Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta


Newspaper Receives Five Catholic Press Awards

Published June 1, 2006

The Catholic Press Association of the United States and Canada, which held its annual national convention May 24-26 at the Loews Vanderbilt Hotel in Nashville, Tenn., honored The Georgia Bulletin with five journalism awards at the final banquet.

The 2006 Catholic Media Convocation was held this year for the second time as a combined convention for both the Catholic Press Association, based in Ronkonkoma, N.Y., and the Catholic Academy of Communication Arts Professionals, based in Dayton, Ohio. This year the CPA for the first time commissioned judges through the American Press Institute to judge the competition.

In the category of best special issue or supplement on papal transition in competition with newspapers of all circulation categories in the CPA, The Georgia Bulletin received a third-place award for its April 7, 14, and 21, 2005, issues on the death and funeral of Pope John Paul II and the election of Pope Benedict XVI. The many article topics included local memorial and interfaith prayer services, reflections by Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory, features on the Polish pontiff’s travels, love of Mary, and perspective on women. There were perspectives of archdiocesan Catholics and a Jewish rabbi on Pope John Paul and on the German pontiff’s service to the church including as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. A timeline of Pope John Paul’s life and photos from his childhood and younger years were also included. The judges wrote that the paper “was notable for the sheer volume of its papal coverage, but also a classy, cohesive design that highlighted its use of photos and solid headlines. The Bulletin’s coverage epitomized the type of special sections that readers want to save and look at again for years to come.”

The first-place winner in the papal transition category was the National Catholic Reporter, based in Kansas City, Mo., and second went to The Catholic Register, based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. In writing about the NCR award, the judges noted “this was an extremely hard category to choose the best because the overall quality of the entries was so high. Where the NCR stood out was in its volume of coverage, especially original stories on a wide range of issues beyond the basic story about the death of the pontiff, including how a new pope would be elected, who the leading candidates were, a look at the pope’s mixed legacy, and what the future may hold for the church.”

In other awards, David Pace, creative director of the archdiocesan Communications Department, along with writer Suzanne Metzger-Haugh, and the Vocations Office directed by Father Brian Higgins and staffed by Sally Scardasis, received a first-place award in the category of best single ad in color, competing with all CPA newspapers and magazines, for their Sept. 15, 2005, full page advertisement in The Georgia Bulletin promoting priestly vocations for the Archdiocese of Atlanta.

The ad features photos of seminarian Timothy Gallagher including him holding a Bible and serving in the military. The text, written by Haugh, reveals his initial resistance to his calling and his decision to finally pursue the priesthood, which has brought him peace and joy. A judge wrote that he was engaged by the ad and that “there was more to the headline copy than an overused phrase or name of an advertiser. This is a difficult subject, but the ad was able to speak to me as a layman, rather than someone who is already wearing the cloth.”

Georgia Bulletin staff writer Priscilla Greear received an honorable mention in the category of individual excellence as a writer/editor, a competition open to writers and editors from all newspapers and magazines in which their range of work in 2005 is evaluated.

Her submitted articles included the opening of Southern Catholic College in Dawsonville; a Pentecost Hispanic celebration for St. Thomas the Apostle Church in Smyrna; the Catholic Relief Services Fair Trade coffee program in Americus; the confirmation of prisoners Matthew Cahill and Michael Roberts at Hays State Prison in Trion by Archbishop-emeritus John F. Donoghue; and a Georgia retreat on death penalty injustices led by Sister Helen Prejean, CSJ, for men exonerated from Death Row.

Judges awarded first place in the category to Rome bureau chief John Thavis of Catholic News Service.

Greear also received a third place award in the category of best newspaper reporting on senior citizens for her Sept. 15, 2005, article entitled “Great-Grandmother Lives To Tell Her Survivor Story” about a 76-year-old New Orleans resident who, following Hurricane Katrina, was rescued from the rooftop of her flooded home by a neighbor and endured conditions at the city convention center before finally reuniting with her family in Oklahoma. A judge wrote that Greear “lets the 76-year-old woman speak for herself. She is, by turns, critical of herself, appalled at some behavior she saw and thankful for the kindnesses she experienced. But most of all, she is filled with faith. Her words are striking in their elegant simplicity.”

In the category of best feature writing for diocesan newspapers with a circulation of over 40,000, staff writer Erika Anderson received a third-place award for her Sept. 15, 2005, article entitled “One Man’s Passion For Rosary Launches New Ministry.” The article featured Conyers resident Greg Willits’ ministry to make twine rosaries, pray with them and give them away. A judge wrote, “I enjoyed Erika Anderson’s piece about Greg Willits’ rosary ministry because it touched on a universal theme—how sometimes the Spirit catches you and changes your life. She also does a nice job explaining how the ministry works as a business and how Willits helped make it popular.”

The highest award given by the CPA for “outstanding contributions to Catholic journalism,” the St. Francis de Sales Award was given to Father Jack Wintz, OFM, who is senior editor of the national, Cincinnati-based St. Anthony Messenger magazine and has served on the staff for 33 years. Father Wintz has covered stories in Vietnam, Jamaica, Haiti, post 9/11 New York, East Africa, Latin America, Israel and Jordan, and ranging from Pope John Paul II’s visits to the United States and Cuba to Archbishop Oscar Romero’s work in El Salvador. In 1973 he founded the award-winning Catholic Update religious education newsletters and is now the writer of bimonthly “Father Jack’s E-spirations.”

Accepting the award at the convention, Father Wintz peppered his brief remarks with jokes, noting that he had been nominated each of the past four years and that his notes had improved each year. “Why does the name Susan Lucci come to mind?” he said, referring to the daytime soap opera star who won an Emmy Award for best actress in a daytime drama in 1999 after being nominated 18 times without a win.

Father Wintz praised the other finalists and his colleagues at St. Anthony Messenger, pointing out that the staff always passed around the first draft of stories for the magazine for comment. “So I mentally inscribe your names on this statue,” he said.

“Your names are also secretly inscribed here, and you only can decipher them by referring to ‘The Da Wintzi Code,’” he said, in a reference to the book and movie “The Da Vinci Code.” Father Wintz’s nomination praised him “for his dedication to justice through the power of Catholic journalism” and for “radiating the truthful, gentle spirit of St. Francis de Sales,” the patron saint of journalists.

Father Wintz was chosen by CPA members for the award from among five finalists. Many people are nominated each year for the award, and a committee selects the finalists, who are then presented to the CPA membership for a vote.