SILVER SPRING, Md. — Religion reporters from around the world won top honors Saturday, Sept. 24, at the Religion News Association’s 67th Annual Awards Banquet.
Cecile Holmes, long-time correspondent for Religion News Service and current professor of journalism at the University of South Carolina, was presented the William A. Reed Lifetime Achievement Award for her exceptional long-term commitment and service to the field of religion reporting. Holmes had a long and distinguished journalism career with work that included covering and interviewing international figures such as Pope John Paul II. She now teaches journalism at the University of South Carolina School of Journalism and Mass Communications, where she has developed new courses including one in faith, values and the mass media. In her 34-year tenure as an RNA member, Holmes served as president from 1996-98, as well as on multiple committees. She is the author of two books: “Witnesses to the Horror: North Carolinians Remember the Holocaust,” and “Four Women, Three Faiths: Inspiring Spiritual Journeys.”
Laurie Goodstein of The New York Times won first place for Excellence in Religion Reporting—Large Newspapers and Wire Services. David Gibson of Religion News Service won second place. Third place was awarded to Michelle Boorstein of The Washington Post, with Michael Paulson of The New York Times receiving an honorable mention.
First place for Excellence in Religion Reporting—Metropolitan Newspapers went to Mark Mueller of The Star Ledger. Second place was awarded to Melissa Binder for work done at The Oregonian.
Tim Funk and Ames Alexander of the Charlotte Observer won the Cornell Award for Excellence in Religion Reporting—Mid-sized Newspapers. Kelsey Dallas of the Deseret News placed second, and Peggy Fletcher Stack of The Salt Lake Tribune placed third.
In the Cassels Award for Excellence in Religion Reporting—Small Newspapers, first place was awarded to Robert Chaney of the Missoulian Newspaper in Montana. Larry Cohler-Esses of The Forward in New York came in second place. There were two third-place winners: Dan Morris-Young of the National Catholic Reporter and Robert Marquand for work done at The Christian Science Monitor.
First place in the Supple Award for Excellence in Religion Feature Writing went to CNN’s Daniel Burke. Michael Paulson of The New York Times placed second, and Dave Schechter received third place for his freelance work. An honorable mention was awarded to Emma Green of The Atlantic.
Will Carless, Jimmy Chalk, David Case, Rob Harris and Lizzy Tomei of GlobalPost received first place in the Gerald A. Renner Award for Excellence in Enterprise Religion Reporting. Kira Kay, Maggy Donaldson, Zoe Lake, Jason Maloney, Thalia Beaty, Kristopher Brant, Siyi Chen, Kelsey Doyle and Madeline Gressel of NYU GlobalBeat & PBS NewsHour won second place. Third place was awarded to CNN’s John Blake.
First place for Excellence in Religion Commentary went to Haroon Moghul of Religion Dispatches. Second place was awarded to Margery Eagan of Crux/The Boston Globe. David P. Gushee placed third for work at Religion News Service.
The Schachern Award for Excellence in Online Religion Sections was awarded to CNN Belief.
First place for Excellence in Religion News Analysis was awarded to Daniel Burke of CNN. Second place went to Sarah Pulliam Bailey of The Washington Post. Mohamad Bazzi of Reuters placed third.
Yardena Schwartz placed first in the award for Excellence in Magazine News Religion Reporting, for freelance work. Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian and Yochi Dreazen placed second for work at Foreign Policy Magazine and International Reporting Project, and Brian Roewe took third for work at National Catholic Reporter. Bob Smietana received an honorable mention for work done at Christianity Today.
The award for Excellence in Magazine Overall Religion Coverage went to KidSpirit Online.
First place for Excellence in Radio or Podcast Religion Reporting went to Ruth Morris, Jocelyn Frank, Jonathan Miller, Maureen Fiedler and Laura Kwerel of Interfaith Voices. Things Not Seen Radio placed second. Third place was awarded to Laura Spencer of KCUR 89.3 in Kansas City.
For the Excellence in Short Religion Video Award, first place was awarded to JP Kennan of Sojourners.
Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly swept the awards for Excellence in Television News Magazine Religion Reporting. Lucky Severson and Trent Harris took first place, Bob Faw and Marcia Henning took second, and Fred de Sam Lazaro placed third. An honorable mention was awarded to Lucky Severson and David Tereshchuk.
The award for Excellence in National Network/Cable News Religion Reporting went to Walter Ratliff and Rodrique Ngowi of The Associated Press.
Morgan Adsit and Luke Rollins of WBFF-TV Baltimore received first place for Excellence in Television Local News Religion Reporting. Second place went to Jim Rosenfield, Karen Araiza, Manny Noguera, and Mike Hurst of WCAU in Bala Cynwyd, Pa.
The winner of the award for Excellence in Religion Documentary was Debra Gonsher Vinik for “EVERY WORD HAS POWER: The Poetry of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel.”
The first place award for Excellence in Nonfiction Religion Book was presented to Diana Butler Bass for “Grounded: Finding God in the World—A Spiritual Revolution.” Second place went to Linda K. Wertheimer for “Faith Ed: Teaching About Religion in an Age of Tolerance,” and third place was awarded to Lauren F. Winner for “Wearing God: Clothing, Laughter, Fire, and Other Overlooked Ways of Meeting God.” An honorable mention was awarded to Jon M. Sweeney for “Phyllis Tickle: Essential Spiritual Writings.”
In the Chandler Award for Excellence in Student Religion Reporting, Jacob Steimer of the University of Missouri won first place. In second place was Jack Cahn of the University of Pennsylvania. Kaitlyn Chamberlin and Alexis Daily of Indiana University won third place. Russell and M.L. Chandler generously fund the Chandler Award, a student journalism contest.