Tag Archives: journalism awards

For third year in a row, Christian Chronicle named top newspaper by Associated Church Press

My Christian Chronicle colleague Chellie Ison reports:

CHICAGO — For the third year in a row, The Christian Chronicle has earned top honors in the “Best of the Christian Press” contest, sponsored by the Associated Church Press.

The Chronicle was awarded the first-place “Award of Excellence” in the prestigious “Best in Class” category for national and international newspapers.

The Christian Chronicle is consistently well planned, written, edited and produced,” one judge commented. “The stories are compelling, the art is professional and the headlines clear and tight.”

The Anglican Journal received the second-place Award of Merit, and the Episcopal Journal claimed honorable mention.

Winners were announced April 28 at the ACP’s national convention in Chicago.

In all, the Chronicle — an Oklahoma City-based international newspaper for Churches of Christ with 260,000 monthly print readers — received 14 awards for content published in 2016.

Since 2007, the newspaper has won 87 national ACP awards and been recognized in the Best in Class contest for 11 consecutive years. This is the fifth time the Chronicle received first-place honors in the category, winning previously in 2009, 2013, 2015 and 2016.

See the full list of awards.

My half-dozen individual honors included first place for the news story “In the GOP primaries, do politics Trump values and character?” from Oklahoma City. That piece that also won top honors for election reporting from the Oklahoma Society of Professional Journalists.

— Bobby

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Trump coverage wins first-place SPJ award for election reporting

My stories on Donald Trump and other Republican candidates campaigning in Oklahoma City last year earned a first-place award for election reporting.

I received the honor in the Oklahoma Society of Professional Journalists’ 2017 contest.

The winning package included the main story “In the GOP primaries, do politics Trump values and character?” along with a column “GOP presidential politics, professional wrestling style” and a related story “Elephant in the pews: Is the GOP the party of Churches of Christ?”

I had a fun time at the April 22 awards banquet with my son Keaton, a journalism major at Oklahoma Christian University.

— Bobby

UPDATE: The same coverage also won a first-place award in the Associated Church Press national contest.

MLK Day reading: Black, white and Gray

Civil rights attorney who once challenged Lipscomb University in court receives the Christian university’s highest honor.

First Place (part of three-story portfolio), Magazine News Religion Reporting, Religion News Association

Second Place, News Story, Associated Church Press

By Bobby Ross Jr. | The Christian Chronicle

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Forty-five years ago, civil rights attorney and preacher Fred Gray filed a lawsuit that exposed deep divides between black and white members of Churches of Christ.

The 1967 lawsuit challenged the transfer of more than $400,000 in assets from the closed Nashville Christian Institute — a school that trained hundreds of future black church leaders — to David Lipscomb College, a higher education institution with a history of racism.

On a recent Friday night, that same Christian college — now known as Lipscomb University — presented Gray with an honorary doctorate of humane letters, the highest award the university bestows on an individual.

“It is not every day that you file a lawsuit against an institution and that institution later sees fit to honor you,” Gray, 81, told a crowd of 500 that witnessed the ceremony in Lipscomb’s Allen Arena.

Who, Gray asked, would have thought such an honor would be possible for an Alabama boy who grew up in a shotgun house with no running water?

For a boy who rode segregated buses and witnessed the frequent mistreatment of black people?

For a boy who, before he became a lawyer determined to “destroy everything segregated” he could find, performed manual labor in the yards of Lipscomb professors?

“If each of us would be really honest … we would say that we never thought this would be possible,” Gray said of the Lipscomb honor.

Read the full story.

This story originally appeared in the August 2012 edition of The Christian Chronicle.

Young man with autism has a heart for homeless

California church member overcomes fears as he leads ministry that serves the needy.

Second Place, Feature Article, Associated Church Press

By Bobby Ross Jr.  | The Christian Chronicle

CAMARILLO, Calif. — A few miles from the Camarillo Church of Christ, a man with a backpack and a bicycle squats at a busy intersection.

Chris Kibbe, who describes himself as between jobs and homeless, holds a cardboard sign.

“Spare a little kindness,” the handwritten message begs. “God bless.”

Not long ago, many members of the Camarillo church — which meets in a palm-tree-shaded building just off the Ventura Freeway — might have averted their eyes and driven right past Kibbe.

But now — thanks to a packet ministry started by Luke McAllister, a 20-year-old church member with autism — the congregation is equipped and eager to help.

“It’s easy to become blind to things,” preacher Alan Beard said. “But in the same way that if you have a watering can, you look for flowers to water — if you have a packet, you look for someone who’s thirsty or needs a quick meal or a couple of dollars.”

“Luke’s Packet Ministry” offers snacks, cash — and hope — to downtrodden souls.

Read the full story.

This story appears in the September 2016 print edition of The Christian Chronicle.

In Orlando, a call for more openness, less fear

After gay nightclub massacre, showing love to LGBT community a focus at Christian conference.

Second Place, In-Depth Reporting, Associated Church Press

By Bobby Ross Jr. | The Christian Chronicle

ORLANDO, Fla. — Sally Gary couldn’t come to Orlando and fail to visit the site of the gay nightclub massacre where 49 people died.

The founder of CenterPeace, a Dallas-based ministry that provides support and resources for people who experience same-sex attraction, said she felt compelled to pay her respects.

“I can’t imagine being here and not paying homage to the brothers and sisters who lost their lives there,” said Gary, a member of the Highland Oaks Church of Christ in Dallas.

Months before the Pulse nightclub attack, Gary accepted an invitation to speak at the Equip Conference in Orlando — a biennial event formerly known as the Spiritual Growth Workshop.

The nation’s worst mass shooting — in which 53 people were wounded in addition to those killed — provided “a very in-your-face reminder” of the urgency for churches to become more open and less fearful in discussing LGBT issues, Gary said.

Her message to the standing-room-only crowds that filled her three sessions: The person experiencing same-sex attraction isn’t a guy in a rainbow-colored bikini marching in a gay pride parade.

“It’s me,” said Gary, who grew up in the Tenth and Broad Street Church of Christ in Wichita Falls, Texas, and earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Abilene Christian University.

Read the full story.

This is the first of a three-part series in The Christian Chronicle.

After a deadly week, a somber Sunday for Dallas churches

Christians look to God for comfort and guidance after a sniper kills five police officers.

Third Place, In-Depth Reporting, Associated Church Press (part of a series of stories on police shootings, racial unrest and the church)

By Bobby Ross Jr. | The Christian Chronicle

DALLAS — A young mother on her way into worship hugged a Dallas police officer providing parking lot security at the Prestoncrest Church of Christ.

Any other Sunday, the scene would not have seemed so poignant.

But on this Lord’s Day, emotions were raw. Anxiety was high.

“It has been a very rough week for us in Dallas, unlike anything we’ve had in a while,” Prestoncrest minister Gordon Dabbs told his congregation before leading a special prayer.

Members of Churches of Christ — like Americans in general — are trying to make sense of the violence and racial tension that have shaken the nation.

Last week started with outrage over the latest police shootings of young black men — this time in Louisiana and Minnesota.

Then on Thursday night, a protest over those shootings turned violent when a sniper opened fire, killing five Dallas officers and wounding nine other officers and two civilians.

After the massacre in downtown Dallas, ministers such as Dabbs scrapped originally planned Sunday sermons and came up with new ones. Dabbs decided to focus on “what it means to be salt and light for Jesus in the midst of a divided and angry culture.”

Read the full story.

Related story: As gunfire rang out, Dallas church member ran for his life (reporting from Dallas)

These stories appear in the online edition of The Christian Chronicle.

Finalists named for Religion Newswriters Association national awards — and I made the list

By Bobby Ross Jr.

The Religion Newswriters Association has announced the national finalists for its “Awards for Religion Reporting Excellence.”

I am honored to make the list again this year.

My portfolio in the Magazine News Religion Reporting category includes these stories from The Christian Chronicle: “The broken soul of Baltimore,” “God, guns and keeping Christians safe” and “San Bernardino massacre puts focus on Muslims.”

Winners will be announced at RNA’s annual conference in September.