Crosslight was named Publication of the Year at the annual conference of the Australasian Religious Press Association (ARPA) in Brisbane in late August.
The annual trophy award is one of two prestigious awards presented at the dinner ceremony; the first is the Gutenberg Award, the presidential award presented to a person or publication for overall excellence in religious communication. The other categories relate to writing, design and photography.
In the commentary relating to Crosslight’s award, the judge referred to the publication ethos, the publication content and design.
“If there is one word which can describe the ethos of this publication it is ‘commitment’. 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. The commitment to the gospel values we all share, and the out working of those values in a divided, complex and confused global community, is evident in the ethos of this publication.”
The judge also approved of Crosslight’s new design: “The result is a light and airy print aesthetic, which reflects the design approach we see in publications such as The New Yorker tablet version.”
Executive editor, Penny Mulvey, was also awarded gold in the best feature, single author category, for her 2014 article ‘Australia’s Filthy Little Secret’. The judge described the feature as “a disturbing and prophetic article about violence against women…surely worthy of a wider readership than perhaps a single Christian publication can offer”.
The 2015 Gutenberg Award was presented to Roland Ashby and The Melbourne Anglican. Mr Ashby has been editor of The Melbourne Anglican for 20 years. The citation said: “… The Melbourne Anglican is a team publication, helmed by a person committed to excellence.”
Dr John Harrison, senior lecturer in journalism at the University of Queensland, was the keynote speaker at ARPA conference and judge of Publication of the Year. He reminded delegates of the importance of curiosity. Editor of the Queensland Synod’s publication Journey, in the late 20th century, Dr Harrison believes that curiosity and the power of story telling are two essential elements of good journalism, religious or secular.
In an email to Crosslight following the conference, Dr Harrison wrote: “As an academic, and as one who is frequently asked to judge awards like the Walkleys, one sees an unbelievable volume of journalism, and a remarkable number of platforms, so for a publication to stand out like a Crosslight says much not only about its quality but its ethos.”
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.
ARPA, a Christian Communications Network, has 83 members across Australia and New Zealand, from small magazines to large circulation newspapers, representing a range of Catholic, protestant and ecumenical publishers.