August 7, 2020

Criterion staff honored for excellence in journalism

The Criterion staff received a first-place award from the Catholic Press Association of the United States and Canada for its coverage of the National Catholic Youth Conference during the 2019 calendar year. The award was in the Best Reporting on a Special Age-Group—Children and Teens Younger than 18.

The Criterion staff received a first-place award from the Catholic Press Association of the United States and Canada for its coverage of the National Catholic Youth Conference during the 2019 calendar year. The award was in the Best Reporting on a Special Age-Group—Children and Teens Younger than 18.

Criterion staff report

Staff members of The Criterion were recently honored for excellence in journalism by four 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), National Federation of Press Women (NFPW) and the Knights of Columbus.

WPCI and NFPW awards

The recognition for work completed during the 2019 calendar year started in April when staff writer Natalie Hoefer was honored by WPCI. She garnered five first-place awards:

• Specialty articles, History: “Henryville parish marks 150 years of passing faith ‘one generation to another’ ”;

• Specialty articles, Religion: “Catholic HEART work camps leave youths ‘fired up’ ”;

• Photography, Single photograph, News or feature photo: “ ‘SEEK’-ing God in Indianapolis” (adoration photo);

• Creative verse, Single poem: “Vertigo”;

• Photographer-writer: Contributions to National Catholic Youth Conference special edition.

All of her WPCI first-place entries advanced to the national NFPW competition, where her NCYC coverage won first-place in the Photography-Writer category, and her Henryville parish anniversary story (Specialty Articles, History), Catholic HEART work camp story (Specialty Articles, Religion) and her SEEK conference photo (Photography, Single News or Feature Photo) all captured third-place awards.

CPA awards

The staff received more recognition on July 2 during the Catholic Press Association’s annual awards program, which was held virtually this year.

The team of Mike Krokos, John Shaughnessy, Natalie Hoefer, Sean Gallagher and Brandon A. Evans won first place in the “Best Reporting on a Special Age-Group—Children and Teens Younger than 18” category for the staff’s coverage of the 2019 National Catholic Youth Conference in Indianapolis.

“Really nice, comprehensive coverage of the national event. Great photography to accompany the narrative,” the judges wrote. “The testimonies from the participants are inspirational. The entry really is a complete package and demonstrates a well-organized effort to cover this mega event. Nice work!”

Hoefer was awarded first place for the “Best Reporting on a Special-Age Group—Young adults ages 18-40” category for her story “Women of formation house live ‘radical love’ and ‘vocation of women,’ ” an article on the Fiat House in Indianapolis, where young women live in community.

“This is an excellent, well-rounded article on this small community of women. Nice combination of background information and incorporation of quotations,” judges wrote. “The faith central to the community’s structure and the deeper relationships developed is abundantly evident.”

Shaughnessy received a first-place award in the Best Personality Profile category for his story, “After losing his sight in a devastating crash, Greg Mark found light amid the darkness.”

Judges wrote, “This article is incredibly well-written. The details, stories and quotations are well-chosen to bring the subject to life on the page. Excellent!”

Shaughnessy also won first place in the Self-Published Books awards category for Then Something Wondrous Happened: Unlikely encounters and unexpected graces in search of a friendship with God.

“A wonderful little book offering stories of friendship, followed by invitations and challenges. It is an encouraging book to help one look at their own friendships and re-create them into the sharing of divinity,” judges wrote.

Evans and now-retired graphic designer Jane Lee received a first-place award in the “Best Photograph—Photo Illustration” category for “Get on the Bus,” the cover introducing The Criterion’s annual Vocations Supplement.

“Awesome! Makes me smile, then tells a great story,” the judge wrote. “Bright and humorous. Excellent subject. Vivid color. Subtly, the lines are a very exact grid. Perfect framing. Makes a great cover and the quote in the caption just makes it that much better.”

Gallagher captured second place in the Best Reporting on Vocations to the Priesthood, Religious Life or Diaconate category for his story, “Father Michael Keucher gets behind the wheel on his parishioners’ journey of faith.”

Judges wrote, “The author was able to transfer the enthusiasm of the priest in profile with a creative approach in telling his story that reflected the uniqueness of the actual story, using the imagery of the bus driver to drive home the message.”

Krokos won a second-place award in the Best Editorial on a National or International Issue—Weekly Diocesan Newspaper, for “Mercy, compassion, and understanding must be central to our faith journey.”

“The tragedy of gun violence has been done before. But the writer does an excellent job of making it fresh—of reminding us of simple Gospel truth, tying it into the [Lenten] season, too,” judges wrote. “The writing is very strong and forward; no words are wasted. It comes from the heart. The citations and Scripture are excellent. It is persuasive in a quiet, strong and bold way. Defending Muslims is a noble thing to do.”

Gallagher captured a third-place honor in the Best Coverage of Ecumenical and Interfaith Issues—Diocesan Newspaper, for his stories, “Weekly lunch at Shapiro’s bonds Christians and Muslims”; “Faith traditions come together for ‘solidarity vigil and interfaith prayer’ in response to Sri Lanka bombings”; and “Ecumenical gardening initiative will help brothers, sisters in need.”

“A light approach makes this tale of 22 years of interfaith meetings [at Shapiro’s] succeed,” judges wrote. “A great lede gets us into the story and keeps us reading.”

Freelancer Katie Rutter, who is a member of St. Charles Borromeo Parish in Bloomington and does work for The Criterion and other Catholic organizations, received two honorable mention awards: Personality Profiles—Religious Leader for her article for St. Anthony Messenger Magazine, “Brother Marinus: War Hero and Selfless Monk”; and Best Freestanding Presentation of Online Video—Depiction of Religious Life for her video for Grotto Network, “Inside the Life of a Monk.”

Hoefer received two honorable mentions—one in the Best News Writing on a Local or Regional Event for her story, “At prayer vigil, Archbishop Thompson recognizes dignity of those on death row to be executed,” and another in the Best Coverage of Pro-Life Issues for her package of stories: “ ‘Loving sources of hope’ help women entering abortion centers choose life”; “Based on book, Unplanned film on abortion shares a faith-filled story of ‘hope, forgiveness and love’ ”; “Co-writers, co-producers and co-directors say God planned pro-life film.”

Krokos was awarded an honorable mention in the Best Editorial on a National or International Issue for “Teenager’s actions offer ‘an incredible example of Christian love.’ ”

Knights of Columbus

Shaughnessy was awarded third place in the Knights of Columbus’ annual Father Michael J. McGivney Award for Distinguished Journalism.

Named after the soon-to-be-beatified founder of the Knights, the award recognizes writers from CPA member publications who have, during the previous calendar year, published an outstanding story on the contributions that volunteers have made to Catholic parish life or the community.

His article, “Homeless advocate lives up to God’s counteroffer,” was a story featuring Liz Stanton, who had spent nearly13 years of her retirement collecting and providing items to the homeless.

In recognizing The Criterion staff for its dedication to serving the people of the archdiocese, associate publisher Greg Otolski noted that in a message last month to members of the Catholic Press Association, Pope Francis said: “We need media capable of building bridges, defending life and breaking down the walls, visible and invisible, that prevent sincere dialogue and truthful communication between individuals and communities. We need media that can help people, especially the young, to distinguish good from evil, to develop sound judgments based on a clear and unbiased presentation of the facts, and to understand the importance of working for justice, social concord and respect for our common home. We need men and women of conviction who protect communication from all that would distort it or bend it to other purposes.”

“Every day our staff aims to live up to the high standards for the media put forth by Pope Francis,” Otolski said. “The awards received by the staff of

The Criterion this past year are a testament to our efforts to bring the good news of the risen Christ to the people of central and southern Indiana.” †

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