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CPA-FRANNIE Jun-4-2010 (520 words) With photos. xxxn
CNS director Tony Spence wins 2010 St. Francis de Sales Award
By Catholic News Service
Tony Spence, director and editor-in-chief of Catholic News Service, accepts the 2010 St. Francis de Sales award from the Catholic Press Association June 4 during the Catholic Media Convention in New Orleans. The award is the association's highest honor. (CNS/Nancy Wiechec)
NEW ORLEANS (CNS) -- Tony Spence, director and editor-in-chief of Catholic News Service since 2004, is the winner of the Catholic Press Association's 2010 St. Francis de Sales Award.
Accepting the award at a luncheon during the Catholic Media Convention in New Orleans, Spence said that when Msgr. Owen Campion gave him his first Catholic press job at The Tennessee Register, diocesan newspaper in Nashville, Tenn., more than 25 years ago, "I thought I would give it a year."
"It hardly took that long to realize it was much more than a job," he added. "It was a vocation. And one I truly love."
Spence thanked his colleagues in the Catholic press for sharing his "love of this vocation."
"Remember that every day, every single day, you make a difference in the lives of your readers, your listeners, your viewers and your students," he said. "You have made a tremendous difference in mine."
The St. Francis de Sales Award, known as the Frannie, is the highest award the CPA presents to an individual for "outstanding contributions to Catholic journalism." Previous winners at CNS have included Rome bureau chief John Thavis in 2007, now-retired staff writer Jerry Filteau in 2003 and now-retired director and editor-in-chief Tom Lorsung in 1995.
Other nominees for the 2010 St. Francis de Sales Award were Joseph P. Sinasac, editorial director with Bayard Presse in Canada and former publisher and editor of The Catholic Register in Toronto; Ed Wilkinson, editor of The Tablet, diocesan newspaper in Brooklyn, N.Y., for the past 25 years; Russell Shaw, an author and Our Sunday Visitor contributing editor; and Bob Zyskowski, associate publisher and general manager of The Catholic Spirit newspaper in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.
Spence, 57, was editor-in-chief and general manager of the Tennessee Register Inc., which publishes the Tennessee Register, newspaper of the Nashville Diocese, from 1989 to 1998. Before that, he was associate editor and managing editor at the newspaper. He also served as the diocese's communications director in 1992-98.
He served as CPA president from 1994 to 1996 and oversaw the establishment of the Catholic Advertising Network and the Catholic Press Foundation. He also was a co-founder of the Appalachian Press Project of Kentucky and Tennessee, chaired the CPA's liaison committee with CNS in 1997-98 and organized the association's 1998 convention.
He also served on the communications committee for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and on its subcommittee for planning, which devised the conference's strategic plan for communications, adopted in 1997. In addition, Spence has been a member of the advisory board for the Catholic Communication Campaign.
Immediately before joining CNS, Spence was executive director of Advancement Communications at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, where he oversaw an assortment of publications, as well as a website, some fundraising and speechwriting. He also coordinated much of the university's science and research communication. Before that, he had been director of alumni publications at the university.
In 2006, Spence was named to a five-year term as a consultor to the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, along with Msgr. Campion, now associate publisher of the Catholic publishing firm Our Sunday Visitor.
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