Staffers at The Oklahoman and NewsOK.com walked away with top honors in three categories Friday at the sixth annual Society of Professional Journalists’ First Amendment Awards during its dinner and presentation in Fort Worth, Texas.
The journalism awards recognize advocates of the public’s right to know what government and other public entities are doing. Oklahoman Staff Writer Bryan Dean won in the "Reporting on Open Government” category for his piece titled "Politics can hamper enforcement of openness law.” The judges said that Dean’s piece "enumerated the stories published by The Oklahoman that could not have been reported without open government laws.” Owen Canfield won in the "Opinion or Commentary” category for his piece titled "Court needs to revisit rules.” The NewsOK.com staff won for its "Your right to know” series in the category, "Online Projects that incorporate open records or examine issues related to open government.” Newspapers, online newsrooms, college publications and broadcast outlets across Oklahoma and Texas competed for the awards. Other winning newspapers included The Dallas Morning News, The San Antonio Express-News, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and the Houston Press, to name a few. The contest’s highest honor, the "Open Door,” award, went to Jennifer Peebles, a former political editor for The Tennessean newspaper. The Fort Worth Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists sponsored the contest and handed out $11,000 in scholarships to Texas college journalism students.