At this year’s General Assembly in Rome, the Council General International is launching the “Ozanam Journalism Award” to honor media professionals who have distinguished themselves in the propagation of news related to charity, evangelical values, Vincentian virtues, ethics and social justice.
The Award is inspired by the professional life story of Blessed Antoine-Frederic Ozanam, who used the communications media of his own time to defend the Catholic faith and present the foundations of a more democratic, more just and less unequal society.
Ozanam had been writing articles for newspapers and bulletins since his adolescence in Lyon, gaining a reputation for this when he arrived in Paris. Other founders of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul also collaborated with the Catholic press, among them Emmanuel-Joseph Bailly de Surcy (1st President General), who owned the “Tribune Catholique” newspaper, at whose offices the Society was established.
In 1848, Ozanam, together with Lacordaire and Maret, founded the newspaper “La Nouvelle Ère” (the New Era), a periodical that occupied an important place in the history of the French Catholic press during the 19th century, promoting the dialogue between civil society and the Church, the defense of democracy and the need for labor reform that would promote worker rights.
Through his booklets, articles, and books, Ozanam helped to build the foundations of the Social Doctrine of the Church, being considered a precursor of this teaching and a great example of journalist and writer.
Nowadays, the media suffers from several evils, among them the politicization disguised by economic interests that confuse people, leading them to behaviors and attitudes opposed to Gospel values, showing indifference to the needy, the excluded ones in society.
The “Ozanam Journalism Award” has this specific mission: to recognize the good journalists, the good press, the good news, the good social communication. That is why the Award is based on Ozanam, a holy man who dignified the media of his time.
This year, for the first time, the “Ozanam Journalism Award” will be given to the Italian journalist PAOLO RUFFINI, chosen by Pope Francis as prefect of the “Dicastery for Communication” of the Holy See (the first layman in this position). This Dicastery is responsible for the “Vatican News” Department, which encompasses radio, internet, television and the traditional newspaper L’Osservatore Romano. Ruffini has extensive professional experience in various media, especially print, radio, and television.
The rules for the Award are available on the Council General’s website. National Councils have until March 30th of each year to suggest candidates to CGI. The Award consists of a sculpture.
Click here to see the award terms and conditions