Two Episcopal publications were recognized in the Best in Class category at the Associated Church Press annual awards ceremony in Orlando, Florida, April 25. "Episcopal Life" won an honorable mention in the category of best national or international newspaper and the "Central Florida Episcopalian" won the award of excellence for best among regional newspapers.
Of "Episcopal Life," the judge said: "An engaging, interesting newspaper with a wonderful mix of news briefs, major items, features, and essential faith/inspirational/institutional items." The judge cited "Central Florida Episcopalian" for its "broad news feature coverage in well-designed special spreads and regular layouts. Mix of first- and third-person styles keeps the reader in the paper."
"Episcopal News Service" won the award of excellence for photography with a collection of photos "Mississippi and New Orleans" by Mary Frances Schjonberg and Matthew Davies taken from September 4 to November 23 last year. "Pictures from the hurricane disaster are seemingly endless, but these warrant attention because they relate to a specific topic, the church, and show what people are doing to rebuild the area, not just the destruction," the judge said.
"Episcopal Life," edited by Jerry Hames, also received honorable mention awards for an editorial/opinion column by writer Richard Parker and for best illustration, a front page artist's rendering of "The Episcopal Church Welcomes You" by Jonny Hawkins. The national newspaper also won an award of merit for a circulation campaign designed by Lawrence Moore, general manager. "A just-the-facts approach -- straight and simple, but done very professionally," the judge said.
"Central Florida Episcopalian," edited by Joe Thoma, also received an award of excellence for in-depth reporting for its hurricane coverage and two awards for design. Of its hurricane coverage, the judge said: "This package is visually compelling with photos and graphics, and its design is clean an appropriately understated. It is outstanding how it services its community, offering practical information and help to the needy."
"Cathedral Age," published by Washington National Cathedral and edited by Craig Stapert, won an award of excellence for magazine design and an honorable mention for Best in Class in the special interest category. It also received other honorable mention awards for best feature article, best photography and for the cathedral's annual report.
"Vestry Papers," edited by Lindsay Hardin Freeman, for the Episcopal Church Foundation, won general excellence for the best theme issue among newspapers, newsletters or news services for its issue on church buildings and grounds. "It's easy to write great packages about great events or great people," the judge said. "The challenge is much more difficult when the subject is in and of itself boring."
"Trinity News" of Trinity Church, New York, received an honorable mention for theological reflection. Trinity also won a Best in Class honorable mention for its independent website.
"The Branch," a new parish publication edited by Marji Smith of St. Bartholomew's Episcopal Church in Nashville, Tennessee, won an honorable mention for excellence among small publications. "What's remarkable is how many voices are heard throughout the newsletter, with unexpected surprises - like the introduction to body prayer." The judge said.
Thirty-four judges participated in this year's awards whose entries came from among the 125 member publications of the Associated Church Press that are based in the United States, Canada and Europe. The ACP is a professional organization brought together by a common commitment to excellence in journalism as a means to describe, reflect and support the life of faith and the Christian community.