Published June 26, 2014
CHARLOTTE, N.C.—The Georgia Bulletin was honored with 11 awards at the 2014 Catholic Media Convention, held June 18-20 and attended by more than 200 members of the Catholic Press Association and the Catholic Academy for Communication Arts Professionals.
The annual gathering was hosted by the Diocese of Charlotte and its news outlet, the Catholic News Herald.
Journalists called to ‘put on Christ’
At the conference’s opening dinner, Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, urged members of the Catholic media to “put on Christ!”
“We are not neutral on Christ and on the church; we are Catholics who look for the truth and embrace it,” he said. “We are in communion with Christ and the church and we call others to join us. … You who are the ambassadors of the good news of Jesus Christ are also those who reflect well how that good news is being heard.”
Charlotte Bishop Peter J. Jugis was the main celebrant of the opening Mass for the conference. Concelebrants included Archbishop Kurtz, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops; Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications; and other priests who were in Charlotte for the media conference.
In his address, Archbishop Kurtz said the people of God have placed “a sacred trust” in the Catholic media. “People pay attention to what you say. They are listening. … They trust you to promote Christ and his church and to advance the teachings of the church accurately.”
Catholic media should resist what has been seen as the traditional journalistic stance of “pure neutrality,” he said, in favor of “belonging to Christ.” Archbishop Kurtz said Pope Francis conveyed this theme in his message for this year’s World Communications Day June 1.
The pope’s advice was twofold, he said, telling communicators that “as the world grows smaller and smaller, don’t let your heart shrink, and as the digital frontier picks up speed and gets more hectic, bring a sense of serenity and calm.”
The trust of Catholics is precious, Archbishop Kurtz said. Catholic media fulfill that trust when they report the news and provide commentaries with accuracy, transparency and “always with love for the ways of Christ and the teachings of the church,” he said.
“We cannot afford to sugarcoat the truth, but even bad news needs to be reported with love—as one in communion,” he added.
He said he believes the Catholic media as evangelizers will be called on in the years ahead to influence the digital frontier to move from “diatribe to dialogue.”
“Sadly, digital discourse” is often “full of diatribe,” he said, because people can offer their opinions in anonymity. The Catholic media must promote dialogue to build the faith up, not tear it down, he said.
Georgia Bulletin staff honored with multiple awards
Among the awards received by Bulletin staff were three first-place awards, five second-place awards and three third-place awards, presented for work done in 2013. The Georgia Bulletin, with its circulation of more than 70,000, competes in the largest category, 40,000 circulation and above.
The newspaper staff received a first-place award for Best Redesign of the print edition of the paper. The newly designed version of The Georgia Bulletin launched last year with the July 4, 2013, issue. Competition judges said, “Well-deserved champion in redesign! Your leadership was methodical and strategic in the decisions made, and staff and readers were kept informed. It shows in the final product.”
Michael Alexander, staff photographer for The Georgia Bulletin, received first- and second-place awards in the competitive best photograph – portrait category. The first-place photo, “Record-breaking state championship wrestler,” showed Blessed Trinity High School wrestler Evan Strawn, who became the school’s first wrestler to win a state championship. The photo appeared in the March 13, 2013, issue of the newspaper.
Alexander’s second-place photo in the portrait category was of archdiocesan staff archivist Angelique Richardson, which ran in the Sept. 26, 2013, issue of the Bulletin.
Gretchen Keiser, editor, and Alexander won a second-place award for best coverage of the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, with articles and photos in the Aug. 29, 2013, issue of The Georgia Bulletin. Keiser interviewed Charles Prejean, head of the archdiocesan Black Catholic Ministry, in an article entitled “March set direction for his life’s work,” as well as interviewing Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory in “Archbishop: Many ‘great souls’ advanced civil rights movement.” The remembrance also included reporting from the 1963 staff of The Georgia Bulletin who attended the march, which the judges cited as “very telling.”
Alexander and staff writer Andrew Nelson collaborated on a story and photographs about the inaugural football team at Monsignor Donovan High School in Athens. The story, “Monsignor Donovan High School: Kicking off a new football tradition,” won a second-place award for Nelson for best sports journalism – sports news. The Monsignor Donovan photos also won a second place for Alexander for best multiple picture package originating with the newspaper.
Nichole Golden, who joined the Georgia Bulletin staff in 2013, won a second-place award for best personality profile for her story, “The Girl in the Picture: Survivor of war teaches peace.” The Nov. 7, 2013, article covered the message of Kim Phuc Phan Thi, who as a young girl appeared in an iconic photograph of the Vietnam war, as she ran unclothed after a napalm bombing at her village. Golden covered Phuc’s visit to Marist School, Atlanta. The judges noted, “This article merges a story of personal trauma with a significant historical event, while managing to chronicle a powerful path of forgiveness. It navigates guilt, purpose, and the human ability to overcome in a masterful way.”
Columnist Lorraine V. Murray won a first-place award for her columns, published in every issue of the paper. The three columns submitted for the competition in the family life category were: “Slaying the hoarding dragon” (Jan. 31, 2013), “Chopping, slicing, dicing—and praying (Dec. 5, 2013) and “Dreaming of a Miami Christmas” (Dec. 19, 2013).
Columnist David A. King, Ph.D., repeated a win in the category of best column – culture, the arts and leisure. His columns on the “Godfather” movies, “The Searchers” and a special children’s book called “The Weight of a Mass” won third place.
Two awards were connected with the July 4, 2013, issue, the first of the redesigned print issues. The front-page picture won a third-place award for Alexander for best photo-illustration, “The fabric of our faith.”
Keiser, Nelson, Alexander and freelancer Suzanne Haugh also collaborated on a group of articles and photos that won third place for the best coverage of religious liberty issues – print.