In more than 24 years as a reporter at The Oklahoman, I’ve been blessed to work with some of the country’s finest journalists. I’ve met historical figures, I’ve covered historic events. At times people read this column and smile, and I’m sure at times readers just want to wring my neck.
I’ve also been blessed with some pretty high praise. I don’t mean to dismiss any of that when I say the award I’m getting tonight at the Dean A. McGee ceremonies is the most humbling acknowledgment I’ve received in my entire career.
Journalism awards are subjective — they involve stories submitted in various categories and judged by people who generally are in other states and are unaware of the reporter’s overall body of work. But last fall, a group of Oklahoma City civic leaders met to discuss and decide winners of the 2014 Dean A. McGee awards. These judges are past award winners themselves. They are individuals who have shaped our downtown and made it what is today. And they are very familiar with my work.
I’ve covered these folks more than two decades. They’ve not always liked what I’ve written. But I believe they know that my intent is consistent: to tell their stories, good or bad, and to keep readers connected to downtown and the city.
Love of downtown
I love Oklahoma City. And yes, I love downtown. It’s an interest that goes back to my childhood, when my family moved to Oklahoma City from New York in 1977 as my late father, Robert, oversaw development of the Sheraton Hotel and Century Center Mall (a failed experiment that will now provide The Oklahoman with a great new downtown home). I spent my summers working as an errand boy at my father’s downtown office, dropping deposit bags with the tellers in the Great Banking Hall at First National Tower, roaming the Conncourse tunnels, dropping documents at other offices amidst a thriving, early 1980s oil boom.
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