"Reason is always a kind of brute force; those who appeal to the head rather than the heart, however pallid and polite, are necessarily men of violence. We speak of 'touching' a man's heart, but we can do nothing to his head but hit it." --G.K. Chesterton

Monday, December 18, 2023

Making news with my news reporting!

The story appeared in the BC Catholic in June of 2023: The document shown is related to my four-year campaign to wrest information from the Fraser Health Authority about its policies and practices relating to Medical Assistance in Dying.
News coverage of euthanasia, pandemic restrictions, and Indigenous issues helped earn The B.C. Catholic 13 newspaper awards from the Catholic Media Association. The 2022 awards were announced at the association’s annual conference in Baltimore Friday. In addition to awards for news writing, design honours went to the newspaper’s senior visual designer Inca Siojo-Das. Writing awards also went to two long-time B.C. Catholic columnists and reporter Nicholas Elbers. The newspaper performed strongly in several reporting categories. Contributing writer Terry O’Neill won two news writing awards, including second place in in-depth news/special reporting for his article “Overdose Call to Action,” which examined through Catholic social teaching the issue of drug decriminalization as a solution to the drug overdose crisis. Judges called it a “timely piece that keeps key components of faith” at the centre “as it deep dives into the reality of the situation.” Terry O’Neill’s series on the impact of euthanasia on palliative care won second place in investigative news writing. O’Neill also took second place in investigative news writing for a piece describing how soaring assisted suicide is having a detrimental impact on palliative care. Judges complimented how O’Neil’s “clear and organized writing style” fit the investigative piece. O’Neill and editor Paul Schratz took third place in religious liberty reporting for a series of entries titled “Church Under Fire,” which judges said were “tightly written, thoughtful and well told.” Schratz looked at how government pandemic restrictions triggered conflict and confusion among parishioners. O’Neill contributed two columns looking at the rise in anti-Catholic attacks and church burnings following reports of unmarked graves being discovered in Kamloops. Schratz received an honourable mention in coverage of political issues for several articles addressing the growing division in Canada resulting from government restrictions on religious liberties. Schratz also took third place in national/international editorial writing for a piece examining the enactment of the Emergencies Act through a Catholic social lens. Judges said the article did “a good job of providing a sort of public policy post-mortem whose conclusions should be applied in other contexts and should be remembered in case future application might be warranted.” Inca Siojo-Das also received second place for her layout of a feature on icons at Holy Eucharist Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral. Schratz also won third place for regional news writing for “Divided in the North,” which looked at the impact of pandemic restrictions on a church community. Judges said the article nicely illustrated “multiple facets of the complex issue of COVID restrictions.” Reporter Nicholas Elbers received third place for sacramental reporting with his coverage of the translation of the liturgy into Indigenous languages. Judges said Elbers brought an important topic to light in a way that builds community and connection “through clear yet warm rhetoric.” The B.C. Catholic also won first place in the headline category for “Fiddling while Rome learns” on a story about a Metis fiddler in Rome for last year’s meeting between Indigenous representatives and Pope Francis. The newspaper and the Archdiocese of Vancouver Communications Office received an honourable mention in the diocesan annual report category for the 2021-2022 Archdiocese of Vancouver annual report, featuring Siojo-Das’ design work and content from the communications team. Siojo-Das also received second place for layout of a feature on icons at Holy Eucharist Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral. The layout was described as simple, creative, and both “easy to read” and “pleasing to the eye.” She also won an honourable mention for layout of a World Cup 2022 feature by Pat Macken entitled “Unity in Faith and Footie.” Two long-time columnists also picked up awards. Colleen Roy won second place in the Family Life category, while Alan Charlton took third in the Arts column category. Judges said Charlton offered “excellent insights,” “careful reflections,” and “effective retrospective” on art past and present. Nicholas Elbers’ coverage of the translation of the liturgy into Indigenous languages earned third place for sacramental reporting. Roy was praised as a “good conversationalist” and storyteller whose topics are interesting, “descriptive and well written.” The Catholic Media Association is the largest association of Catholic media professionals in North America, with more than 200 publication members and 800 individual members. The annual awards honour the contributions of Catholic media organizations and individual media producers in the United States and Canada.

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