Excellence in Religion Reporting Awards

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2011 Excellence in Religion Reporting Awards Announced
Monday, February 21, 2011

Duke Divinity School presented Excellence in Religion Reporting awards at the North Carolina Press Association’s annual awards ceremony on February 17. The Divinity School co-sponsors the awards with the NCPA to recognize and support excellent faith-related journalism.

Tim Funk of The Charlotte Observer was recognized for his work in the daily newspaper category and the staff of the Smokey Mountain News was selected as the winner in the community newspaper category.

The contest judge wrote of Funk’s work:

“Tim’s stories were a delight to read. His journeys into the life of an American Muslim family, and the ordinary lives of local atheists, were as enjoyable as they were illuminating. The article on Catholic burials for the indigent was both moving and startling in its humanity. The Easter profiles were a smart way into an annual story that is often rote and routine. The stories benefited from ample doses of context, nuance and good editing, and were amplified by good photography and judicious use of sidebars. Very, very well done.”

The runners up for the award were Yonat Shimron of The (Raleigh) News & Observer and Amanda Greene of the Wilmington Star-News whose work was recognized for “high quality work, interesting and well-written stories and a wide selection of story topics.”

In the community newspaper category, the winner was the staff of the Smokey Mountain News.

The contest judge wrote:

“The staff of the Smokey Mountain News did a superb covering a complex issue – prayer in public settings – with flair, depth and accessibility. No angle was left uncovered, and the quality and breadth of the reporting was particularly impressive for a small news outlet. The ‘Prayer by the Numbers’ sidebar was especially helpful for getting a quick glimpse of the issues at play, and the story was covered in multiple formats – spot news, analysis and opinion – with grace and an impressive degree of sharpness. Well done.”

For details about the awards, contact Audrey Ward, executive director for communications at the Divinity School at (919) 660-3416.