ST. LOUIS — The video operation at OPUBCO Communications Group was honored Friday with the prestigious Innovator of the Year award at the annual Associated Press Managing Editor’s conference. OPUBCO, which owns The Oklahoman and NewsOK.com, was awarded for its total approach to video, including changing the culture of the newsroom with new skills for telling stories and covering news. "We have embraced video in a big way,” said Kelly Fry, vice president of News and Information. "It has changed our culture and the way we cover news. This is wonderful affirmation of our efforts.” NewsOK.com’s video views have skyrocketed in 2009, averaging about 1 million video plays per month. "Video allows us to provide a complete multimedia experience, combined with our text and photos,” said David Morris, director of video. "It lets us take users to the news, whether that’s courtside or a crime scene. Video is a quickly growing segment of Internet usage.” Bob Heisse, chairman of APME’s Innovations Committee, called the award "the most unique in journalism.” A panel of judges selects the three finalists, who must make a presentation at the national conference. The winner is then selected based on a special vote by conference participants. The News Press of Fort Myers, Fla., and The News Journal of Wilmington, Del., were the other finalists.