Blanca Rodriguez holds her son during a Sept. 8, 2017 rally to demand congressional action on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Blanca Rodriguez holds her son during a Sept. 8, 2017 rally to demand congressional action on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

El Mensajero Católico receives 14 press awards

El Mensajero Católico won 14 awards from the Catholic Press Association for work published in 2017.

The CPA, which represents more than 600 Catholic publications in the United States and Canada, presented the awards during its annual convention June 12-15 in Green Bay, Wis.

The newspaper received the following awards:

Spanish Publication of the Year: El Mensajero won first place in this category.

“El Mensajero serves the Rochester community with a newspaper that, beyond coverage of issues relating to the faith (which it does with distinction), offers its readers the tools to lead an active, productive and effective civic life,” the judges commented. “I was particularly impressed by the articles focusing on the mayoral and school board races (this last one including miniprofiles of the candidates). The stories are well written, the pages beautifully designed. And after reading El Mensajero, Rochester readers have the tools to make major community choices. In its own way, it is an indispensable publication for Rochester’s Hispanic Community.”

Spanish Staff Writer of the Year: Staff Writer Annette Jiménez received third place in this category.

“Ms. Jiménez is a great writer,” the judges wrote. “She has a clear ability to tackle a wide range of topics (from politics to sports) and provide good information and analysis to readers. The writer effectively uses the opportunity provided by spot-news stories to enhance coverage and provide context and useful background on issues of interest to the community.”

Best Front Page: Graphics Manager Matt Saxon won first place for a sampling of his front-page designs.

“This is a great collection of front pages, distinguished by the wonderful use of photographs and a clean, consistent layout that is easy to follow and makes every issue familiar yet fresh and new,” the judges said. “There is also very good use of photography in the promo boxes. “

Best Coverage of Violence in Our Communities: Jiménez won first place for her coverage of activists’ calls to overhaul the Rochester Police Department’s process of reviewing allegations of police abuse and a story of a Rochester man who was severely injured in a shooting in Ohio.

Best Reporting of Social Justice Issues — Dignity and the Rights of the Workers: Jiménez took home first place for her June 2017 story on immigrant advocates’ calls for better working conditions for dairy farmworkers.

“Good use of data and secondary sources to discuss a thorny issue,” the judges said. “I really liked this article because it exposed me to an issue I had never really considered before (the plight of dairy farmworkers), while also framing their labor rights and concerns in a way that would allow me to compare it to other more familiar issues/careers. I live in the New York area and I consume Chobani regularly and this is a conflict I had never ever heard about. Overall the writing/grammar and storytelling is good. There is a strong mix of anecdotes, statistics, and references to specific organizations. “

Best Use of Art or Graphics — Best Chart or Information Graphic: El Mensajero won first place for an information graphic that accompanied a story about the benefits and challenges of hiring millennials. It was published in February 2017’s “El Mural de la Comunidad” section, which is devoted to coverage of economic development in the Hispanic community.

“This is a good effort to visualize the statistics in the story; the graphic is easy to read and nice to look at,” the judges said.

Best Online Spanish Presentation of Multimedia Visuals: Staff Photographer Jeff Witherow received two awards in this category.

He received first place for his February 2017 video about students at a Rochester school who learned about colonial America through the performing arts.

“Great piece of video journalism. It is enjoyable on many levels,” the judges said.

He also received a second-place award for his December 2017 video on a rally to support an immigration-rights leader.

“Well-crafted story that covers all sides properly and in an unbiased manner,” the judges wrote.

Best Use of Photos in Social Media: Staff Photographer John Haeger received second place for his photos of a May 2017 Borinquen Dance Theatre performance.

“Beautiful pictures that capture the motion and energy of dance. The photographer did a wonderful job of bringing the creativity of dance to the reader/viewer,” the judges said.

Best News Writing — Local/Regional Event: Jiménez won third place for a series of articles about how individuals and organizations in Rochester assisted Puerto Ricans in the wake of Hurricane Maria.

“Good story focuses on community engagement, and with a proper call to action and feel good angles in the face of a tragedy,” the judges wrote.

Best Photograph: Witherow won two awards in this category.

He received third place for his October 2017 photo of a woman and her son at a rally to demand congressional action on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

“There is a great deal to look at in this photograph—the relationship between (we assume) the mother and child; the relationship between the two and the flag. It brings the point clearly home,” the judges wrote.

He also received an honorable mention for his photograph of a 7-year-old boy at a Hispanic Heritage Month event.

Best Reporting on the V Encuentro: Jiménez won third place for a series of articles on the V Encuentro.

“These articles do a great job in explaining the nature and importance of the ‘Encuentro.’ The information is carefully presented. I liked the diversity in the subtopics of these 3 articles, even though they all revolve around the same theme. The article about the inmates involved in the program and how they benefitted from it is really unique and interesting. The writing is strong and there is ample detail given,” the judges wrote.

Best Multiple Picture Package: Witherow received an honorable mention for his August 2017 photos of a baseball game between local youth baseball leagues and a team of young people from the Dominican Republic.

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