Register Wins New Accolades, Including Catholic Newspaper of the Year

The Catholic Press Association gathered last week in Portland, Oregon, for its annual convention, which included the announcement of the Catholic media awards.

Award-winning front pages of the Register
Award-winning front pages of the Register (photo: National Catholic Register)

News reporting isn’t an easy job. The work of gathering and delivering news can be constant. It is often thankless and even more often depressing to chronicle endless cycles of tragedies, crises and polemics. 

Frequently the good news gets drowned out by the bad. Nevertheless, we try to bring more light than heat, spread more hope than devastation. We call what we do “redemptive journalism.” We are grateful for every reader that keeps returning to our website, signs up for our emails and subscribes to the newspaper and we relish the many notes, often handwritten, that give us a verbal pat on the back, thanking us for our reporting and analysis. And every year around this time we enter a friendly competition with our fellow Catholic journalists at the Catholic Media Convention. This year, it was in Portland, Oregon. 

I’m very proud to announce that the National Catholic Register was named Newspaper of the Year for 2022 (previously we won this title in 2017 and 2018). We received many other recognitions in the areas of religious liberty and pro-life reporting and analysis, coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic, Native American Catholic issues, feature writing, blogs and more. 

I invite you to take a look below at our awards and some of the judges’ comments noted in italics, and don’t miss the stories themselves. 

Join me please in congratulating a fine editorial team. And, as always, thank you for reading faithfully.


First Place (7)

Best Newspaper — National/Wire Service: National Catholic Register

Neatly packaged into sections like Vatican, culture, arts, nation, in depth, opinion, this paper offers everything Catholic including a Christmas time suggestion for buying Catholic Christmas gifts. While the large print format can be bulky it does allow for large pictures and huge headlines that force themselves on readers. And the hard-hitting, insightful news keeps those readers. Stories about Haiti, Germany, abortion, same-sex marriage, forced marriages in Pakistan, and, of course, COVID. A truly national newspaper. 


Best Coverage — Religious Liberty Issues: The Supreme Court, Taylor Swift and Religious Freedom, by Andrea Picciotti-Bayer

The strong voice and conversational tone makes this series of columns a pleasure to read. The author provides the right amount of context and well-reasoned logic to help get the point across. Excellent work.


Best Coverage — Pandemic: How to Provide Better Pandemic Care for Our Elders, by Joan Frawley Desmond and Judy Roberts

Excellent reporting overall. The story on the impact of the pandemic on the elderly population is well written and rich with detail that draws out emotion in the reader. And the story of the priests who went on “spiritual offense” during the COVID-19 outbreak is not a standard pandemic story. Excellent compilation in story form.


Best Feature Writing — National Newspaper: Catholic Ink by Jonathan Liedl

Very deep dive on an interesting topic — tattoos and piercings in relation to the Catholic faith. First time I’ve seen this topic tackled with this much detail. Wonderful use of a variety of sources. Easy read for such an in-depth story.


Best Analysis/Roundup/Analysis News Writing, The Gerald E. Sherry Award — National Newspaper: Peter Jesserer Smith, Native American Catholic Series

The knowledge to understand the issue presented in this article was masterfully presented from interview sources across perspectives. The author’s tone aided in the clarity as did the researched context.


Best Reporting on Vocations to the Priesthood, Religious Life or Diaconate — One Shot: The Call of Duty, Military Chaplains by Jonathan Liedl

Excellent writing that engages reader. Tells human interest story that is supported with essential data and sources, which are folded in so that storytelling flow remains uninterrupted, sustaining interest to the end.

Best Reporting on Vocations to the Priesthood, Religious Life or Diaconate — Series: “Spiritual Mothers: Religious Community Leaders Care for and Guide Sisters to Christ” by Joan Frawley Desmond, Susan Klemond, John Aidan Byrne


Second Place (4)

Best Coverage of Pro-life Issues: “Spreading the Pro-Life Message in a Whole New Way” by Lauretta Brown, Joseph Pronechen, K.V. Turley and Edward Pentin

A great series of articles that ranges from Gen Z and TikTok, to the power of a pink rosary on the streets of London and the Holy Spouses Mausoleum and Memorial of the Unborn.


Best Coverage — Disaster or Crisis: Afghanistan Tragedy, Like Vietnam, ‘an Epic Bipartisan Failure’ by Joan Frawley Desmond, Peter Jesserer Smith, Kelsey Wicks

Great package, personal touches abound in this terrible tale. Coverage and context that readers could not find elsewhere. Excellent work in a very competitive category.


Best Coverage — Religious Liberty Issues: “The Government Cannot Dictate Your

Conscience,” a series of columns by Deacon Andrew Bennett, Jordan Buzza, Michael S. Parker

The Protecting Conscience series features well-reasoned arguments and clear, strong writing to not only help readers understand the issue of medical conscience rights, but why it is so important.


Best Blog — Topical News: Blogs by Joan Frawley Desmond

Want controversy? Read these blogs — transgender, Supreme Court, abortion, with a sainthood tossed in.

Well written and easy to read, these blogs do what blogs are meant to do — shed a little more light on topics in the news while creating their own ripples as they plunge into the sea of conflict carrying their own viewpoints. Facts and opinion. Readers decide what sinks and what swims.


Third Place (3)

Best Editorial on a National or International Issue: Canada’s Trudeau by Tom McFeely, Jeanette DeMelo, Amy Smith and Tom Wehner

Good effort in getting some important facts into the public discussion about a very emotional issue. It took a brave writer and brave publisher to delve into this issue. Very careful and unemotional editorial where a misstep could be disastrous.


Best Blog — Topical News: Blogs by Alyssa Murphy

These blogs slip in behind major news events to show valuable insights and glimpses of dealing with events like the Jan. 6 insurrection, COVID, the collapse of the Florida condo, faith among college students and a reminder of the dedication and power of a chaplain who died while saving the lives of others. All carefully crafted to increase our knowledge, our understanding and our faith.


Best Reporting of Social Justice Issues — Solidarity: When Jesus Goes to Prison by Patti Armstrong

The article showcases a need that is ongoing and for which just about anyone could provide what is needed. I like the way it talks about people from different places across the United States — it really drives home the idea that we are a big, interconnected community. The specific examples make it “real” and inspire. Enjoyable to read. 


Honorable Mention (8)

Editor of the Year: Jeanette De Melo

Best Blog — Expressions of Faith: Joseph Pronechen

Best Regular Column — Arts, Culture and Leisure: K.V. Turley

Best Coverage — Religious Liberty Issues: Supreme Court Lifts California Ban on Indoor Worship as Pastors Mark Year of Turmoil and Sacrifice by Joan Frawley Desmond, Peter Jesserer Smith, Nicholas Wolfram Smith

Best Coverage — Religious Liberty Issues: China and Religious Liberty by Jonathan Liedl and Edward Pentin

Best Coverage — Pandemic: Unexpected Blessings in Education by Peter Jesserer Smith, Susan Klemond, Lauretta Brown

Best Headline: Hyde Not in Plain Sight (print edition) by Lauretta Brown, Tom McFeely, Tom Wehner

Best Print Special Supplement — One-Time Special Issue: St. Joseph by Register editors and contributors — Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann, Father Raymond J. de Souza, Father Roger J. Landry, John M. Grondelski, Mike Aquilina, Msgr. Charles Pope, Franciscan Sister Clare Hunter, Joseph O’Brien

Award-winning front pages of the Register

Catholic Press Association Winners (July 16)

Every summer the Catholic Press Association gathers together Catholic media personnel for an annual convention and for award recognitions. This year the National Catholic Register took home 22 awards as well as the top accolade of Newspaper of the Year in the national division. Listen in to Register Radio for a rundown of EWTN News’ honors. We’ll also discuss with Register senior editor Jonathan Liedl the Pontifical Academy for Life’s latest document that seems to contradict established Church teaching on contraception, and lastly we’ll hear from our newest intern Hannah Cote on her coverage of culture and arts — particularly discussing her reviews of Disney flicks you’ll want to pass on.

New Website, and John Clark on Prudence (Sept. 12, 2020)

In the time of the new coronavirus the virtue of prudence has been used a lot by some Church leaders. But is it truly understood and more important is it being applied properly? This week on Register Radio we talk to Register contributor John Clark about prudence and the pandemic. And then Matthew and I catch up on all of stories you need to know about on Editor’s Corner, including the new look at