The 41st ARPA conference was held in Brisbane from 28-30 August. The annual awards ceremony recognises excellence in religious journalism across print and online media.
ARPA consists of members from 83 Christian publications in Australia and New Zealand. This includes Catholic, Anglican, Uniting, Salvation Army, Baptist, Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian, Adventist, Greek Orthodox and ecumenical publications.
The judges praised Crosslight for being an inclusive and enjoyable publication that engages with topical issues in the world today.
“If there is one word which can describe the ethos of this publication, it is ‘commitment’,” the judges said in their comments.
“There is commitment on the part of the editorial team to excellence in journalism, but an excellence which also reflects the commitment of the organisation which owns the publication.”
Crosslight also won the gold award for best feature (single author) for Penny Mulvey’s article “Australia’s Filthy Little Secret”. The judges described it as “a disturbing and prophetic article about violence against women”.
“This is surely worthy of a wider readership than perhaps a single Christian publication can offer,” they said.
The theme of this year’s conference was ‘Freedom of the Religious Press’. The keynote speaker was Dr John Harrison, Journalism Program Director at the University of Queensland. He urged the gathering of communicators to stay curious when reporting news from their Church.
Dr Harrison also publicly praised Crosslight’s interview with Gillian Triggs as an example of a well-curated news story.
The ARPA conference provides an opportunity for media professionals to share their stories and experiences through networking sessions and workshops.
Penny Mulvey led a workshop on editorial independence with Journey’s cross-platform editor, Rohan Salmond.
Crosslight’s Ros Marsden gave a presentation on navigating today’s multi-platform media landscape. She spoke about the opportunities for religious publications to grow their audience by embracing technology.
Other Uniting Church publications also received awards on the night.
Queensland’s Journey won silver for best feature (single author), South Australia’s New Times received bronze for best profile story, Western Australia’s Revive took home silver for best theological article and NSW/ACT’s Insights was awarded bronze for best faith reflection.