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Florida Catholic, La Voz win 11 awards from Catholic press

Judges highlight coverage of Fidel Castro’s death, Syria suffering and World Youth Day



MIAMI | The Florida Catholic Miami edition and its sister newspaper, La Voz Católica, received 11 awards from the Catholic Press Association for writing and reporting on issues of local and international importance.


The awards were handed out June 23 at the conclusion of the CPA’s annual meeting, held in Quebec, Canada. The winners were selected from among 136 diocesan and national newspapers in the U.S. and Canada, for work done during the 2016 calendar year.

Florida Catholic editor Ana Rodriguez-Soto and freelancer Jim Davis won first place for their coverage of World Youth Day, in Poland and South Florida. The coverage appeared in the August 2016 edition of the Florida Catholic.

The judges wrote: “Colorful and descriptive writing using great metaphors and interesting cadences characterizes this World Youth Day coverage. Zeroing in on well-told human interest stories of the young people and their chaperones for the trip to Poland, the reporters selected their subjects well for maximum punch.”


Rodriguez-Soto also won both a first place in Spanish (for La Voz, where she serves as executive editor) and a second place in English for her coverage of local reaction to the death of Fidel Castro. She shared the English award with freelancer Tom Tracy. The coverage appeared in the December 2016 edition.

The English-language judges wrote: “These stories are well written and descriptive. The quotes interspersed with narration personalize the story that tastefully frames Castro’s death not as something to be celebrated but as the end of an era of pain for the Cuban people.”

The Spanish-language judges wrote: “This is a well written piece, thoughtful, measured insight on a complicated issue. Clearly demonstrating the author’s command of the subject, it effectively weaves the political moment into a story of tradition, history and faith. It offers a reaction from a segment of the Cuban exile community that was not well reported elsewhere, and it does so with eloquence and clarity.”


La Voz staff writer Rocío Granados won two awards. A first place for “Best Reporting of Social Justice Issues: Option for the Poor and Vulnerable,” for her story on the visit here of a Syrian nun, “Así viven los cristianos perseguidos” (This is how persecuted Christians live). The judges wrote: “Good job of illustrating life in Syria — kids collect bullets, how explosions litter nails, tin and glass in the street, how ambulances aren’t seen but instead pickup trucks.” The story appeared in the May 2016 edition.

Granados won a third place for “Best Reporting of Social Justice Issues: Life and Dignity of the Human Person,” for “Perdonar es el único poder que tienes para cambiar lo que ha sucedido.” The judges wrote: “Great story on a scary topic — Auschwitz survivor of the Angel of Death and how forgiving is the only thing to do. Great writing that could have gone clichéd, but that had a strong narrative and solid style.”

La Voz freelancer Brenda Torres won a second place for “Best Reporting on Latin America” for her story, “El calvario de Venezuela.” The judges wrote: “La Voz Católica’s pieces on the political situation in Venezuela are well reported and eloquently written. They offer readers in South Florida — home to many Venezuelan immigrants — a context to understand the trials and needs of their Venezuelan neighbors. One of the significant contributions they make is to dispel the myth of the ‘wealthy Venezuelans,’ reporting on the many families who have arrived in the United States with little money and few resources.”

Florida Catholic freelancer Cristina Cabrera Jarro also won an honorable mention for “Best online photo content not published in print,” for her coverage of a “cookie election” last November at St. Michael School in Miami. The judges said “At St. Michael School: a lesson you can think your teeth into” covered a “timely subject with touching and engaging imagery.”

Freelancer Priscilla Greear won an honorable mention for “Best Reporting on Vocations to Priesthood, Religious Life or Diaconate” for her article “From top gun to top nun,” covering the religious profession of Claretian Sister Ivette Habach, which appeared in the January 2016 edition.

Freelancers Davis and Anne DiBernardo shared an honorable mention for a package of stories on the Year of Mercy, “For I was in prison…”, which appeared in the October 2016 edition. The stories were: Capital punishment: Is it killing us all?, Seeing Christ behind bars, and Men, prison and abortion.

Freelancer Tracy won a third place for La Voz for his coverage of Catholic Legal Services and their work on behalf of immigrants, which appeared in the April 2016 edition. The judges wrote: “Great job of reporting on a particularly difficult issue, and relying on quotes from the people in the front line.”

Let’s Talk blogger and La Voz columnist Rogelio Zelada received an honorable mention for his columns on spiritual life. The judges wrote: “Excellent journalistic work, fact-based narrative with high-level narration. Timely and relevant themes.”

In addition to newspapers, the Catholic Press Association includes 86 magazine members and 240 newsletters. All told, the CPA represents Catholic publications with a total circulation of over 10.4 million in the U.S. and Canada.

And there's more...

In all, the three editions of the Florida Catholic — Miami, Orlando and Palm Beach— along with Miami’s La Voz Católica took home 21 awards.

TheFlorida Catholic Orlando edition won seven awards:

  • two first places for “Best Print Circulation Promotion Campaign” and “Best Media Kit”
  • a first place for “Best Regular Column: Scripture” for contributor Father David Scotchie
  • a second place for “Best Reporting on the Celebration of a Sacrament” for Teresa Peterson’s story, “Deacon battling stage 4 cancer”
  • a third place for staffer Michael Jimenez as “Graphic Artist/Designer of the Year”
  • two honorable mentions, one for coverage of the Pulse nightclub shooting by Jean Gonzalez, Glenda Meekins, Teresa Peterson and Christine Young; and another for coverage of pro-life issues, by Gonzalez and Laura Dodson

TheFlorida Catholic Palm Beach edition won three awards:

  • a first place for “Best Reporting on the Celebration of a Sacrament” for freelancer Jim Davis’ story, “New priests tells their stories”
  • a third place for “Best Reporting on Vocations to Priesthood, Religious Life or Diaconate” for editor Linda Reeves’ story, “A miracle story of a man of great faith”
  • Reeves also won an honorable mention in “Best Photograph: Feature” for her image of “Saints, souls remembered.”

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Comments from readers

Teresa Martinez - 06/28/2017 09:41 AM
Congratulations to an amazing team of journalists and photographers! Special congratulations to the archdiocese hidden gem, Ana Rodriguez-Soto. Many are an unaware of how much goes into the publication of daily news on the website and in the monthly newspaper. Ana is there every step of the way to make sure that our Catholic stories are told and told well! Job well done to the entire team!
Vilma Angulo - 06/28/2017 07:48 AM
WOW! How blest we are to have such outstanding writers,reporters and photographers who brilliantly keep our archdiocesan family in touch with what is happening in our midst! Ana, my heartfelt congratulations to you and to all your team. You have the innate ability to paint a beautiful portrait with your words that make us feel like we are part of the picture! Thank You!!!
J. Rayburn - 06/28/2017 07:24 AM
So good to see the printed word, whether in newsprint or online, is still being recognized and applauded. Including photo journalism, which we all know is worth a thousand words. (And yes, I know our house journalists and free lancers are cringing at the cliche.) Very good to see our own talented crew including and under the leadership of editor Ana Rodriguez Soto getting the accolades they so richly deserve! They approach every story, big or small, timely, topical, or routine thoroughly, thoughtfully and truthfully. The Archdiocesan journalists prove there is still credibility in the media. Congratulations!

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