National Catholic Register Repeats as ‘Newspaper of the Year’


The Register captured 11 awards altogether, including top marks for its coverage of religious liberty, vocations to the priesthood, religious life and the diaconate, and best regular column.


The National Catholic Register was named “Newspaper of the Year” for the second consecutive year at the Catholic Press Association’s annual Catholic Media Conference June 12-15 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

The Register’s Sept. 3, Sept. 17 and Oct. 1 issues, with the lead stories “Racism on Main Street,” “Houston’s ‘Dunkirk’ Moment” and “Consecrated to the Blessed Mother” “had interesting stories with a variety of topics ranging from immigration, pro-life rallies, and racism,” the judges said in awarding the conference’s top national award to the Register. “The graphics and photos in the paper were also superb. A nice variety of topics for an audience with diverse interests. Articles are well-written and easy to read.”

“I never imagined we’d be recognized as Newspaper of the Year twice in a row,” said Jeanette De Melo, the Register’s editor-in-chief. “That’s an incredible honor and sign of our consistency. But I’m also thrilled that we were recognized across a broad spectrum of awards, for a variety of writing styles and topics: from columns and analysis to news and feature reporting on religious liberty, biotechnology, vocation, racism and prolife issues. Such general excellence makes me truly proud and even more determined in our editorial mission.”

The Register, marking its 90th anniversary through November, won 11 awards in all, including top awards for “Best Coverage of Religious Liberty Issues,” “Best Regular Column: General Commentary” and “Best Reporting on Vocations to the Priesthood, Religious Life or Diaconate.”

“Conscience in Residency Project,” by correspondent Elisabeth Deffner, “Trump on Religious Freedom,” by senior editor Joan Frawley Desmond, and “Contraceptive Mandate Relief in Sight” by correspondent Brian Fraga combined to earn a first-place finish for its coverage of religious liberty.

The judges remarked of these stories, “It is often hard to top the work of the National Catholic Register and you can't this year. The article on Conscience in Residency Project introduces tough topics and the fine doctors in the battle. The discussion on President Trump and religious freedom structured by Joan Frawley Desmond is a vibrant and complete article. The piece on Contraceptive Mandate Relief is another important topic with good insight and coverage.”

Veteran Register contributor Rebecca Taylor earned the top award for her commentaries — “Immoral Uses of Biotechnology — Even With Good Intentions — Are Nevertheless Evil”; “When Redefining ‘Normal’ Is More Hurtful Than Helpful”; “It’s Up to Us to Protect the Tree of Life.” The judges said of her award-winning work, “Powerful persuasion backed by strong coverage makes this one stand out as a winner.”

Also lauded was the work of correspondents Michael Kelly, Patti Armstrong and Nicholas Wolfram Smith, “Monastic Life in Ireland,” “New Priests Honor Mom with Old Tradition” and “Doctor the Priesthood is Calling,” as a “wonderful package that spans all that is Catholic, the small but steady growth of monastic life in Ireland, a warm and fuzzy family story of two brothers who became priests, and a look at those who have combined Ph.D. knowledge with priestly wisdom. Each article stands alone, but also becomes part of a bigger picture of vocations.”

The Register won second place for “Best Investigative/News Analysis/News Writing for its coverage of the Reformation at 500. Contributors were senior editor Matthew Bunson and Stephen Beale, Steve Weidenkopf, Mark Brumley and Susan Klemond. The judges called it “a fascinating and exhaustively reported exploration.”

“This series challenges common misperceptions, brings historical figures to life through vivid writing, and uses timelines and short profiles to show how centuries-old events still have resonance in today,” they added.

The Register also won a second-place award for “Best Coverage of Pro-Life Issues:” Deffner, for “Small Blessings: Volunteers Give Proper Burial to Babies,” Desmond, for “Human Coalition Helps Change Hearts of Abortion Determined Mothers,” and Fraga, for “Abortion Divide Deepens in US.”

Staff writer Peter Jesserer Smith’s “Racism on Main Street” took third place for “Best News Writing on a National Event.”

Longtime Register film critic Deacon Steven D. Greydanus also won third place for “Best Regular Column: Culture, the Arts and Leisure” for “Apostasy and Ambiguity,” “What Does a Starship Need with God?” and “All Saints Offers Story of Encounter, Welcome of Refugees.”

The Register also earned honorable mention for “Best Front Page Design” (“The Trump Presidency,” “The Register at 90” and “Fractured Faith: The Reformation at 500”); “Best In-Depth News/Special Reporting” (“Indian Nun’s Killer Participates in Her Beatification Mass” by Anto Akkara) and “Best News Writing on an International Event” for its coverage by Peter Jesserer Smith and Vatican reporter Edward Pentin of persecuted Christians in the Middle East in the wake of ISIS.

“I am grateful for the dedication and creativity of the Register team, from the editors and staff writers to the many freelance journalist and commentators who contribute to our pages,” De Melo said. “They deserve this recognition for the standout service they provide our readers. I couldn’t be prouder of the hard work and dedication of the Register team.”

The award-winning National Catholic Register ( provides its readers with timely news reporting from across the United States, the Vatican, and around the world. As the newspaper of record for the Catholic Church in America, the Register and its online presence,, have become America’s most complete and faithful Catholic news source. With over 90 years in print, the Register is published bi-weekly, 26 issues per year. The National Catholic Register also produces Register Radio, a weekly program that airs on EWTN’s radio network.

EWTN Global Catholic Network, in its 37th year, is the largest religious media network in the world. EWTN's 11 TV channels are broadcast in multiple languages 24 hours a day, seven days a week to over 275 million television households in more than 145 countries and territories. EWTN platforms also include radio services transmitted through SIRIUS/XM, iHeart Radio, and over 500 domestic and international AM & FM radio affiliates; a worldwide shortwave radio service; the largest Catholic website in the U.S.; electronic and print news services, including Catholic News Agency, "The National Catholic Register" newspaper, and several global news wire services; as well as EWTN Publishing, its book publishing division.