Blood-Horse Feature Wins Wilbur Award

The Religion Communicators Council announced March 9 that Blood-Horse has won a 2015 Wilbur Award for "Day by Day," a longform feature on Hall of Fame jockey Pat Day published April 23, 2014, on BloodHorse.com.

The Religion Communicators Council is an interfaith association of more than 400 religion communicators. They work in print and electronic communication, advertising, and public relations. Members represent Bahá’í, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, and Muslim faith communities. Founded in 1929, the council is the oldest public relations professional association in the United States.

The Religion Communicators Council has presented Wilbur Awards annually since 1949. They are named for the late Marvin C. Wilbur, a pioneer in religious public relations, longtime council leader, and former Presbyterian Church executive.

There were 22 Wilbur Awards presented this year honoring excellence by individuals in secular media—print and online journalism, book publishing, broadcasting, and motion pictures—in communicating religious issues, values and themes during 2014. “Day by Day” won the Wilbur for Digital Communications: Multimedia.

Other winners include CBS-TV, the Oprah Winfrey Network, BuzzFeed, Religion News Service, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and The Huffington Post.

The 2014 awards are to be presented April 11 in Alexandria, Va., during the council’s 86th annual national convention.

LAMARRA: Day by Day

The winning feature told the story of Day's personal journey to faith throughout his riding career. It was written by Blood-Horse online content editor Tom LaMarra and designed by Kim Reeves, with videography and multimedia production by Scott Tracy. Anne M. Eberhardt served as visuals director and photographer. Online features editor Claire Novak managed production. Digital assets were coordinated by Kevin Thompson, with copy editing by Tom Hall, Eric Mitchell, and Ian Tapp. The Kentucky Derby Museum and Churchill Downs/ABC Sports provided special footage of the 1992 Kentucky Derby.

“Everyone who worked on the piece is proud to be recognized for their work by those outside of the horse racing industry,” LaMarra said. “We really enjoyed working on this story and give credit to Pat Day, who made himself available on multiple occasions for interviews and video shoots. It was a great experience.”

“We recognized early on that this was a very different type of story than we typically tell, focusing as much on Pat Day’s personal transformation and faith as on his professional accomplishments,” editorial director Eric Mitchell said. “It was the only way to do justice to his story because they are inseparable.”

Blood-Horse began publishing longform in February of 2014. Each piece is an online interactive experience—text married with photographs, video features, infographics, and other elements to present a unique storytelling experience. The staff of Blood-Horse has produced eight pieces to date, with more in production, and three of those pieces are award winners. To read “Day by Day” and for more longform editorial from Blood-Horse, visit BloodHorse.com/longform.

Secular communicators entered work in eight categories for this year’s Wilbur Awards. Juries of media professionals, coordinated by council members across the country, evaluated the submissions on content, creativity, impact, and excellence in communicating religious values.

Click here to view the full press release on the 2015 Wilbur Awards.