Register associate editor Michael Swan shows off some of the awards he won at the recent Canadian Church Press awards gala in Winnipeg. Swan took first place in four categories, and second in the A.C. Forrest Memorial Award.

Michael Swan leads way as The Register picks up 11 honours at church press awards

By 
  • May 15, 2014

WINNIPEG - The Catholic Register’s veteran reporter and photographer Michael Swan was awarded four first-place prizes at the annual Canadian Church Press gala dinner.

Swan, the paper’s associate editor, was recognized with two writing awards and two for photography for his work on a pair of overseas assignments. The awards were presented May 2 in Winnipeg by the Canadian Church Press, an ecumenical organization of Christian publications.

“Michael has won dozens of awards over the years, but these ones were particularly well deserved,” said The Register’s publisher and Editor Jim O’Leary. “His work last year in Rome and in the Middle East under difficult circumstances was outstanding.”

Swan won first place for in-depth treatment of a news event for his deadline reporting from the papal conclave in March 2013 that elected Pope Francis. The name of the new Pope was announced about two hours before The Register’s deadline, yet Swan delivered what a judge praised as “solid, informative journalism produced under a tight deadline.”

“Even journalists who had the luxury of time didn’t do as good a job,” the judge said.

Swan won another first-place writing prize in the category of feature reporting for a package of stories from the Middle East in September 2013 that gave an in-depth look at the refugee crisis in war-torn Syria.

He was praised for his “original treatment” and for “thorough” reporting that comprised a “broad range of information and sources.”

His Syria assignment also won two first-place prizes for photography, in the categories of news photo and feature photo. His news photograph of a teenager who was left permanently impaired from a serious head wound was called “wonderful work” and an “extremely powerful image” that “moves your feelings.” He also shot a feature photograph of a woman standing guard over a sleeping child that was called “evocative” and made “the reader want to know more,” said the judge.

Swan’s Syria coverage was also a runner-up for the A.C. Forrest Memorial Award, presented annually for excellence in religious journalism.
The Register also won six other awards — a second place for an editorial on the death of Nelson Mandela, and five third-place awards in the following categories: feature layout and design, edition layout and design (both awards shared by managing editor Mickey Conlon and art director Lucy Barco), biographical profile (Ruane Remy), editing of a department (Remy for Youth Speak News), and original artwork (high school student Jomalaine Mae Cinense for the cover of the 2013 Christmas issue).

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