Michael Swan.

Register’s Michael Swan wins top award

By 
  • June 27, 2019

ST. PETERSBURG,  Fla. -- Nobody in the Catholic press does it better than Michael Swan.

The Catholic Register’s associate editor won the prestigious Writer of the Year award for 2018 from the Catholic Press Association of the United States and Canada.

Announced June 21 at the CPA’s annual awards celebration, the award honours a newspaper writer in the Catholic press who has produced an “exemplary” body of work over the course of the year.

“I keep trying to get better,” said Swan, who joined  The Register in 1997. “I’m happy if I have made some progress, delighted to be recognized for it and hopeful that our readers get something out of what we produce every week.

“When other journalists like your journalism, you feel like you’ve been fighting the good fight.”

The judges praised Swan’s “deep reporting on significant topics” and said he displayed “real talent, commitment and abiding devotion to his craft.”

“His stories are both powerful and necessary for audiences to read. Excellent journalistic work,” read a judges’ statement.

They reviewed several examples of Swan’s work, which included stories in response to the sexual abuse scandal in the Church, a long-form feature on the Scarboro  Foreign Missions and exclusive news stories on a proposal at Sick Kids Hospital to provide euthanasia for minors and another story on the response of the Basilian Fathers to a sexual assault scandal at Toronto’s St. Michael’s College School.

“I always want to point out that editors and designers have done so much to make my stories better than I could have made them by myself,” Swan said.

In addition to winning the prestigious overall writing award, Swan received another first-place award for best reporting on social justice issues for a story about a Guatemalan sister decrying exploitation in the local mining industry. He took third place in the same category, and won another third-place prize for international news writing.

“To be named Writer of the Year is a real honour and in Michael’s case it is richly deserved,” said Catholic Register publisher and editor Jim O’Leary. “I don’t know of anyone else who can write so quickly, knowledgeably and thoroughly on so many different topics.”

Register staff won four other second-place awards: for front-page design by Lucy Barco, layout by Mike Simpson, use of a photo illustration by Erik Canaria, and for editorial writing, in which separate Register submissions won second and third place awards.

Deacon Robert Kinghorn won third place in column writing and other third-place awards went to freelancer Tim Wharnsby for sportswriting and The Register for overall excellence.

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