Dallas Morning News wins top religion award

For the seventh time, the Religion section of The Dallas Morning News has been named the nation’s best among big-city newspapers by the Religion Newswriters Association.

The award was announced Saturday at the association’s annual conference in Seattle.

“This recognition is gratifying and is shared by a talented staff of reporters, editors and visual journalists,” said Stuart Wilk, vice president and managing editor of The News.

“I don’t know that any other daily newspaper has devoted the resources to covering religion and spiritual issues that The Dallas Morning News has. We’re very proud of that, and we’re proud of the compelling, diverse coverage our staff produces each week.”

The News won the association’s Schachern Award – named for the late Harold Schachern, a longtime religion writer at The Detroit News – for papers with a daily circulation of more than 150,000. The award was for work published in 2002.

The judges, according to the association, said they were particularly impressed with “stories on church schisms, homosexuality, religion in child custody cases and the sex scandals in the Catholic Church.” In addition, they “noted the good, useful shorter items and the excellent Page Six, devoted to religion and media.”

The News’ Religion section, which is published on Saturdays, also won the award in 2000, 1999, 1998, 1997 (tying with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution), 1995 and 1994. Only the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times has won as often since the Schachern Award was created in 1969.

The Grand Rapids (Mich.) Press won for midsized papers, those with circulations between 50,000 and 150,000. The Altoona (Pa.) Mirror won among papers with a circulation of less than 50,000.

Manya Brachear, a former intern at The News, was named best student religion reporter, for work she did at Columbia University. Ms. Brachear is now an intern at the Chicago Tribune.

The Religion Newswriters Association, founded in 1949, represents journalists who specialize in writing about religion.

Earlier this year, The News’ Religion section was named best in the country by the Religion Communicators Council. The News has won the council’s top prize, the Wilbur Award, six times in seven years.

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The Dallas Morning Newss, USA
Sep. 6, 2003

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