CATOOSA — The Oklahoman was named the best large newspaper in the region Saturday night during the Great Plains Journalism Competition awards ceremony. The publication won in the category of newspapers with circulation of 100,000 or more.
"Our peers in this contest are strong competitors,” said Kelly Dyer Fry, vice president of news and information for OPUBCO Communications Group. "We are honored to be among the winners. We take pride in the work we create across our many platforms.” The year is the first for the Great Plains Journalism Competition, which included publications and Web sites from eight states: Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Iowa, Arkansas and Missouri. Judges considered work done in 2008. The Oklahoman Editor Ed Kelley participated in the "State of the Media” panel discussion before the awards ceremony. Other panelists were Joe Worley, executive editor of the Tulsa World, and Jacqui Banaszynski, a Pulitzer Prize winner and the Knight Chair of Journalism at the University of Missouri.
WinnersThe Oklahoman and NewsOK.com staff members won a total of 20 competition categories and were named finalists in 12 other categories. Oklahoman Staff Writer Randy Ellis received the award for Best Reporting Portfolio for large papers. Ellis was honored for his coverage of Oklahoma children, the Oklahoma Department of Human Services and other issues. Photographer Bryan Terry received the Photography Portfolio award. Oklahoman and NewsOK.com staff won top awards in 18 other categories: →Bryan Painter and Ken Raymond, Spot News for reporting on a jet crash in Oklahoma City. →Nolan Clay and Randy Ellis, Team Investigative Reporting Series for their look into state legislators who didn’t file tax returns. →Ken Raymond, Narrative Story or Series for his "Cold Case” series. →Bryan Dean, John Estus, Jay Marks and Nolan Clay, Government and Political Writing for their coverage of the Oklahoma County jail. →Berry Tramel and Darnell Mayberry, Sports Spot News for the announcement of an NBA team in Oklahoma City. →John Rohde, Sports Feature for a story about Bobby Murcer’s death. →Gene Triplett, Entertainment Feature for a preview of the Flaming Lips’ New Year’s concert. →David Zizzo, Specialty Feature for a story about his first skydiving trip. →Chad Anderson, Best News Headline Portfolio for his headline writing. →Phillip Baeza, Special Section Layout for the 2008 high school football preview. →Paul Hellstern, News Photo of President George W.