The Spiritual Edge swept the Religion News Association’s 2021 radio award, with audio documentaries from its Sacred Steps series placing first, second and third.
Sacred Steps, a series of profiles of people seeking to make change in the world, is a collaboration between KALW’s The Spiritual Edge and the USC Center for Religion and Civic Culture. The honored stories were aired on KALW’s Crosscurrents and are part of Season 1 of The Spiritual Edge podcast, which is now in Season 2.
“I’m proud of the whole team,” says Judy Silber, executive editor of The Spiritual Edge. “They worked incredibly hard and we’re proud of the journalism they produced to tell these profound stories of people working under difficult circumstances to better our world.”
Journalist Daysha Eaton won first place for best radio story for a piece about Gwich’in leader Sarah Eaton’s lifelong work to protect her homelands, including the coastal plain of the nearby Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
Second place went to Monique Parsons for her story on Al and Andi Tauber, married singer-songwriters who who are music directors for a congregation of urban Mennonites in Chicago and who developed a ministry for male sex workers on the street.
Jude Joffe-Block won third place for her profile of Scott Warren, who faced decades in prison for following his conscience when he provided humanitarian aid to migrants at the U.S. border.
“The individuals profiled in these podcasts are a special breed of humanity,” says Donald Miller, who leads CRCC’s Spiritual Exemplars Project, of which the award-winning stories are a part. “Rather than sitting on the sidelines of life, they channel their outrage at injustice—and compassion toward the most vulnerable in society—into action, mobilized and sustained by their spirituality. They exemplify religion at its best: authentic, committed and often counter-cultural.”
The Spiritual Edge podcast is available for listening anywhere you listen to podcasts, including Spotify, Google and Apple.
With the help of its team of journalism fellows, CRCC aims to tell the stories of 100 exemplary people committed to addressing some of the most challenging issues of our day through its Spiritual Exemplars Project. The Spiritual Edge’s radio documentaries are not the only stories from the project that have been recognized for their excellence.
Krithika Varagur won foreign correspondent of the year from the Newswomen’s Club of New York for a body of work that includes two stories she wrote from Indonesia and Myanmar. She also won second place for Religion News Association’s book award for The Call: Inside the Global Saudi Religious Project (not part of her work with CRCC).
The USC Center for Religion and Civic Culture advances the understanding of religion and society, and supports faith and community leaders in becoming full partners in social change. Spiritual Exemplars: A Global Project on Engaged Spirituality is supported by the John Templeton Foundation and Templeton Religion Trust.
The Spiritual Edge podcast explores the shifting landscape of religion and spirituality. Seasons 1 and 2 are a series of profiles called “Sacred Steps.” Future seasons include “Becoming Muslim” and “A Prayer for Salmon.”
The Spiritual Edge is a project of KALW Public Radio (91.7-FM) in San Francisco, licensed to the San Francisco Unified School District. The award-winning KALW News Department has also helped to create and incubate multiple podcast projects, including The Stoop, The Intersection, The Spiritual Edge and The San Quentin Prison Report, a project that evolved into Ear Hustle on Radiotopia.