The Dialog won three awards, including general excellence, from the Catholic Press Association (CPA) during its annual Catholic Media Conference in Buffalo, June 24-26.
The Dialog took second place in the 17,001 – 40,000 newspaper circulation category that’s given to publications considered the best by judges who work in journalism fields outside the Catholic press.
“The Dialog had a wealth of articles about topics not usually seen in Catholic publications, like praying and eating healthy,” said the judges’ notes. “Enjoyable variety of topics covered in this paper, most of it original reporting and not just taken from Catholic News Service. Overall, a very impressive paper.”
The CPA requires submission of three successive issues of the paper to be judged in the general excellence category. The Dialogs of Sept. 5, Sept. 19 and Oct. 3 of 2014 were judged by the CPA.
While noting the variety of Dialog stories, the judges also noted, “The challenge The Dialog faces, however, is how to bring the voices of the people in the Catholic community to power rather than let news of the official diocesan leadership and their projects dominate the medium. The editor’s successful strategy employed stories on Catholic education and concussions … as major stories.”
The Dialog distributes 22,000 papers in Diocese of Wilmington churches in Delaware and on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. First place in the circulation category went to the Tennessee Register, the newspaper of the Diocese of Nashville. Third place went to the Catholic Chronicle in Toledo, Ohio.
Dialog columnist Father James Lentini, pastor of Holy Cross Church in Dover and Immaculate Conception Church in Marydel, Md., won a third place CPA award for his Catechetical Corner columns in the Best Regular Column on Spiritual Life category.
The judges cited Father Lentini’s “light, conversational touch and very sharp sense of humor. Baked into that were some good insights into Scripture.”
Several National Catholic Reporter writers won first place in that column category and second place was taken by Father William Byrne for columns in The Catholic Standard in Washington, D.C.
A headline by Joseph Ryan for one of Father Lentini’s columns won an honorable mention from the CPA for headline writing: “Get me to the nave on time! Are you reading this inside the church or the narthex?”
Ryan, the editor/general manager of The Dialog said the general excellence award reflects the staff’s commitment to all aspects of the paper.
“The concussion story cited by the CPA’s judges was Dialog reporter Mike Lang’s extensive look at sports’ and other student concussions and the diocese’s efforts to establish baseline testing to measure the extent of future injuries.
“The editions judged also included a Back to School section, with reports by Lang, and healthy support from Catholic schools coordinated by Sue Uniatowski, the paper’s advertising rep.
“Each issue also features the excellent graphic and layout work of Virginia O’Shea that makes a classy first impression on our readers,” said Ryan. “The award-winning issues also benefited from the Eastern Shore stories by Gary Morton and the photography of Don Blake.”
Father Lentini’s Dialog column provides reliable “information and formation in the faith on a regular basis,” Ryan said. “I’m happy he finds to time to contribute to the paper.
“The general excellence award from the Catholic Press Association is particularly gratifying to the staff,” Ryan said, “because it comes after Bishop Malooly and the diocese recommitted to publishing the paper while coming out of bankruptcy several years ago.”
Each of the issues judged by the CPA included stories on the Sustaining Hope for the Future development campaign.
“Those stories, supported by the diocesan Development Office, certainly helped us generate local coverage in those issues,” Ryan said. “And we’re very grateful for the funds contributed by our readers to that campaign and the Annual Appeal that help the diocese keep publishing The Dialog.”