The front page of The Catholic Register from the September 13, 2015 issue where Michael Swan's special report on Africa graced the cover. Swan led The Register to an all-time best 21 awards at the annual Catholic Press Awards gala. Catholic Register file photo

Swan leads Register to record haul at North American journalism awards

  • June 6, 2016

ST. LOUIS – He was far from a one-man band but associate editor Michael Swan led the parade as The Catholic Register marched off with an all-time best 21 awards at the annual Catholic Press Awards gala.

Swan was honoured with an eye-popping nine prizes for writing and photography at the Catholic Press Awards ceremony held June 3 at the St. Louis Hilton Hotel. The awards honour 2015 excellence in Catholic journalism, with entries coming from several dozen newspapers across North America.

The Register received more awards than any other newspaper, earning five first-place prizes, eight seconds, four thirds and four honourable mentions from the Catholic Press Association of the United States and Canada. 

Overall, the judges called The Register "very impressive," and praised its "strong, original reporting."

"This newspaper covered a variety of topics that I did not see in other newspapers," said one judge.

Swan scored two firsts, three seconds, three thirds and an honourable mention. All his awards came in reporting and writing categories, with the exception of a second-place prize for news photography.

The judges praised his "incredibly detailed and thorough job" as he swept first and second place in the category of in-depth special reporting for a three-part series on Africa and for an analysis of the Pope Francis encyclical Laudato Si’. 

The judges were even more effusive in praise for Swan't first-place award in the category of personality profile on Fr. Joe MacDonald of Poverello Charities. "This article is a true inspiration," they wrote.

The Register also took first place for its special section "Call to Service," under the direction of managing editor Mickey Conlon, which was named best coverage of vocations. The section, which included contributions from several Register writers and design by Lucy Barco, was called an "an extremely well-written collection of articles" and an "outstanding introspective look at devotion."

In addition, The Register's Evan Boudreau took second place in the same category for a series of three articles on ordination.

Conlon also oversaw editorial direction of The Register's special Christmas issue, which was named the best seasonal issue in North America. With articles and photography from The Register's staff, it was praised as "a Christmas gift' for readers that comprised "a remarkable variety of stories."

The Register's fifth first-place award went to publisher and editor Jim O'Leary for a series of three editorials on the topic of religious freedom, lauded for its "clear arguments" and writing that "addressed complex issues with satisfying depth yet accessibility for all readers."

In addition to his second-place for in-depth special reporting, Swan was runner-up in two other categories: coverage of the Synod of the Family and news photography.

The Register's other second-place prizes went to: Lucy Barco, photo illustration; Deacon Robert Kinghorn, general columnist; and Moussa Faddoul, best portrait photograph.

Swan's third-place awards were in the following categories: best coverage of the Pope's 2015 visit to America; investigative news writing; and feature writing. The Register also won a third-place award for general excellence.

Swan also picked up an honourable mention in feature writing, while other honourable mentions went to Boudreau for reporting on young adults, Barco for graphic design, and to The Register staff for one-time special supplement.

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