The Religion Communicators Council announced 22 Wilbur Awards March 9. The awards honor excellence by individuals in secular media – print and online journalism, book publishing, broadcasting, and motion pictures – in communicating religious issues, values and themes during 2014.
Other winners include the Oprah Winfrey Network, BuzzFeed, Religion News Service, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, The Huffington Post, a Miami radio station, and a Knoxville, Tennessee, television station.
The 2014 awards are to be presented April 11 in Alexandria, Virginia, during the council’s 86th annual national convention.
CBS earned awards for a “60 Minutes” report on Pope Francis, a “CBS Sunday Morning” segment on “Heavenly Voices,” and a Religion and Culture broadcast production titled “Crime, Punishment and Redemption.”
Journalist, author and minister G. Jeffrey MacDonald was recognized for a news story, “Christian Nonprofits Overcome Hurdles,” on FaithAndLeadership.com and a series of magazine articles, “Responding to Crisis on the Border,” in The Living Church.
The Religion Communicators Council has presented Wilbur Awards annually since 1949. Secular communicators enter work in eight categories. Juries of media professionals, coordinated by council members across the country, evaluate submissions on content, creativity, impact and excellence in communicating religious values.
The award is named for the late Marvin C. Wilbur, a pioneer in religious public relations, longtime council leader and former Presbyterian Church executive.
2015 Wilbur Award winners (for work produced during 2014):
- Walking on Water, Richard Paul Evans, author; Simon & Schuster, New York, New York
- Rebbe, Joseph Telushkin, author; HarperCollins Publishers, New York, New York
Books: Youth Books
- Best of KidSpirit Online, Volume III, Elizabeth Dabney Hochman, editor, KidSpirit Online
Magazine Articles: National or Top 15 Metro Markets
- “From Rebel to Reverend,” Julia Duin, writer; More Magazine, New York, New York
Magazine Articles: All Other Markets
- “Responding to Crisis on the Border,” G. Jeffrey MacDonald, writer; The Living Church (series of articles: “Rest for the Weary,” “Ecumenical Compassion,” “Defend the Sojourner,” “Border Crisis Eases”)
Newspaper Articles: National or Top 15 Metro Markets
- “Life As a Non-Muslim In Pakistan,” Jaweed Kaleem, writer; The Huffington Post
Newspaper Articles: All Other Markets
- “Faith in Ferguson,” Lilly Fowler, writer; St. Louis Post-Dispatch, St. Louis, Missouri (series of articles: “Former Ram Aeneas Williams now tending a flock in Ferguson,” “Clergy-led protest raises questions over nature of repentance,” “Movement seeks to make St. Louis a compassionate city,” “Churches to serve as safe spaces after Ferguson grand jury announcement”)
Feature Films: Drama
- The Song, Kyle Idleman & Tony Young, executive producers; Richard Ramsey, writer/director; City on a Hill Studio, Louisville, Kentucky
Feature Films: Documentary (30 min+)
- Of Many, Danielle Emery, producer; Linda G. Mills, director; Chelsea Clinton, executive producer; Peter Goodrich, artistic director; Of Many Institute for Multifaith Leadership, New York University
Digital Communications: Faith-Based Blogs
- Commentaries on American Jewish Life, Jeffrey Salkin, commentator; Religion News Service (series of articles: “A rabbi’s Christmas sermon: May God become incarnate in you,” “The ‘plane’ truth about the ultra-Orthodox,” “‘The Red Tent’: A bloody tale with a timely twist”)
Digital Communications: Online News Stories
- “Feminism In Faith: Sister Elizabeth Johnson’s Challenge To The Vatican,” Jamie Manson, freelance writer; BuzzFeed.com
Digital Communications: Online News Stories
- “Christian Non-profits Overcome Hurdles,” G. Jeffrey MacDonald, FaithAndLeadership.com (series of three articles: “From funding loss to sustainability,” “A Texas nonprofit becomes a hub for addressing the border crisis,” “School brings life to empty buildings”)
Digital Communications: Multimedia
- “Day By Day,” Tom LaMarra, writer; Claire Novak, online features editor; Kimberly Reeves, designer; Blood-Horse Publications, Lexington, Kentucky
Television & Cable News: Network or national syndication
- CBS Sunday Morning: Heavenly Voices, Tracy Smith, correspondent; John D’Amelio, producer; Lauren Barnello, producer/editor; CBS Sunday Morning, New York, New York
Television & Cable News: Network or national syndication (8+ mins)
- CBS News 60 Minutes: Pope Francis, Scott Pelley, correspondent; Jeff Fager, executive producer; Nicole Young, producer; Sabina Castelfranco, co-producer; Bill Owens, executive editor; CBS News, New York, New York
- Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly: Camden Priest, Lucky Severson, correspondent; John Greco, producer; Washington, DC
Television & Cable News: Local
- WATE-TV: Jake and Evelyn Get a Home, Don Dare, reporter/producer; Dave Wignall, photographer/editor; Brian Engelstad, photographer; WATE-TV, Knoxville, Tennessee
Television & Cable: Documentary (up to 30 min.)
- CBS Television: Religion and Culture broadcasts: Crime, Punishment, and Redemption, John Blessington, executive producer; Liz Kineke, producer; New York, New York
Television & Cable: Documentary (30 min+)
- Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall, Edgar Barens, director and producer; Geof Bartz, editor; Julia Reichert, associate producer; Dean Creasie Finny Hairston, project advisor; Broadcast on HBO, Prison Terminal LLC, Montgomery, Illinois
Television & Cable: Interview
- Super Soul Sunday: Timothy Shriver interview with Oprah Winfrey, Tare Montgomery and Andrea Wishom, executive producers; Corny Koehl, Jenna Kostelnik, Eric Peltier, Amy Ward and Lisa Weiss, co-executive producers; Elianna Bodner, A. Chris Gajilan, Shantel Klinger, and Erinn McNeill, producers; OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network
Radio or Podcasts: Single Program
- WLRN-Miami Herald News: How A Liberty City Pastor Rallies His Community After Murders, Nadege Green, reporter; Alicia Zuckerman, editor; WLRN-Miami Herald News, Miami, Florida
Photography: Photo Series
- Journey to the Clouds, Nile Sprague, photographer; Nile Sprague Photography, Mendocino, California
About the Religion Communicators Council
The Religion Communicators Council is an interfaith association of more than 400 religion communicators. They work in print and electronic communication, advertising, and public relations. Members represent Bahá’í, Christian, Hindu, Jewish and Muslim faith communities. Founded in 1929, the council is the oldest public relations professional association in the United States.
Contact: Shirley Struchen, SStruchen@rcn.com, 212-870-2402
Source: Religion Communicators Council