The St. Louis Review and Catholic St. Louis received a combined 20 awards from the Catholic Press Association at the Catholic Media Conference awards banquet June 21 in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Several staff members received top honors in the all-member categories, including Lisa Johnston, who received a first-place award for photographer of the year; Stephen Kempf, who received a third-place award for best editor; Jennifer Brinker, who received a third-place award for best writer; Joseph Kenny, who received an honorable mention for best writer; and Abigail Witte, who received honorable mention for best designer.
“It’s a real privilege to tell the stories of the Catholic community in St. Louis, and to share those stories with the rest of the community and the world,” said Teak Phillips, director of publications for the archdiocese. “Because of the generosity of the people who let us into their lives, the staff is able to tell those great stories of the Church in St. Louis. We’re telling stories of people in St. Louis who are living the Gospel and demonstrating that. And we’re also telling those stories that help people live the Gospel. Ultimately, that’s why our peers in the Catholic press have recognized the work. It’s not just because we have a talented staff, but because the community opens their lives to our staff.”
The Review’s coverage of the contamination of West Lake Landfill and Coldwater Creek received several awards, including first place for best layout of article or column (weekly diocesan papers with circulation of 25,001 or more), first place for in-depth news/special reporting (diocesan newspaper); first place for reporting of social justice issues — care of God’s creation; and an honorable mention for best web and print package. Jennifer Brinker reported the story, with photography by Lisa Johnston and layout/design by Abigail Witte.
Judges described the work as “powerful and resourceful reporting that sheds light on an issue many don’t even know about.” They also wrote that “showing the faith angle in cleaning up radioactive waste makes it relevant for both the broader community and the Catholic audience.” The story of Manhattan Project-era waste dumped in St. Louis was a platform for sharing “poignant personal stories of those whose lives have been overturned by this violation of creation,” the judges added. “Weaving the incredibly courageous work of the Franciscan Sisters as they address the trauma and work for awareness and solutions brings to bear the Catholic position on environmental justice. These stories take ‘Laudato Si’ from rhetoric to action.”
Other first-place awards:
• Best photograph, sports photo — “Hockey happiness,”
by Lisa Johnston, from coverage of the Mid-States High School Hockey Challenge Cup Championship.
• Best news writing on a local or regional event (weekly diocesan papers with circulation of 25,001 or more) — “Lovely soul remembered,” a story about Jamie Schmidt, who was killed in a shooting at a Catholic Supply store, by Joseph Kenny and Jennifer Brinker.
• Best reporting on vocations to the priesthood, religious life or diaconate (weekly diocesan papers with circulation of 25,001 or more) — “Intimate sacramental brotherhood,” by Dave Luecking. The story detailed the sacramental brotherhood of priests, as evidenced through their time together at the priests’ convocation.
• Best multiple picture package — “Carmelite novena,” of a woman’s dedication to attending the annual novena to Our Lady of Mount Carmel, by Lisa Johnston.
• Best use of graphics — “Give thanks, not wrath,” by Abigail Witte, which illustrated a story about sharing faith with others at the Thanksgiving holiday.
• Best multiple picture package — “Pastoral care for priests,” by Lisa Johnston. The photos portrayed the care of senior priests in the archdiocese.
Honorable mention awards:
• Best coverage of violence in our communities (diocesan or national paper, or wire service) — “Churches rally against vice and violence,” “‘Lovely soul’ remembered,” and “United Against Violence,” by Jennifer Brinker, Lisa Johnston, Joseph Kenny, Dave Luecking and Teak Phillips. The package of stories included the response of the local Catholic community to violent acts in the community.
• Best multiple picture package — “Vietnamese New Year,”
by Lisa Johnston, which highlighted the Vietnamese New Year celebration at Resurrection Parish in St. Louis.
Catholic St. Louis awards
Catholic St. Louis magazine also earned several awards for its story, “Spirit of service,” which detailed the role of parish life coordinators and their care for the pastoral needs of a parish community. The story received a third-place honor for best multiple picture package; and an honorable mention for best story and photo package. Jennifer Brinker reported the story, with photography by Lisa Johnston.
The magazine also won second place for best feature writing with “A spectrum of inclusion.” The story, written by Jennifer Brinker and photographed by Teak Phillips and Lisa Johnston, shared how the Houston family, whose son, John, has autism, has encouraged his faith and helped him build an important role in their church community. Judges said the story provided “valuable context about what it means to have an autism diagnosis and lists resources available for families.”