‘Top o’ the Morning,’ Diocesan Publications Receive CMC Honors
July 4, 2019
DIOCESE—“Top o’ the Morning with Bishop David Malloy” joined all three of the Rockford Diocese’s publications in receiving awards from the Catholic Media Conference, held in St. Petersburg, Fla., June 18-21.
The competition included Catholic media professionals from the United States and Canada.
The bishops’ weekday inspirational message airs in Rockford on WREX-TV Channel 13 about 6:58 a.m. It is also available online and in the diocesan app.
It took a third place award in the best diocesan pastoral message — audio or video in the communications category.
“The series is a refreshing approach to the daily reflection. The bishop delivers a clear and concise message through a light tone and friendly likable manner,” the judge said.
Bishop Malloy shared the award with Penny Wiegert, communication director; Amanda Hudson, writer; and Bill Daer, videographer.
The Observer, the official English publication of the Rockford Diocese, took third place in the best newspaper category for weekly diocesan newspapers with circulations of 25,000 or less. The entire staff was credited with the award.
The judge praised the “clean design, helping the reader navigate through pieces of a story and the paper’s sections. Lots of useful news is given in small briefs, making bites of information that is reader-friendly.”
It also took a third place  for best promotional house ad for  “Going on vacation?” designed by Sharon Boehlefeld, features editor.
“I like that it suggests bringing along a hard copy on vacation while noting that inspired reading is always available — even while away — via digital copy.” said the judge.
El Observador, the official Spanish publication of the diocese, took its first ever first place in the parish profile category for 
“Parroquia San Lorenzo en Elgin Inicia Misa y Estudio Biblico en Español.” 
The story by Margarita Mendoza, El Observador editor, was about the introduction of Spanish Masses and a Spanish Bible study at St. Laurence Parish in Elgin. 
“It explains in a clear way how the Elgin parish did something different: celebrating in different language, with the intention of gathering the people of the Hispanic tradition to feel more engaged and closer to the service,” the judge said. “It also portrays how this work is calling into action the service of young people, like (one person) going to sing in the chorus.”
The paper took a second place for its use of art or graphics in the best chart or information graphic category for “San Lorenzo en Elgin Celebra 90 Años,” a story about St. Laurence’s 90th anniversary. Boehlefeld designed the graphic.
The judge wrote “A simple yet powerful companion to the piece that allows readers to grasp the magnitude of the actions of the parish.”
In the multiple picture package category, third place went to “Festival de Verano en Santo Tomás Apóstol,” with photos by Mendoza. The story was about last summer’s parish festival at St. Thomas the Apostle in Crystal Lake.
“The capture of bright colors in the photographs is an effective way to convey the joy of the families participating in the event,” said the judge.
The newspapers compete in separate English and Spanish newspaper contests. Two of the honored stories appeared in both papers.
The final award, in the books contest, went to the 2018-19 Diocesan Directory, which took third place for best directory. Again, honors went to the entire staff of The Observer.
“This directory in full color makes looking through it a pleasant experience,” the judge said. “Admittedly, ‘church’ is not the building but rather the faith community, yet seeing each church building does give a sense of history. Good design with ample white space in each parish entry is a definite plus. 
“Staff and historical information for each parish is helpful and interesting, especially its founding date and number of parishioner families,” the judge concluded.
“We couldn’t be more pleased that our bishop and all three of our diocesan publications have been honored by our peers in the Catholic Press Association,” said Penny Wiegert, diocesan communication director and editor of The Observer. 
“We are especially proud that our bishop was honored the first time out in the communication category. We are also proud of our Spanish language newspaper for taking three awards in only its second year of competion against the other Spanish publications in the CPA,” she added.