August 2, 2019

Criterion staff honored for excellence in journalism

The Criterion staff received a second-place award from the Catholic Press Association of the United States and Canada in the General Excellence—Best Newspaper category for the 2018 calendar year. The Criterion competed against other archdiocesan weekly newspapers which have a circulation of 25,001 and more.

The Criterion staff received a second-place award from the Catholic Press Association of the United States and Canada in the General Excellence—Best Newspaper category for the 2018 calendar year. The Criterion competed against other archdiocesan weekly newspapers which have a circulation of 25,001 and more.

Criterion staff report

The Criterion staff was honored recently by the Catholic Press Association of the United States and Canada (CPA) with a second-place award in the General Excellence—Best Newspaper category.

Competing against other archdiocesan weekly newspapers that have a circulation of 25,001 or more, The Criterion received the recognition for its coverage during the 2018 calendar year.

“The Criterion’s reporting on community-Church issues is stellar, with the standout being stories on the death of Archbishop [Emeritus Daniel M.] Buechlein,” judges wrote about The Criterion team of Cindy Clark, Brandon Evans, Sean Gallagher, Natalie Hoefer, Mike Krokos, Jane Lee and John Shaughnessy. “Photos are eye-catching and enhance the layout structure.”

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

Besides recognition from the CPA, staff members were honored by the Woman’s Press Club of Indiana (WPCI), the National Federation of Press Women (NFPW) and the Knights of Columbus.

WPCI and NFPW awards

The recognition for work completed during the 2018 calendar year started in May when staff writer Natalie Hoefer was honored by WPCI. She garnered five first‑place awards.

• In-depth reporting for her “Aging with Faith” series, which focused on senior-related issues through the lens of the Catholic faith.

• Specialty articles, History category for her story “ ‘Rootedness’ has kept Lanesville parish growing for 175 years.”

• Specialty articles, Religion category for her story “Still going to Mass at 109, devout Mary Weir is the ‘joy of the parish.’ ”

• Photographer-writer category for “ ‘A powerful thing’: Inaugural Indiana March for Life shows pro-life movement is ‘alive and well.’ ”

• Special articles, Social Issues category for her story “Mother to be deported prays ‘to keep my family together.’ ”

Hoefer also received a second‑place award from WPCI in the Specialty Articles, Religion category for her article, “Priest abuse victim at holy hour says it ‘was the right thing to do.’ ”

All of her WPCI first-place entries advanced to the national NFPW competition, where her Lanesville parish story won first-place in the Specialty articles, History category, and her story on the mother being deported also won first place in the Special articles, Social Issues category. Her “Aging with Faith” series earned second-place in the in-depth reporting category.

CPA awards

The staff received more recognition on June 21 in St. Petersburg, Fla., during the Catholic Press Association’s annual awards program.

Hoefer was awarded first place in the Best Reporting on the Celebration of a Sacrament category for her story “Archbishop Thompson’s engaging approach stresses ‘tremendous, transformative effect’ of confirmation,” which highlighted Archbishop Charles C. Thompson’s unique catechetical approach to celebrating confirmation with youths in central and southern Indiana.

“An interesting take on a commonly celebrated and not well-reported sacrament,” judges wrote. “Reporting is centered on the sacrament and its unique celebration, including good background coverage and good writing relying on quotations from a wide variety of sources, fleshing out the story through the different people involved. Solid reporting.”

Assistant editor John Shaughnessy was awarded first place in the Best Personality Profile for his story “God’s love guides doctors helping refugees after years of caring for the poor in Africa,” which focused on the medical outreach Dr. Ellen Einterz provides to refugees in the Indianapolis area after serving those in need in Cameroon for 24 years.

“An inspiring subject with a photo and writing to draw in the reader,” judges said. “Good, careful writing overall.”

Hoefer also earned a second-place award in Best Reporting on a Special Age Group (Senior Citizens) for her “Aging with Faith” series.

“Broad and detailed picture of the subject. An informative read,” judges said.

Shaughnessy received a second‑place award in the Best Feature Writing category for “Unlikely companions cross the Camino, traveling from brokenness to brotherhood.” The story focuses on Mark Peredo and Luke Hutchins, who lives intersected when the strangers were involved in a serious car accident in 2015 that left them both seriously injured and emotionally and physically scarred. To heal their brokenness, they decided to tackle together the Camino, Spanish for “the Way,” an ancient spiritual walking pilgrimage from France to Spain.

“Well-written, easy-to-read feature highlighting themes of forgiveness and healing,” judges wrote.

Editor Mike Krokos was awarded second place in the Best Editorial on a Local Issue category for “A time of true penance, reparation, and a pledge to move forward,” which focused on the holy hour Archbishop Thompson led last September at SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral in Indianapolis in response to the clergy sex‑abuse crisis.

“Speaking eloquently about the sexual abuse crisis in the Church is no easy task,” judges said. “The editorialist here made extra efforts to bring a compassionate and understanding plea for all affected by the crisis from the abused, to the disillusioned, to the faithful horrified by what has taken place.”

Criterion editorial board member Daniel Conway received a second‑place award in the Best Editorial on a National or International Issue category for “It’s time to address the problem of clericalism,” which focused on the words of Pope Francis where he noted that some bishops, priests and deacons interpret their ministry as a “power” to be exercised rather than a “free and generous” service to be given.

“Well-considered and provides a useful, balanced perspective about a troubling issue,” judges wrote.

Hoefer earned a third-place award in the Best Story and Photo Package category for “Inaugural Indiana March for Life shows pro-life movement ‘is alive and well.’ ” The package featured coverage of the state’s first March for Life, which coincided with the 45th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton decisions, which legalized abortion on demand in the U.S.

“The main picture gets a headline: ‘A powerful thing,’ and the banners held by marchers tell the rest of the story of Indiana’s march for life,” judges said. “Inside, more detailed pictures of participants. The story is equally bold—quotes joyfully noting unity of generations and quotes to back that up, from a mother, from children, from college students and from a 14-year-old who rejoiced that she was adopted, not aborted. Marvelous story in words and pictures.”

Hoefer also was awarded an honorable mention in the Best News Writing on a Local or Regional Event for her story “Mother to be deported prays ‘to keep my family together,’ ” which focused on the plight of Erica Fierro and her family.

Reporter Sean Gallagher received an honorable mention in the Best In-Depth News/Special Reporting category for his package “Demanding program of human formation shapes future priests amid Church crisis,” which focused on how seminaries in the archdiocese prepares men for the challenges of priestly life and ministry today.

Editor Emeritus John F. Fink was awarded an honorable mention in the Best Editorial on a National or International Issue category for “Divisions in the Church seem to be getting worse,” which discussed several of the issues that are dividing Catholics these days.

Criterion freelance writer Katie Rutter, who is a member of St. Charles Borromeo Parish in Bloomington, was part of a team that won a first-place award in the Best Multimedia Package Series category. She and Catholic News Service staffers Chaz Muth and Carol Zimmerman were honored for their package on Catholic schools.

Rutter also received a third-place award as Multimedia Journalist of the Year.

“Katie Rutter uses writing, photos and video to capture relationships—between Catholic students and the sisters who live on their campus, or between churches across the U.S.,” judges wrote. “Her story ideas are unique and her images memorable and contemplative, encouraging audiences to consider important connections in their own lives.”

Rutter also received an honorable mention in the Videographer/Video Producer of the Year category.

Shaughnessy received an honorable mention award from the Knights of Columbus in its annual Father Michael J. McGivney award for Distinguished Journalism. The story, “On the comeback trail: Catholic couple and former homeless man make strides to change lives on the streets,” highlights St. Pius X parishioners Tom and Deb Gardner and their special friendship with Whitney Hamilton, a former alcohol and drug addict. They are all a part of Back on My Feet, an organization that tries to help the homeless reclaim their lives through “the power of running, community support and essential employment and housing resources.”

“From hard news coverage to feature writing to editorials and multimedia journalism, the wide range of awards received by The Criterion’s staff and contributors is confirmation of the extraordinary skill and commitment that goes into producing each week’s newspaper,” said Greg Otolski, associate publisher. “The Criterion is the top source for news coverage of the Catholic Church in central and southern Indiana.” †

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