Religion Communicators Council honors 23 for work during 2019

NEW YORK — CBS News, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Al Jazeera English, Los Angeles Times and several other contributors both locally and internationally have won recognition from the Religion Communicators Council for faith-related reporting.

The Religion Communicators Council announced 23 Wilbur Award winners for work completed in 2019. Among this year’s winners are a number of pieces that highlight stories from around the world or were produced internationally. Such winners include “Wrapped in Love,” the Toronto based radio documentary winner from Tapestry on CBC Radio, and “Life & Soul,” the Dublin based winner in the TV & Cable documentary category by Scratch Films for RTÉ. The Associated Press won in two categories, one for a breathtaking photo essay depicting recent crackdowns by the Indian government in the largely Muslim Kashmir region.

Other Wilbur winners include New York Time Bestseller, “The Dearly Beloved,” published by Simon and Schuster; “Bipartisan Prayer,” a TV interview by CBS Face the Nation; and a magazine essay published by Emergence Magazine, “On the Road with Thomas Merton.”

The awards ceremony will take place in the Washington D.C. area during the once-a-decade Religion Communication Congress 2020: Communicating Faith in the Public Square (RCCongress 2020). Winners will be presented individually crafted stained-glass Wilbur trophies during the event on March 20 at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City Hotel. The Wilbur program is coordinated by RCC executive director Shirley Struchen and produced by Dr. Andrew B. Rawls. This will be the last year that the duo will work together on the awards as both will be retiring after this event. This will be the 30th year Andrew (Andy) Rawls has written and produced the awards for RCC and Shirley Struchen, executive director of RCC for 17 years, has been the Wilbur Coordinator for nine years. Phillips Theological Seminary, a community of teachers and students that offers online and on-campus courses across the U.S. and abroad, will sponsor the event. The Wilbur program will be hosted by Rev. Shayna J. Watson, Episcopal priest and founder of ΘeoCon (pronounced Thee-Oh-Con).

The Religion Communicators Council has presented Wilbur Awards annually since 1949. Secular communicators enter work in seven 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.

See complete list of 2020 Wilbur winners below.

2020 Wilbur Award winners (for work produced during 2019)

NEWSPAPER ARTICLES print and online

MAGAZINE ARTICLES print and online

  • All Markets (single article, series of articles, religion page)



  • Feature Length Film
    • Breaking Bread,” Beth Elise Hawk, writer, producer & director; Jon Fitzgerald & Travis Knox, executive producers; Martin Goldenberg, Michelle Harrison, Issie Rabinovitch, Lois Schottenstein, associate producers; Ofer Ben Yehuda, director of photography; Jonty Fine & Itai Levin, editors; Omar El-Deeb, music; Gemini Girls Productions, Santa Monica, California
  • Documentary (30 min.+)
    • American Heretics: The Politics of the Gospel,” Jeanine Butler & Catherine Butler, directors & producers; Jamie Lee Godfrey, editor; Peter Hutchens, camera; Butlerfilms in association with Contemporary Dialogues, Charlottesville, Virginia
  • Documentary (30 min. +)


  • Online News Stories
    • The Reckoning,” The Associated Press Staff; The Associated Press New York, New York
  • Multimedia or Video
    • Coverings,” Peter Smith, religion editor; Stephanie Strasburg, staff photographer; Shelly Bradbury, public-safety reporter; Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania


  • Drama
    • Jesus: His Life,” Ben Goold, Jane Root, Joel Osteen, D. Emerson Iloff, Mary Donahue, Evan Lerner, executive producers; Simon Breen, series producer; Joshua Hyams, Alex Dwiar, Jackelyn Viera Lloff, producers; Adrian McDowall, Craig Pickles, Ashley Pearce, directors; Joe Ainsworth, Ed Selleck, Anna McPartlin, Lauren Klee, writers; produced by Nutopia; History, A&E Network, New York, New York
  • News – network or national syndication (up to 4 min.)
  • News – network or national syndication (4-8 min.)
    • “CBS News Sunday Morning: Family Man: When Mitch Albom found Chika” Nancy Giles, correspondent; Mary Lou Teel, producer; Joseph Frandino, editor; Rand Morrison, executive producer; CBS Sunday Morning, New York, New York
  • News – network or national syndication (8 min.+)
    • CBS News 60 Minutes: Tree of Life,” Lesley Stahl, correspondent; Shachar Bar-On, producer; Kate Morris, associate producer; April Wilson, editor; Bill Owens; executive producer; Tanya Simon, executive editor; 60 Minutes, CBS News, New York, New York
  • Documentary (up to 30 min.)
    • In Bad Faith: Child Sex Abuse and the Catholic Church,” Paul Abowd, producer; Natasha Del Toro, correspondent; Laila Al-Arian, executive producer; Erik Ljung and Stephen Bailey, dp; Paul Abowd, additional photography; Warwick Meade, editor; Fault Lines, Al Jazeera English, Washington, D.C.
  • Documentary (30 min.+)
    • Life & Soul,” Liam McGrath, producer/director; Roger Childs, executive producer; Greg Fromholz, associate producer; Áine O’Neill & Colm Flynn, presenters /producers; Lanka Perren, director of photography; Elisanne Pires, production co-ordinator; Scratch Films for RTÉ, Balbriggan, Dublin
  • Interview
    • Face the Nation – Bipartisan Prayer, Margaret Brennan, moderator; Mary Hager, executive producer; Catherine Reynolds, senior producer; Jake Miller, producer; Alison Hawley director; CBS News, Washington, D.C.




About the Religion Communicators Council

The Religion Communicators Council (RCC), founded in 1929, is an association of communications professionals who work for and with a diverse group of faith-based organizations in the areas of communications, public relations, marketing and development.

Contact: Shirley Struchen, or 212-870-2402.

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