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Vermont Catholic staff earns press awards

The staff of Vermont Catholic earned four awards – including a coveted “Magazine of the Year” award – from the Catholic Press Association of the United States & Canada at its annual Catholic Media Conference June 21-23 in Quebec City.
 
In the “Magazine/Newsletter Of The Year” Diocesan Magazine category, Vermont Catholic staff took third place.
 
“My congratulations to the staff of Vermont Catholic magazine for being honored by the Catholic Press Association. These awards only confirm what I and the readers of Vermont Catholic already know: that the staff of the magazine are creative, faith-filled and hardworking people,” commented Burlington Bishop Christopher J. Coyne.
 
Graphic designer Monica Koskiniemi garnered first place in the “Best Layout of an Article or Column” category for diocesan magazines for her print layout of "Sharing the Love," and Stephanie Clary, assistant editor and mission outreach and communication manager, placed second for her article “The Cry of the Earth, The Cry of the Poor” in the “Best Reporting of Social Justice Issues: Care for God’s Creation” category.
 
The staff earned a third-place award for “Best Redesign.”
 
“You are only as good as your team, and Vermont Catholic magazine is blessed with a very talented team,” said Vermont Catholic editor Ellen Kane. “Even though we are a small team of four, wearing many different hats at the Diocese, it is our strong commitment to the mission of the Catholic Church and spreading the Good News to households throughout Vermont that keeps us focused on producing a high quality magazine that connects Catholics around our common faith.”
 
The magazine’s quarterly format – introduced with the December 2016 issue -- allows the staff to take a “deeper dive into different aspects of our faith and share the rich diversity of Catholic life from every corner of the statewide Diocese of Burlington,” she added. “We are delighted that the redesign of the magazine was received so positively on the national level.”
 
In the “Magazine/Newsletter of the Year” category, judges said: “The scope of this magazine is demonstrated by its totally different cover treatment, all centered around people. They illustrate the diversity of subjects of Catholic life in Vermont from the mother with child to the family so happily posed to the young man working on a farm while on retreat. Stories are interesting and well-written.”
 
In the “Best Redesign” category, judges remarked: “The redesign results in a much more energetic and lively magazine. Feature articles are well designed and layouts are creative. Type is used to enhance the lively energetic feel. Biggest success is the redesign of the cover and the art. Logo is stronger and makes a better visual statement. Art is much larger, clearly focused and draws the reader into the magazine.”
 
Koskiniemi earned top honors for “Best Layout of an Article or Column: Diocesan Magazine” judges said, because of “great graphics, great layout, great use of type and contrast.” They continued, “The eye moves around the page and the reader is able to quickly get the sense of the story and the intensity of the project. There is also a great sense of energy.”
 
Clary’s entry in the “Best Reporting of Social Justice Issues: Care for God’s Creation” earned second place because it distilled the insights of Pope Francis’ 2015 encyclical, "Laudato Si’: On Care For Our Common Home." into a concise explanation of ecological justice as part of the Christian mission. “The article emphasizes that the poor are particularly harmed by climate change and that those who are privileged have a special responsibility to address its effects,” the judges wrote.
 
The Catholic Press Association has been uniting and serving the Catholic press for more than 100 years. It has nearly 250 publication members and 500 individual members. Member print publications reach 10 million households plus countless others through members’ websites and social media outlets.
 
Vermont Catholic and its predecessor, the biweekly Vermont Catholic Tribune, have won numerous CPA awards throughout the years.
 
 

Changing for the better: Vermont Catholic launches stronger digital media presence and more content-rich print magazine

 The written word is essential to the communications effort of a diocese. And in the Diocese of Burlington, the written word has been used to communicate the Good News of Jesus first through direct correspondence with parishes and then through weekly and bi-weekly newspapers.

Most recently the printed word has taken the form of a monthly magazine, Vermont Catholic, the successor of The Vermont Catholic Tribune.

But in the continuous effort to spread the Good News in a timely, efficient and cost-effective way, the Diocese of Burlington will adjust its written word formats, focusing on an increased online presence.

This is the last issue of the monthly Vermont Catholic; a new version of it will take the form of a quarterly magazine beginning in December. Special issues will be published as needed for major events like the election of a new pope.

The magazine will contain more in-depth and thematic articles, columns, a crossword puzzle and photos presented in a graphically appealing package.

In addition to the quarterly magazine, the diocese will produce a weekly insert to be included in every parish bulletin with updates, news and information about upcoming events.  The diocese will maintain its website at vermontcatholic.org and add to its online presence with an online magazine website called Vermont Catholic Online: vermontcatholic.org/vcm. This online magazine will bring readers news, features, communications from the bishop and other timely articles.

The free, monthly e-news bulletin will continue to be sent to e-mail subscribers. This still will contain calendar announcements, world and national briefs, Father Thomas Mattison’s column and notes of interest from throughout the diocese. It will be invigorated with additional Vermont news and features.

The diocese’s social media presence recently has been enhanced, and those efforts will continue to provide Facebook and Twitter users with news, information, prayers and thought-provoking comments.

“Much of what we are doing is in response to the changing ways in which people communicate and receive news and information,” said Burlington Bishop Christopher Coyne. “My hope is that while still remaining committed to print media like Vermont Catholic magazine, our expanded efforts to reach folks through social media and digital communication will bear fruit in new and different ways.”

The diocese published The Vermont Catholic Tribune for more than 50 years; it garnered numerous awards including many from The Catholic Press Association of the United States and Canada.      

The newspaper ceased publication in 2009 when the magazine — also recipient of numerous awards — replaced it as the bishop’s main communications tool. Vermont Catholic debuted in July of that year.

“The role and purpose of any form of communication is to provide people with accurate and timely information,” then-Editor Pat Gore said at the time. “If you want to know what’s happening in the Catholic Church, we believe you should learn about it from the Church.”

That is still true today, and that is why the diocese is using current technology to disseminate information as quickly as possible in some cases and in as much depth as possible in others.

The quarterly magazine will provide readers with more depth, more thought-provoking information packages in an eye-catching, easy-to-read format.

“We know many of our readers like the print format, and we will continue to serve them,” said Vermont Catholic Interim Editor Ellen Kane, executive director of development and The Vermont Catholic Community Foundation. “We are revamping our communications programs to best reach all segments of our Catholic community — those who get their news and information online, whose who get it on their phones and those who get it from hard copy.”


DONATE to SUBSCRIBE: 

Vermont Catholic magazine is changing how individual subscriptions are paid. To receive a new or to renew a subscription, please make a donation of $24 (per subscription) or more directly to the Bishop’s Fund.

The Bishop’s Fund supports Vermont Catholic magazine as a tool for evangelization as well as a platform for sharing information about the diocese. In addition, the Bishop’s Fund supports many other diocesan charities and offices.

If you wish to subscribe to the new Vermont Catholic magazine, please make a subscription donation here.

For more information: Contact: Nancy Lamothe at 802-658-6110 ext. 1214 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Diocesan publication garners national awards

Three veteran Vermont Catholic magazine staffers were recognized for excellence at the annual Catholic Media Conference last month in St. Louis.

All have won multiple awards through the years from the Catholic Press Association of the United States and Canada.

Kay Winchester earned a third-place award in the "Best Review" category for her book review of "Can You Let Go of a Grudge? Learn to Forgive and Get on with Your Life," by Frank Desiderio that appeared in the March 2015 issue of Vermont Catholic.

Staff Writer Cori Fugere Urban was recognized with a third-place award for "Best Feature Article" in a diocesan magazine for her story on Bennett Stenger, a student at St. Paul School in Barton who had been diagnosed the previous February with Rhabdomyosarcoma, and his brother, Chase, who became honorary Vermont State troopers for a day courtesy of the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Vermont.

Ann Cutter-Specht, art director at the magazine when the winning entry was published in the November 2015 issue with numerous photos by Urban, earned a third-place win for design. Cutter-Specht retired earlier this year.

"Excellent coverage that incorporates great details and shares a feel-good story," the judges noted.

In the critique of Winchester's review, the judges said, "The first sentence of this compelling review of a compelling book gives us the reason for checking out the book – we all have held a grudge. The reviewer maintains that focus, reminding us of our penchant for holding grudges against ourselves, our friends and our God. The review then teases us with just enough of the book to allow us to understand not only the core of the book, but also of the core of ourselves."

The Catholic Press Association hosts the Catholic Media Conference each year, where decision makers in Catholic communications and those interested in the field come together to share information, to learn about the changing industry and to network with one another.

This year's conference was co-hosted by the Archdiocese of St. Louis. "I am extremely proud of our award winners," said Vermont Catholic Editor Pat Gore. "They are all using their God-given talents to build the Body of Christ here in Vermont."

She praised them for their years of work for the diocese, saying they have been dedicated, professional and creative in their work, never ceasing to strive to do their best. "It is a pleasure to work with them and to collaborate in producing a top-notch diocesan magazine," she said.

Burlington Bishop Christopher J. Coyne also addressed Catholic media at the annual conference.

In today's age of cyberbullying and online vitriol, be sure to take the high road and build people up rather than tear them down, Bishop Coyne told the Catholic communicators.

"What can I say to make things better? What are the words that may impart grace to those who hear?" the bishop, chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Communications, asked the group to consider.

He said he knew the journalists in the room were "acutely aware of the significant decline in the tenor of public discourse" during the last few years, a fact that is readily apparent in publications' comment boxes and social media.

In such an environment, the bishop urged communicators to lift up good examples of humanity, charity and grace and, if possible, "engage in some form of active ministry to others: feeding, housing, counseling, visiting or praying."

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