Texas Catholic Herald wins 8 international press awards

August 17, 2021

HOUSTON — The Texas Catholic Herald won several journalism awards at the 2021 Catholic Media Conference in June at the Catholic Media Association (CMA) 2021 Press Awards ceremony.

The CMA gave the Herald an honorable mention as “Best Diocesan Newspaper,” a competitive category that includes all eligible diocesan newspaper publications from across the world. Staff photo-journalist and designer James Ramos received two individual excellence awards, with honorable mentions in the “Writer of the Year” and “Photographer of the Year” categories for his coverage and photography of the COVID-19 pandemic, vocations, racism and culture, among other stories.

The Texas Catholic Herald team was also awarded first-place for “Best Reporting on Vocations to Priesthood, Religious Life or Diaconate.” The series was praised because “the intersectionality of the subjects in this series made it stand out from the rest” and that the stories were “well crafted” and “articulately written,” giving readers “not only insight into different perspectives related to prison but with the emotions of those involved as well.”

The series, written by Jo Ann Zuñiga and Ramos, explored then-seminarian Joey White and Father Michael Earthman’s encounter with Pope Francis during Daniel Cardinal DiNardo and Auxiliary Bishop George A. Sheltz’s ad limina visit in January 2020. The series also profiled Sister Maureen O’Connell, OP, and her quest to lead the Archdiocese’s social justice efforts, and the lifetime journey and often hidden but crucial ministry of Father Ron Cloutier, the former longtime Office of Correctional Ministries director.

The Herald staff also was awarded third-place for its series “A Living Church of Pachal Joy” that covered the initial impacts of the pandemic. “The reporting is detailed, human and comprehensive,” judges said. “An incredible effort to report on all areas affected by COVID-19 in the church, and how the church community responded from a local to a global level.”

Advertising Manager Catherine Viola and Ramos’s collaboration netted a third-place award for “Best Promotional House Ad.” The full page ad, which encouraged continued stewardship, was an “impressionable call to action,” according to judges. The ad featured a photograph of a stained glass window, seen at St. Anne Catholic Church in Houston, depicting Jesus calming the seas. Judges said the “colorful, vibrant stain glass” was “reminiscent of church windows” and evoked “feelings of attending Mass.”

The Herald staff also garnered an honorable mention for coverage of a disaster or crises, as seen in the series “Hurricane Laura: Too Much, Too Close, Too Soon.” The series unpacked the visible and invisible effects of the major hurricane that hit southeast Texas and Louisiana.

Ramos also received another honorable mention for his feature photograph from the Archdiocese’s 25th annual wedding jubilee celebration.

The Catholic Media Association has nearly 250 publication members and 600 individual members worldwide. Its mission is to build and strengthen the value and worth of the Catholic press by facilitating the professional, economic and spiritual growth of its members.

The CMA awards program allows Catholic journalists, authors, publishers and media professionals to showcase their hard work from the previous year. †