond rhetoric to life-changing Catholic Christian action,” judges wrote. “The writing filled with poignant quotes and accompanying family photos tell the story with joy.”

As a staff, The Criterion received a third-place award for its special issue welcoming new Archbishop Charles C. Thompson. The award came in the Best Supplement or Special Issue: Best One‑Time Special Issue category.

“Just ask a sister if you want to know the truth about her brother. Or someone who competed with and against that brother. And of course, those who are helped and comforted. And the words of the person himself,” judges wrote. “Those angles make this tribute to Archbishop Charles C. Thompson so readable. For the record, the sister adored him, the cross country runner admired his dedication, the Hispanic community opened their arms to him, and the archbishop chose as his motto: ‘Christ the Cornerstone.’ Outstanding piece of journalism.”

Criterion freelance writer Katie Rutter, who is a member of St. Charles Borromeo Parish in Bloomington, received a first-place award as Videographer/Video Producer of the Year in the CPA’s “Excellence Awards.”

The videos and accompanying articles presented to the judges included her package on the first-ever Missionary Disciples Institute at Marian University in Indianapolis, and the Holy Fire youth conference attended by archdiocesan teens in Chicago. Rutter also submitted work she had produced for Catholic News Service.

“This versatile collection of videos provides viewers a deeper understanding of the Catholic faith, and is made strong by skillful editing and story boarding,” judges wrote. “Rich story development and visual variety. Professional and impressive body of work. Exceptional and insightful interviews leave a lasting impression. Well done!”

Rutter also received an honorable mention in the Multimedia Journalist of the Year category.

“These awards exemplify the commitment that The Criterion staff brings to each week’s paper to share unique stories and commentaries about the power of the Catholic faith to inspire and transform lives,” said Greg Otolski, associate publisher of The Criterion. “We’re grateful to be able to serve the people of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.” †

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