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Loyola alumnus receives Catholic Press Association's highest honor

Loyola press release - August 12, 2013

As a journalist, Loyola University New Orleans alumnus Peter Finney Jr. ’78 captures more than just current events in his writing, he captures faith in action. Finney, executive editor and general manager of the Clarion Herald newspaper of the New Orleans Archdiocese, won the highest honor for his efforts from the Catholic Press Association. Finney received the St. Francis de Sales Award June 21 during the association’s annual conference in Denver, Colo.

Finney won the award for his “unequaled skills and outstanding leadership,” all done with “class, steady encouragement and enduring grace,” according to the Catholic Press Association. In the more than 20 years he’s worked in Catholic journalism, he still takes a simple yet profound approach with his writing: “The Church isn’t just rules and regulations, it is stories about how (people’s) faith impacts their lives,” Finney said. “To me, when you can write a story that is inspirational, it gives people hope. That’s what I try to do.”

His feature stories exemplifying this approach also won awards from the Catholic Press Association this year. Finney won first place in the Best News Writing Originating with the Paper category for his story, “A song for Haiti, from the heart.” For the story, judges said Finney “knows how to bring the world to our doorstep.” Finney also won second place in the Individual Excellence - Editor category for “Forty-seven minutes and a life filled with meaning”—a story judges said “the writer told masterfully.”

Finney, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in communications from Loyola, is a former editor of The Maroon student newspaper. He was also a journalist for United Press International and for 12 years was a sportswriter in New York, working for the New York Post and the New York Daily News.

Loyola, he said, offered him “valuable, hands-on experience,” but he also learned his journalism skills from another—his father, longtime Times-Picayune sports writer and columnist Peter Finney Sr. ’49.

“Growing up with my dad who is also a Loyola graduate—he always has a way of saying more in two sentences than a lot of people can say in 1,000 words.”