Religion Reporting Awards

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Friday, March 2, 2012

Duke Divinity School presented Excellence in Religion Reporting awards at the North Carolina Press Association’s annual awards ceremony March 1 in Chapel Hill, N.C. The Divinity School co-sponsors the awards with the NCPA to recognize and support excellent faith-related journalism.

Yonat Shimron, a former reporter for The News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C., was recognized for her work in 2011 for the daily newspaper category, and Hilary Snow of The State Port Pilot in Southport, N.C., was selected as the winner in the community newspaper category.

A perennial recipient of the award, Shimron is now a journalist and development director for the Religion News Service. The contest judge wrote of her work: “What set Yonat Shimron apart from a large pile of good entries was the depth of her voice and the breadth of her reporting. Her stories were at once engaging and authoritative, personal but fair. The story on clergy burn-out was top notch, New York Times-worthy. Bravo.”

The runner-up for the award was Tim Funk of The Charlotte Observer. The judge wrote:  “I really wish I didn't have to pick just one winner because Tim Funk's stories were, in a word, impressive. He shows a real talent as a varied and vigorous reporter, and his prose is simple and simply beautiful. This was a close call, and the toughest of decisions.”

In the community newspaper category, the judge described Snow’s winning entries as well-written, clear and concise, with a healthy dose of vivid imagery and good use of color. “This writer shows great potential as a religion reporter, with a notable ability to write about faith in a way that is respectful but not fawning. Well done.”

For more details about the awards, contact