Religion News Service Associate Editor and National Correspondent Daniel Burke was awarded third place in the 2012 American Academy of Religion Award for Best In-Depth Newswriting on Religion.
The award, given at the AAR’s annual meeting in Chicago on Sunday (Nov. 18), recognizes well-researched newswriting that enhances the public understanding of religion.
This is the second time Burke was honored by the AAR; he previously won in 2010.
Sarah Breger of Moment Magazine placed first in this year’s contest; Brett Buckner, writing for the Anniston (Ala.) Star, placed second.
Burke, who joined RNS in 2006, won for five articles written in 2011. They included stories examining:
• The resurgence of Catholic exorcisms
• A company called Holy Smoke LLC that loads cremains into shotgun shells, rifle cartridges and bullets
• The Unitarian Universalist Association’s first 50 years advancing a religion without doctrine
• The first Mormon presidential candidate (no, not Mitt Romney, but Joseph Smith)
• Politicians eschewing denominational labeling in the wake of Michele Bachmann’s reluctance to identify her church
The judges wrote that Burke’s “compelling writing shows great skill in combining accessibility and detailed research while addressing intriguing, timely, and diverse topics that take readers beyond the ordinary.”
Burke, 36, holds an M.S. in journalism and an M.A. in religion from Columbia University and a B.A. from Georgetown University. Before working for RNS, he was a reporter for the Lancaster New Era in Lancaster, Pa.
The AAR is the world’s largest association of academics specializing in religion, with some 10,000 members in North America and abroad.