Connecting through communication


By Barb Arland-Fye

Two Catholic journalists, one a newly retired editor and the other, a young multimedia journalist, received the highest honors in their profession from the Catholic Media Association during the Catholic Media Conference June 18-21 in Atlanta. At each presentation were young journalists to seasoned veterans, all of whom share a powerful connection in a rapidly evolving media landscape: a commitment to convey the Good News of Jesus Christ to the faithful in our Church.

 Ana Rodriguez-Soto, the recently retired editor of the Florida Catholic, Miami edition, received the 2024 St. Francis de Sales Award on June 21 while Matt Riedl, a multimedia journalist for the Diocese of Lansing, Michigan, received the Cardinal John P. Foley Award. The “Franny” is the highest award that the CMA bestows for excellence in raising the professional standards of Catholic journalism. The Foley award recognizes excellence and innovation in Catholic storytelling produced on various media platforms.

Both journalists paid tribute to their peers, who provide inspiration and a willingness to collaborate. “We learn so much from each other,” Rodriguez-Soto told the audience after receiving her award. “You know, it wouldn’t be possible without everyone,” Riedl told his fellow Catholic communications professionals (OSV, 6-21-24).


All of us in Catholic journalism are “journeying alongside people in faith,” as Auxiliary Bishop Robert Reed so eloquently stated during his talk June 19 at the conference (OSV, 6-20-24). Bishop Reed, president of the Archdiocese of Boston’s Catholic TV Network, also chairs the U.S. Catholic bishops’ communication committee.

Bishop Reed referenced the Vatican’s Pastoral Instruction, “Communio Et Progressio” (On the means of social communication, written by order of the Second Vatican Council). That document impels us, as Catholic journalists, “to work together to ensure that the media of communication do in fact contribute to the pursuit of truth and the speeding up of progress. The Christian will find in their faith an added incentive to do this.” That document, published in 1971, conveys a message that remains powerfully relevant today.

We in Catholic journalism view our profession as a ministry, in which the Holy Spirit guides us to inform, educate and inspire the faithful. We strive to help our readers separate the wheat from the chaff, the truth from the falsehoods. We serve as credible news sources that report and analyze with integrity.

One of our challenges, as Bishop Reed pointed out, is “reaching youth and young adults amid a swiftly evolving technological landscape, one where the Church needs to be present … It’s about understanding their world, about being authentic, telling compelling stories … listening actively, addressing real issues and being consistently present.” 

 The Catholic Messenger — a team of five full-time and one part-time staffers — strives each week to accompany the faithful across the generations, listening to and sharing your stories that compose the tapestry of our Church in the Diocese of Davenport. Our Digital Brainstorming Team includes young adult Catholics who are helping to guide our efforts to engage younger Catholics in accessing the Messenger content and assisting them on their journey of faith. We deliver a clear message — in print and digital media — that places the Good News within the context of the lived experience of the faithful – young, middle-aged and older.

Rodriguez-Soto, in a gracious, short acceptance speech, paid tribute to her fellow Catholic journalists, including the other finalists for the award she received. In self-deprecating humor, she advised the younger journalists that they too could receive the award if they stick with their Catholic journalism careers for decades. Joking aside, their commitment for the long haul would benefit all of faithful, yearning to live out their Catholic faith, inspired by news sources that convey the Good News of Jesus Christ with integrity and sincerity.

Barb Arland-Fye, Editor

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