Communications, periodicals recognized by religious press groups


The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod’s Communications department and the four periodicals it produces — Reporter, The Lutheran Witness, Lutherans Engage the World and the Journal of Lutheran Mission — received a record 24 total awards from the Associated Church Press (ACP) and the Evangelical Press Association in this year’s competitions for work published in 2015.

Twenty-one of those awards were presented by the ACP April 22 during its “100th anniversary” conference in St. Louis. The ACP — the nation’s oldest interdenominational religious press association — was founded in 1916 in St. Louis.

Among those awards were five in the “Best in Class” category:

  • a first-place Award of Excellence in the “Online: Digital Edition/Mobile Publication” category for Lutherans Engage the World, edited by Megan K. Mertz. The magazine also received four “Best of the Christian Press” individual first-place awards: one for “Walking Together in the Wake of Disaster,” by Mertz, and one for “A Generation Engaged, A Community Restored,” by freelance writer Deaconess Jeni Miller (both won first place in the same category — “Feature Article: Magazine, Short Format”), and two to Erik M. Lunsford, managing photojournalist with LCMS Communications — for the November/December cover photo of a child drinking water from a well in Malawi, and for the photo spread accompanying the cover story in that issue.
  • a second-place Award of Merit in the “Online: News Service” category to Communications Web designers Becky Cummings, Rudy Blank, Paul Keup and Sam Ambrose, with writing and editing by Communications staff.
  • an Award of Merit in the “Print: Journal” category to the Journal of Lutheran Mission, edited by Adriane Heins. The Journal’s December issue received a third-place Honorable Mention in the category of “Reporting and Writing: Theme Issue, Section or Series: Journal.”
  • a third place to Reporter, edited by Joe Isenhower Jr., for “Print: National or International Newspaper.” Reporter also received five individual awards for photos and photo spreads, with photography by Lunsford and layouts by Erica Schwan, director of Design Services. Winning photo spreads were “Up on the Roof” (first place), “Well Done!” (second) and “Tangible Care for Women in Crisis” (second). The winning single photos were from the “Well Done!” (first) and “Raising Up Church Workers for Tanzania” (second) photo spreads.
  • a third place to Communications for its “Not4Sale” pro-life campaign in the category of “Public Relations/Marketing Campaign.” Named on the award are David L. Strand, executive director; Deaconess Pamela Nielsen, associate executive director; and the Communications staff.
Erik M. Lundsford, managing photojournalist with LCMS Communications, received eight photography awards in the annual competition of the Associated Church Press for work published in 2015. (Courtesy of Erik M. Lunsford)

Erik M. Lunsford, managing photojournalist with LCMS Communications, received eight photography awards in the annual competition of the Associated Church Press for work published in 2015. (Courtesy of Erik M. Lunsford)

Also received by LCMS Communications in the ACP’s “Best of the Christian Press” competition were:

  • a first-place Award of Excellence to the Web team, photographers, writers and editors for the Life Together with President Harrison e-news digest in the category of “Electronic Newsletter.”
  • a second-place Award of Merit to The Lutheran Witness, edited by Heins, for photos by Lunsford in the category of “Photo Spread with Article or Cutline: Magazine/Journal.”
  • a third-place Honorable Mention to the Witness for “I’ve Got To Be Me … Or Not,” by the Rev. John Pless, in the category of “Theological or Scholarly Article: All Media.”
  • a third place to the Witness for “Good News of Great Joy” — with artwork by Graphic Designer Lisa Moeller — in the “Illustration with Article or Cutline: All Media” category.
  • a third place to the Witness for its use of Facebook and Twitter in the category of “Social Media.”
  • a third place to From Ghosts to God in Enga Land: Planting His Church Among the Enga People of Central Papua New Guinea — written by the Rev. Dr. Otto C. Hintze Jr., edited by Cheryl D. Naumann and designed by Schwan — in the “Books: Non-Fiction” category. In the book, Hintze, who died March 20 at age 92, tells the story of his 17 years as an LCMS missionary. (Click here to read a Reporter Online story about the book.)

Reporter also won a third-place award — for publications as a whole — from the Evangelical Press Association (EPA) in the “Denominational” category during its April 6-8 convention in Lancaster, Pa.

Receiving individual “Higher Goals” awards from the EPA were:

  • Reporter Online, edited by Paula Schlueter Ross, first place in the “Critical Review” category, for a review of the film “American Sniper” by the Rev. Ted Giese, pastor of Mount Olive Lutheran Church in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada, and movie reviewer for the “Issues, Etc.” radio program.
  • The Lutheran Witness, fifth place in the “Biblical Exposition” category for “Judging Others” by the Rev. Alan Ludwig, an LCMS theological educator in Novosibirsk, Russia.

“Last year at this time I used the term ‘bumper crop’ to describe the number of awards — 15 — our department won,” said David Strand, executive director of LCMS Communications. “That was our best showing ever.

This year’s 24 awards, “as in past years … reflect a broad cross-section of the department’s output: all four major periodicals; online publications, newsletters and news service; a PR/marketing campaign; a full-length book; and photography.

“Regarding the latter, our managing photojournalist, Erik Lunsford, received a remarkable eight awards. As far as I know that’s unprecedented.

“We had group winners and individual winners,” Strand continued, “but I know that everyone receiving a prize would be quick to point out that all of our staff shares in these honors, including those who, owing to the nature of their jobs, are precluded from submitting entries.

“We are a team. We collaborate with one another every day, and we feel blessed by God to help the offices and ministries at the International Center tell their stories to the church and beyond.”

Also honored this year by the ACP were:

  • Concordia Journal, produced by Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, which received a third-place Best in Class plaque in the “Print: Journal” category. The Journal — edited by the Rev. Dr. Charles Arand, the Rev. Travis Scholl and Melanie Appelbaum — also won first place in the “Theological or Scholarly Article: All Media” category for “Can Anything Good Come Out of         ? Come and See: Faithful Witness in Marginality and Hospitality” by the Rev. Dr. Leopoldo A. Sánchez M. Concordia Seminary magazine received a first-place award for the “First Look” photo spread in the fall 2015 issue by Tony Carosella. And the seminary received a second place in the “Traditional News Release” category for “Kaldi’s Coffee Creates Special Coffee Blend for Concordia Seminary” by Melanie Ave and Jackie Parker.
  • Lutheran Church Extension Fund, which garnered second place in the “Marketing/PR Video” category for “LCEF: Videos to Increase Product Awareness” by Brittany Harris.

Posted April 27, 2016 / Updated April 28, 2016, with information about an ACP award to Concordia Seminary magazine / Updated May 3, 2016, with new information about a 24th ACP award to the LCMS — a first place for a feature article written by Megan K. Mertz titled “Walking Together in the Wake of Disaster.”

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Reporter Online is the Web version of Reporter, the official newspaper of
The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. Content is prepared by LCMS Communications.

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