Florida Catholic newspaper earns 20 national awards

GREEN BAY, Wis. | Florida Catholic staffers celebrated like proper “Cheeseheads” as they took top honors at the 2018 Catholic Media Conference June 12-15, held in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

The four editions of the publication collectively received six first-places and 13 other Catholic Press Association awards in 18 different categories. Notably, the Venice edition of the Florida Catholic received an honorable mention for the Newspaper of the Year award. The three issues submitted for the Newspaper of the Year covered the events and aftermath of Hurricane Irma. The Newspaper of Year award is given to a newspaper’s entire staff to recognize overall excellence.

First-place honors went to Linda Reeves, Palm Beach editor, for her photograph “AIM retreatants harvest fruits of the Holy Spirit and beyond” in the “Share the Journey” category. Judges remarked, “The connection of the Sharing the Journey is evident by the smile on Sister Sullivan and Erika’s faces. The sharing is completed with Sister’s hand on Erika’s shoulder.”

For the third year in the row, the paper’s Sunday World column was honored in the “Best Scripture Column” category, this time with a first place for Missionaries of the Most Precious Blood Father Ben Berinti, who is pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish in Melbourne Beach.

“This work showcases the author’s voice — a voice with clarity, encouragement and a sense of humor,” the judges wrote. “Excellent work all around.”

Jean Gonzalez, editorial/online director, garnered two first-place honors for her story, “Prisoner works to ‘be the example.’” Along with winning first place from the Catholic Press Association for best personality profile, the story also garnered first place in the Father Michael J. McGivney Award for Distinguished Journalism from the Knights of Columbus. The award honors a story on the contributions that a volunteer has made to Catholic parish life or the community. Gonzalez’s story focused on Earl Hinson Jr., an inmate from Martin County Correctional Institution who was spared the death penalty and is serving a life sentence. He serves as a volunteer to fellow inmates in a variety of programs, including post-abortion healing.

The other Catholic Press Association first-place honors went the Miami edition of the Florida Catholic in the categories of Best Use of Live Video in Social Media, Best Use of Video Ongoing Series, and Best Multimedia Package.

For the fourth straight year, the whole Florida Catholic staff took home honors for its print circulation promotion campaign. In its second-place win, judges remarked on the blue-and-white color scheme and said the E-edition/print edition photo was nice, too. “Very clever,” judges said. “The How to Subscribe arrow and info bar are excellent. It lays out the How to Methods very clearly. … Well done.”
Other second places went to the Miami edition for Best Facebook Post and Best News Writing on a Local Event. That honor went to the Miami edition’s team of writers, photographers and editors for coverage of Hurricane Irma. The Miami edition also earned two third-place honors and three honorable mentions.

The Orlando edition also earned honorable mention for Best News Writing on a Local Event for Gonzalez’s coverage of President Donald Trump’s visit to St. Andrew School in Orlando. Gonzalez also received an honorable mention in the Editor of the Year category. Reeves garnered an honorable mention for her story “Mothers build new life at Mary’s Shelter” in the Best Reporting on Social Justice Issues: Life and Dignity of the Human Person category.

Ana Rodriguez-Soto, Miami Archdiocese editor, received several honors during the evening, including a second place for Best Reporting on Social Justice Issues for her profile on Camillus House. She also won honorable mention for Best In-Depth News/Special Reporting for her excellent series “Farewell to Curley-Notre Dame.”

“While we are humbled by all the accolades, I can’t be more proud of our editorial, advertising and business teams,” Ann Borowski-Slade, associate publisher, said. “Receiving national kudos for our hard work is just another display of the wonderful talent and dedication of our modest staff.”