Faith. Family. Fastballs.

Religion news, features and analysis by Bobby Ross Jr. | Reporting from all 50 states and 12 nations | Contact: therossnews@gmail.com

Journalism awards

Since joining The Christian Chronicle in 2005, I’ve received more than 80 awards from the Religion News Association, the Associated Church Press and the Society of Professional Journalists.

In 2013, I won a top prize from the Religion News Association for a portfolio of stories on illegal immigration and the church, the Mexico drug war’s impact on missions and civil rights attorney Fred Gray receiving an honorary doctorate from a Christian university he once sued.

With The Associated Press in 2004, my coverage of religion and politics made me one of three finalists for the Associated Press Managing Editors’ Charles Rowe Award for distinguished reporting in AP’s domestic bureaus.

At The Oklahoman in 2000, Griff Palmer (now with The New York Times) and I claimed a regional Dallas Press Club Katie Award for best series in a major metropolitan newspaper. That award recognized a computer-assisted reporting project on school choice that I did through a two-month Education Writers Association national fellowship.

Earlier, I was a lead victims team writer for The Oklahoman’s 1995 Oklahoma City bombing coverage that won two national Society of Professional Journalists awards, a Dart Award and many other honors.

I highlight all my award-winning stories below. Please note that the year is when the prize was given, not when the article was published.

— Bobby

Above photo: At the Oklahoma Society of Professional Journalists’ awards banquet.

• • •

2017

Associated Church Press “Best of the Christian Press” Contest

First Place, News Story, for “In the GOP primaries, do politics Trump values and character?” with sidebar “Elephant in the pews”

First Place (staff award), Best in Class, National or International Newspaper, for The Christian Chronicle.

Second Place, Feature Article, for “Young man with autism has a heart for homeless” from Camarillo, Calif.

Second Place, In-Depth Reporting, for “Orlando massacre: a Christian response” from Orlando, Fla.

Third Place, News Story, for “Thirsty souls: Churches help victims of Flint water crisis” from Flint, Mich.

Third Place, Feature Article, for “Canadian churches embrace Syrian refugees” from Beamsville, Ontario.

Third Place (with Erik Tryggestad, Chellie Ison and Katie Jones), In-Depth Reporting, for “Police shootings, racial unrest and the church,” including my stories “In Dallas, a somber Sunday” from Dallas and “Tulsa officer charged in shooting still welcome at church” from Tulsa, Okla.

Oklahoma Society of Professional Journalists Pro Chapter Contest (Online Division)

First Place, Election Reporting, for “In the GOP primaries, do politics Trump values and character?” with related column “GOP presidential politics, professional wrestling style” and story “Elephant in the pews.”

• • •

• • •

2016

Associated Church Press “Best of the Christian Press” Contest

First Place, Feature Article, for “From daughter to caretaker” from Sylacauga, Ala.

First Place, Theme Issue, Section or Series, for “God at work in U.S.” package, including main story from Tulsa, Okla., and quotes from all 50 states.

First Place (staff award), Best in Class, National or International Newspaper, for The Christian Chronicle.

Second Place, News Story, for “The broken soul of Baltimore” from Baltimore.

Second Place, Personally Useful Article, for “From daughter to caretaker.”

Religion News Association “Awards for Excellence in Religion Reporting”

Finalist, Magazine News Religion Reporting, for “The broken soul of Baltimore” from Baltimore, “God, guns and keeping Christians safe” and “Massacre puts focus on Muslims” from San Bernardino, Calif.

Oklahoma Society of Professional Journalists Pro Chapter Contest (Major Newspapers and Wire Services Division)

First Place, Diversity Coverage, for “The broken soul of Baltimore.”

• • •

2015

Associated Church Press “Best of the Christian Press” Contest

First Place, News Story, for “Worship is our protest” report from Ferguson, Mo.

First Place, Feature Article, for “Inside the ‘Duck Dynasty’ Church” story from West Monroe, La.

First Place (with Erik Tryggestad and staff), Theme Issue, Section or Series, for “One Nación Under God” project, which included my stories from Elgin, Ill.; Norcross, Ga.; Westminster, Colo.; and Benton, Ark.

First Place (staff award), Best in Class, National or International Newspaper, for The Christian Chronicle. 

Second Place, Feature Article, for “A child molester’s son shines a light” story from Somerset, Pa.

Religion News Association “Awards for Excellence in Religion Reporting”

Honorable mention, Magazine News Religion Reporting, for “Worship is our protest” from Ferguson, Mo., “A child molester’s son shines a light” from Somerset, Pa., and “Inside the ‘Duck Dynasty’ church” from West Monroe, La.

Oklahoma Society of Professional Journalists Pro Chapter Contest (Major Newspapers and Wire Services Division)

First Place, Feature Writing, for “A child molester’s son shines a light.”

Third Place, Leisure Writing, for “50 years of Northern exposure.”

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Photo: At a church service in Nicaragua.

• • •

2014

Associated Church Press “Best of the Christian Press” Contest

First Place (with Erik Tryggestad, Ted Parks and Murray Evans), In-Depth Reporting, for coverage of tornadoes in Oklahoma and Texas, which included my Inside Story column from Moore, Okla., and my news story from Cleburne and Granbury, Texas.

Second Place, News Story, for “Nelson Mandela’s legacy in South Africa.”

Second Place, Convention or Meeting Coverage, for “Homosexuality and the church.”

Third Place (with Erik Tryggestad and David Chenault), Theme Issue, Section or Series, for “Rural Redemption,” which included my stories from Montezuma, Iowa, and Beallsville, Ohio, and my Inside Story column from Greenwood, Texas.

Oklahoma Society of Professional Journalists Pro Chapter Contest (Major Newspapers and Wire Services Division)

2014: First Place, Education Reporting, for “Religious freedom in public schools.”

• • •

2013

Religion News Association “Awards for Excellence in Religion Reporting”

First Place, Magazine News Religion Reporting, for stories on illegal immigration and the church, the Mexico drug war’s impact on missions and civil rights attorney Fred Gray receiving an honorary doctorate from a Christian university he once sued.

Finalist, Supple Feature Writer of the Year Award for the illegal immigration and Mexico drug war reports, plus a piece on Christians in secular Vermont (with sidebars on red state vs. blue state voting and one church’s vote for Jesus).

Associated Church Press “Best of the Christian Press” Contest

First Place (staff award), Best in Class, National or International Newspaper, for The Christian Chronicle.

First Place, Personally Useful Article, for “Is your church visitor-friendly?” and related sidebars.

Second Place, News Story, for “Black, white and Gray.”

Second Place, Convention or Meeting Coverage, for “‘Little youth rally’ draws 12,000.”

Oklahoma Society of Professional Journalists Pro Chapter Contest (Major Newspapers and Wire Services Division)

Third Place, General News Reporting, for “A rocky road for Mexico missions.”

Third Place, Entertainment Feature, for “Faith, family and ducks.”

Third Place, Leisure Writing, for “‘Little youth rally’ draws 12,000.”

 • • •

2012

Associated Church Press “Best of the Christian Press” Contest

First Place, News Story, for coverage of an Arizona church member’s death in the Tucson mass shooting that targeted U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

First Place, Feature Article, for the story of an Oregon minister bringing healing to a community wounded by suicides.

Second Place, Convention or Meeting Coverage, for “Saving Sin City.”

Third Place (staff award), Best in Class, National or International Newspaper, for The Christian Chronicle.

Religion News Association “Awards for Excellence in Religion Reporting”

Finalist, Magazine News Religion Reporting, for coverage of an Arizona church member’s death in the Tucson mass shooting that targeted U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, the story of an Oregon minister bringing healing to a community wounded by suicides and a 9/11 anniversary piece on a North Carolina military congregation.

Oklahoma Society of Professional Journalists Pro Chapter Contest (Major Newspapers and Wire Services Division)

2012: First Place, Editorial/Commentary, for “Taking steps to protect children.”

2012: Third Place, General News Reporting, for “He was a hero to his church family.”

• • •

Photo: With Tamie on a reporting trip to Montana.

• • •

2011 

Associated Church Press “Best of the Christian Press” Contest

First Place, Interview, for feature on “The Rookie” Jim Morris.

Second Place (staff award), Best in Class, National or International Newspaper, for The Christian Chronicle.

Second Place, Feature Article, for “Faith, hope and love behind bars.”

Second Place (with Erik Tryggestad), In-Depth Reporting, for coverage of Haiti earthquake, which included stories by me on Haitian orphans reuniting in the U.S. and Christian university students rallying to help earthquake victims.

Oklahoma Society of Professional Journalists Pro Chapter Contest (Major Newspapers and Wire Services Division)

First Place (with Erik Tryggestad, Lynn McMillon, Amanda Jordan and Joy McMillon), In-Depth Enterprise Reporting/Team, for “Global South” project, which included stories by me from Minnesota, Ghana and South Africa.

Honorable Mention, Sports Feature, for “The Rookie: Part 2.”

Honorable Mention, Criminal Justice Reporting, for “Faith, hope and love behind bars.”

• • •

2010 

Associated Church Press “Best of the Christian Press” Contest

First Place (with Erik Tryggestad), Theme Issue, Section or Series, for “Global South” project, which included stories by me from Minnesota, Ghana and South Africa.

Second Place (with Erik Tryggestad), In-Depth Reporting, for “Global South” project, which included stories by me from Minnesota, Ghana and South Africa.

Third Place (staff award), Best in Class, National or International Newspaper, for The Christian Chronicle.

Third Place, News Story, for coverage from Ghana of a partnership between Christian universities in West Texas and West Africa.

Third Place, Feature Article, for coverage of a North Carolina church’s ministry for children with special needs.

Oklahoma Society of Professional Journalists Pro Chapter Contest (Major Newspapers and Wire Services Division)

Third Place (with Erik Tryggestad), Business Reporting, for coverage of the recession’s impact on churches.

Honorable Mention, Best Reporting Portfolio, for five stories published in the July 2008-June 2009 contest period (“Immigration in America: Manhattan church reflects ‘melting pot’ nature of New York City,”“Race and the church: Getting beyond the handshake,”“Campaign 2008: Presidential race engages students,”“By the numbers: Church in America marked by decline” and “Saying goodbye to Cascade College.”)

• • •

2009

Associated Church Press “Best of the Christian Press” Contest

First Place (staff award), Best in Class, National or International Newspaper, for The Christian Chronicle.

Third Place (with Erik Tryggestad), Front-Page Design, for November edition.

Oklahoma Society of Professional Journalists Pro Chapter Contest (Major Newspapers and Wire Services Division)

First Place, Business Feature, for a story on minister retirement issues.

First Place (with Erik Tryggestad), Business Reporting, for coverage of the recession’s impact on churches.

Second Place, Education Reporting, for coverage of Christian schools using education as an outreach tool.

Third Place, Personal Column, for “Throwing more than crumbs at the hungry.”

Third Place, Editorial/Commentary, for “Have We Become Lukewarm?”

Third Place (with Erik Tryggestad, Lynn McMillon and Jonathan Cannon), In-Depth Enterprise Reporting/Team, for “By the numbers” series.

Honorable Mention, Diversity Reporting, for coverage of fire at historically black Christian university.

• • •

2008

Associated Church Press “Best of the Christian Press” Contest

First Place, Editorial, for “Have We Become Lukewarm?”

Second Place, Convention or Meeting Coverage, for story on a cappella music symposium at Pepperdine University.

Second Place (with Erik Tryggestad), Personally Useful Article, for a series of reports on sex crimes and addictions.

Third Place (staff award), Best in Class, National or International Newspaper, for The Christian Chronicle.

Third Place, Theme Issue, Section or Series, for stories on church-planting efforts.

Oklahoma Society of Professional Journalists Pro Chapter Contest (Major Newspapers and Wire Services Division)

Second Place, Feature Writing, for an in-depth story on one family’s experience after Hurricane Katrina.

Third Place (with Erik Tryggestad), In-Depth Enterprise Reporting/Team, for “Are We Growing?” series.

Third Place, Sports Column, for a column on faith, family and baseball.

Honorable Mention (staff award), Best Newspaper, for The Christian Chronicle.

Honorable Mention, Entertainment Feature, for story on a church with ties to the “We Are Marshall” movie.

• • •

2007 

Associated Church Press “Best of the Christian Press” Contest

Third Place, News Story, for coverage of a Tennessee minister’s slaying and the arrest of his wife.

Third Place, Feature Article, for an in-depth story on one family’s experience after Hurricane Katrina.

Third Place (staff award), Best in Class, National or International Newspaper, for The Christian Chronicle.

Oklahoma Society of Professional Journalists Pro Chapter Contest (Major Newspapers and Wire Services Division)

Third Place, General News Reporting, for coverage of Hurricane Katrina.

• • •

Photo: The Tennessee staff of The Associated Press in 2003.

• • •

Before joining the Chronicle, I worked three years as a religion and enterprise writer at The Associated Press in Nashville and Dallas, nine years as a reporter and editor with The Oklahoman in Oklahoma City and three years as a staff writer for smaller newspapers.

A two-time national finalist for the Religion News Association’s Supple Religion Writer of the Year Award, I received more than 30 writing awards during my secular journalism career for coverage of education, prisons, politics, religion, special projects and other topics.

With AP, I earned honorable mention (second place) in 2004 for the Associated Press Managing Editors’ Charles Rowe Award for distinguished reporting in AP’s 150 domestic bureaus. I won second place in 2004 for Texas AP Staffer of the Year, given by the Texas Associated Press Managing Editors.

At The Oklahoman, Griff Palmer (now with The New York Times) and I claimed a regional Dallas Press Club Katie Award in 2000 for best series in a major metropolitan newspaper. That award honored a computer-assisted reporting project on school choice that I did through a two-month Education Writers Association national fellowship.

I was a lead victims team writer for The Oklahoman’s 1995 Oklahoma City bombing coverage that won two national SPJ awards, a Dart Award and many other awards. In my nine years with Oklahoma’s largest newspaper, I received 11 first-place awards from the Oklahoma SPJ and the Associated Press/Oklahoma News Executives Carl Rogan Awards.

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Photo: Oklahoma Christian University Talon staff in 1988.

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