Oklahoma Gazette earns journalism awards 


Oklahoma Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) recently named Oklahoma Gazette one of the state’s best newspapers.

During SPJ’s annual awards event April 30 in Midwest City, Gazette, a locally owned newsweekly, earned second place in the Best Newspaper category.

Tulsa World newsdaily earned the top honor, and metro newsdaily The Oklahoman placed third.

SPJ is a broad-based, national journalism organization that supports and endorses high journalistic standards and open and ethical reporting.

“I believe our recognition as one of the top newspapers in the state stems from our local ownership and independence, which sustains our continuing commitment to quality journalism,” said Oklahoma Gazette publisher Bill Bleakley.

Gazette staff also earned six more SPJ awards in four categories for papers with 25,000 circulation or greater.


Food and lifestyle reporter Greg Elwell swept leisure writing awards, winning first-, second- and third-place honors.

His April 29, 2015 cover story “Up till dawn: This is it! Oklahoma Gazette’s guide to insomniac eating” earned a first-place award in the Leisure Writing category. Another cover story, “The Makers: Creation is an act of defiance, and these five business start-up owners show us why,” published Nov. 11, earned a second-place honor for Elwell and staff news reporter and co-author Laura Eastes.

Elwell’s third Leisure Writing win was his May 6, 2015 food review “Power eating: We’re all winners when we visit B&B Wok, Noodle and Moore. It’s in — you guessed it — Moore.”

Eastes also earned third-place recognition in the General News Reporting category for her Sept. 23 coverage of Oklahoma City’s proposed panhandling ordinance, “No simple fix: Proposed changes to city panhandler ordinance raises concerns as a public input opportunity set for Tuesday.”

First-place General News Reporting honors went to Tulsa World reporter Corey Jones for his in-depth look at Oklahoma’s earthquakes.

Staff photographer Garett Fisbeck, art director Chris Street and editor-in-chief Jennifer Chancellor shared a second-place Page One Layout and Design win for their work on the July 15, 2015 cover presentation of “It’s a Pawley: A local artist creates a style — and a mammoth mural — so distinctive, soon everyone will know his name,” featuring Tall Hill Creative co-owner and operator Jason Pawley and his “Cultivation” mural located inside the underpass at S. EK Gaylord Boulevard and W. Reno Avenue.

The related story inside was written by Oklahoma City artist and Gazette freelance contributor Jack Fowler.

James Royal of Tulsa World earned first place in the Page One Layout and Design category with his page-one design marking the 20th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing.

Chancellor also earned a first-place award for her commentary “Public school teacher pay reality check,” which dissected myths about teacher pay and work schedules and quickly went viral among Gazette readers after its Dec. 30, 2015 publication.

The commentary remains the most-read news-related story on okgazette.com. Of the piece, judges commented, “This editorial tackles a controversial subject that has attracted letters to the newspaper and other comments based on misinformation. Using national and local figures, the well-written, interesting editorial sets the record straight.”

Print headline: Award winner, Oklahoma Gazette earns honors at the recent Society of Professional Journalists awards gala.

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