SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- David Gibson of The Star-Ledger of Newark, N.J., and Mary Beth McCauley of The Philadelphia Inquirer won top prizes awarded at the annual Religion Newswriters Association convention. Contest judges chose winners from among 251 entries.
McCauley, a free-lancer reporting for the Inquirer, received the Supple Religion Writer of the Year contest, with Larry Stammer of the Los Angeles Times and David Waters of The Commercial Appeal of Memphis, Tenn., as runners-up.
Gibson took the Templeton Religion Reporter of the Year award. Runners-up were two Californians, Sandi Dolbee of The San Diego Union-Tribune and Stammer.
For the fifth time in six years The Dallas Morning News won the prize for best religion sections. Also cited were the Minneapolis Star Tribune and Lexington Herald-Leader.
The Cornell Award for religion reporting on newspapers of 50,000 to 150,000 circulation, named for the late Associated Press Religion Writer George Cornell, went to John Railey of the Winston-Salem Journal. Runners-up were Judy Tarjanyi of The Blade of Toledo, Ohio, and Tom Kisken of the Ventura County (Calif.) Star.
The Cassells Award, covering papers with circulations under 50,000, was won by Kevin Eckstrom of The Stuart (Fla.) News, now at Religion News Service, with runners-up John Armistead of the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal in Tupelo and Laurie Davies of the Tyler, Texas, Morning Telegraph.
The association, made up of specialists in the general or secular press, gave ''special mention'' to a writer with the religious press, Eric Greenberg of New York's Jewish Week.
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