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Former publisher of National Catholic Reporter wins Bishop England Award


  • Joe Towalski, editor of The Visitor, newspaper of the Diocese of St. Cloud, Minn., and incoming president of the Catholic Press Association, right, presents the Bishop John England award to Thomas C. Fox of the National Catholic Reporter June 22 at the Catholic Media Conference in Quebec City. (CNS photo/Philippe Vaillancourt, Presence)
  • Thomas C. Fox of the National Catholic Reporter poses after receiving the Bishop John England award June 22 at the Catholic Media Conference in Quebec City. (CNS photo/Philippe Vaillancourt, Presence)
  • Thomas C. Fox of the National Catholic Reporter poses after receiving the Bishop John England award June 22 at the Catholic Media Conference in Quebec City. (CNS photo/Philippe Vaillancourt, Presence)

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QUEBEC CITY (CNS) -- Thomas C. Fox, former publisher of National Catholic Reporter who started his journalism career as a correspondent while working with displaced Vietnamese in the 1960s, was given the Catholic Press Association's Bishop John England Award for publishers who defend their publication's First Amendment rights.

"Allow me to receive this award on behalf of the entire NCR staff, past and present," said Fox, who retired in 2016 after 36 years as publisher of the lay-run national newspaper based in Kansas City, Missouri. He said the paper "allows a forum for voices that otherwise would not be heard."

Bishop England founded the nation's first Catholic newspaper, The Catholic Miscellany, in South Carolina in the 19th century. He also was outspoken against slavery.

"I like to think that if Bishop England were here today ... he would be proud of NCR," Fox said at a June 22 luncheon during the 2017 Catholic Media Conference in Quebec City.

"I like to think the NCR Catholic lay voice ... has remained faithful to its founding mission, even today," he said.

Fox said the newspaper had its supporters and detractors over the years, and there was "a cost to the kind of journalism" NCR had been called to do.

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