Religion Newswriters Association names winners of 2014 RNA Awards for Religion Reporting Excellence

ATLANTA — Religion reporters from across the country won top honors Saturday, Sept. 20, at the Religion Newswriters Association’s 2014 awards banquet.

Roy Larson was presented the William A. Reed Lifetime Achievement Award for his intrepid reporting and commitment to fostering a new generation of religion writers. Larson was a religion reporter for the Chicago Sun-Times. He later began a joint journalism and religion program, which he directed as well as taught courses, at Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism.

David Gibson of Religion News Service won first place in the Religion Reporter of the Year contest for large newspapers and wire services. Michelle Boorstein of The Washington Post won second place, and Rachel Zoll of the Associated Press took third. Honorable mentions were awarded to Laurie Goodstein of The New York Times and Lauren Markoe of Religion News Service.

First place in the Religion Reporter of the Year contest for metropolitan newspapers went to Peter Smith of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Second place was awarded to Ann Rodgers for work done at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and third place went to Mark Mueller of The Star-Ledger. Honorable mention was awarded to Tim Townsend for work at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

JoAnne Viviano of The Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch won the Cornell Religion Reporter of the Year Award for mid-sized newspapers. Peter Smith placed second for work at The (Louisville) Courier-Journal, and Bill Sherman of Tulsa World placed third.

In the Cassels Religion Reporter of the Year contest for small newspapers, first place was awarded to Holly Meyer of Post-Crescent Media. Kyle D. Huckins came in second place for work at the (Marion, Ind.) Chronicle-Tribune. Matthew Miller of the Lansing (Mich.) State Journal and The Rev. Alexander M. Santora of The Jersey Journal tied for third.

Time magazine’s Elizabeth Dias won first place for the Supple Religion Feature Writer of the Year Award. Michelle Bearden placed second for work at The Tampa Tribune, and Yair Rosenberg of Tablet magazine received third place. An honorable mention was awarded to Renee K. Gadoua for work at Religion & Politics.

First place in the Gerald A. Renner Enterprise Religion Report of the Year was awarded to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Credit goes to team members: Annysa Johnson, Ellen Gabler, Karen Herzog, Allan Vestal, Emily Yount, Gina Barton and Kevin Crowe. Minnesota Public Radio’s MPR News placed second, and Religion News Service won third place. Credit goes to RNS team members: Adelle Banks, Sally Morrow, David Herrera, Kevin Eckstrom, Corrie Raye Mitchell, Sarah Pulliam Bailey, Lauren Markoe, Yonat Shimron, Omid Safi, Mark Silk and Robert P. Jones.

First place in the Religion Commentary/Blog of the Year Award went to Jonathan Merritt of Religion News Service. Second place was awarded to Elizabeth Tenety of The Washington Post, and Jason Berry of GlobalPost placed third.

The Schachern Award for Online Religion Section of the Year was awarded to GlobalPost Special Reports. The Salt Lake Tribune placed second, and Reuters received third place. Honorable mention was given to KidSpirit Online.

Christa Case Bryant of The Christian Science Monitor placed first in the Magazine News Religion Report of the Year Award. Jaweed Kaleem of The Huffington Post placed second, and Time magazine’s Elizabeth Dias took third. Honorable mention was awarded to Bret Mavrich for his work at Christianity Today.

The Magazine Overall Excellence of the Year Award went to Tikkun magazine. Christianity Today placed second, and Moment magazine came in third. Honorable Mention was awarded to Sojourners.

First place in the Radio or Podcast Religion Report of the Year contest went to Tony Ganzer for work atDeutsche Welle Radio (Germany). KQED Radio’s Steven Cuevas from The California Report in San Francisco placed second. Third place was awarded to Monique Parsons for work at WBEZ-Chicago. Honorable mention was awarded to the Interfaith Voices team: Kimberly Adams, Jocelyn Frank, Jonathan Miller, Elizabeth Shakman Hurd and Steve Martin.

CBS’ Elizabeth Kineke and Mary Alfieri were awarded first place for the Television News Magazine Religion Report of the Year Award. Judy Valente took second, and Lucky Severson placed third. Both work for Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly.

The National Network/Cable News Religion Report of the Year Award went to Jerome Socolovsky with Voice of America. Second place was awarded to Elizabeth Kineke and Mary Alfieri of CBS, and third went to Eric Marrapodi and Miguel Marquez of CNN.

Jeff Abell and David Larson of WBFF-TV Baltimore received the first place award for the Television Local News Religion Report of the Year. Second was awarded to Stuart Watson, John Gray and Corrie Harding of WCNC-TV Charlotte. Liz Harrison and Richard Harmelink of KFSN-TV Fresno were awarded third place.

The first place winner of the Religion Documentary of the Year was “Through the Valley” produced by CML Micro. Second place was awarded to “A Church Divided” produced by The Center for Investigative Reporting and KQED-San Francisco. “Divine Prescription” by Debra Gonsher Vinik of Diva Communications received third place.

First place in the Nonfiction Religion Book of the Year contest was presented to Larry Eskridge for “God’s Forever Family: The Jesus People Movement in America.” Second went to Judith Valente for “Atchison Blue” and Third place was awarded to Jeff Chu for “Does Jesus Really Love Me?” Honorable mention was presented to Tom Krattenmaker for “The Evangelicals You Don’t Know: Introducing the Next Generation of Christians.”

In the student contests, Sara Grossman of UC Berkeley won first place in the Chandler Award for Student Religion Reporter of the Year. In second place was Heather Adams of the University of Missouri, and Will Mari of the University of Washington won third place. The Chandler Award for Student Religion Reporter of the Year is presented by Russell and M.L. Chandler, who fund the award.