Gazette wins eight top honors at statewide journalism contest 

The Gazette claimed first in Government Reporting of MAPS 3 by former staff writer Scott Cooper and contributing writers Ben Fenwick and Grant Slater. Judges complimented thorough reporting and sourcing for the “beautifully organized” coverage.

In Election Reporting, Cooper earned top honors for gubernatorial race content described as “complete, well-written, lively, thorough and balanced.” His “Pot of gold” entry also won Criminal Justice Reporting for giving “ample space to both arguments.”

Rob Collins, Gazette editor-in-chief, won the Diversity Coverage category for “Ex-Slaves,” which judges said provided “great treatment of a fascinating topic.” Collins also received top honors in Entertainment Feature for his Color Me Badd cover story.

“Excellently written nostalgia piece that educates with every paragraph,” judges wrote. “The lead invoking Beavis and Butt-head is a nice shout-out to the pop culture landscape during the band’s heyday.”

Rod Lott, Gazette managing editor, placed first in Arts Criticism for film reviews.

“Rod has a smart, engaging writing style,” judges wrote. “Criticism pieces, more than most styles of writing, should hold up to close scrutiny. Rod doesn’t rely on silly turns of phrase to get his point across.”

In Leisure Writing, Fenwick took the top prize for his “Close, with a cigar” Food & Drink coverage.

“The perfect blend of information and irony,” one judge wrote. “I’m not a smoker, but I imagine this is as satisfying as a great cigar after an excellent meal.”

In the Editorial/Commentary, contributing writer Nathan Gunter was awarded first for “The great taco caper.” Judges wrote that Gunter’s Commentary regarding the Iguana Mexican Grill combined fun writing with good background information “to make a compelling argument to support local business.” Publisher Bill Bleakley received third in the category for “MAPS in Perspective.”

The Gazette also placed in the following categories:

• Lott earned second in Leisure Writing for “The 40-year-old coffee virgin” cover story;
• Cooper and Fenwick placed second in Business Reporting for the “Oklahoma, We Have a Problem” piece on Rocketplane;
• freelancer Luke Atkinson received second in Sports Feature for his “Forgotten ‘Superchief’” feature on Allie Reynolds;
• Cooper placed third in Best Newspaper Reporting Portfolio;
• contributing writer Becky Carman finished third in Entertainment Feature for “Late bloomer,” an article on Samantha Crain; and
• artist Steve Weigl received honorable mention for his Aubrey McClendon “Chesa-peek” drawing in Use of Graphic Illustration.

For the second consecutive year, the Gazette placed second in the Best Newspaper category behind the Tulsa World and ahead of The Oklahoman. The Gazette has finished second during five of the last seven years in this category competing against those daily newspapers. The Gazette competed in Division A, the largest newspaper division for publications with circulation of at least 25,000, judged by western Washington and Utah SPJ chapters.


Prior to the SPJ contest, the Gazette received a bronze award in cover publication design for “Squeezed out” by Chris Street, art director, and Mark Hancock, chief photographer, on Feb. 19 at the 45th Annual Oklahoma City ADDY Awards.

On Feb. 4, the Gazette earned eight honors, including five first-place awards, at the Oklahoma Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest in Midwest City. Judges awarded the Gazette first in the categories of:

• Advertising,
• Sales Promotion,
• Editorial Comment,
• News Writing and
• Feature Writing.

The Gazette placed fourth in the In-Depth Enterprise, Photography and Community Leadership categories.

At the annual OPA contest, the Gazette competed in the Sustaining Division judged by members of the North Dakota Newspaper Association.

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