The award, named after the media savvy Philadelphia cardinal who died in 2011, recognizes excellence and innovation in Catholic storytelling in various media platforms such as video, podcasts, photo spreads, blogs or a combination of multimedia platforms. It is one of the top awards given by the CPA.
The winner was announced July 1 in a pre-recorded video released on social media during the 2020 Catholic Media Conference held virtually this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Anything with Cardinal Foley’s name on it is more than an honor and it’s incredibly humbling,” said Muth in accepting the award. “He was a giant in the Catholic press, and wow, what an incredible innovator in everything that he touched.”
Cardinal Foley, a longtime journalist, was head of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications from 1984 to 2007. Before that, he served as assistant editor and editor of Philadelphia’s archdiocesan newspaper, The Catholic Standard and Times, and he hosted and produced a radio program called “Philadelphia Catholic Hour.” The cardinal also was known to many as the Vatican’s “Voice of Christmas” in his role as English-language commentator for the pope’s midnight Mass for 25 years.
Greg Erlandson, director and editor-in-chief of Catholic News Service — who nominated Muth for the award — described Cardinal Foley as an “indefatigable supporter of the Catholic press” who always “remained a journalist at heart” while believing strongly in the importance of this vocation for the life of the church.
In his nomination submission, Erlandson said there are many examples of Muth’s 2019 work in photography, videography, animation and multimedia storytelling. He also pointed out that Muth developed several important series in the past year that combined solid news reporting with strong visual storytelling, including a comprehensive look at the seal of the confessional and a series on how the film industry was shaped by the Catholic Church, with corresponding documentary films that aired on Catholic television stations.
Finalists for the 2020 award were Dan Allen with FaithND; Amber Cerveny with the Diocese of Springfield, Massachusetts; Cassie Magnotta of Glenmary Challenge; David Naglieri with the Knights of Columbus; and Michael O’Loughlin from America Media.
Previous Cardinal Foley Award recipients were David Carollo from World Apostolate of Fatima /Soul Magazine in 2018 and Lisa Johnston from the St. Louis Review in 2017. The award was not presented last year.
J.D. Long-Garcia, senior editor of America magazine and CPA president, who presented Muth with the award, said: “Congratulations my friend, you set a high bar for all of us.”