Reporters at The Oklahoman this week were named winners in the Society for Features Journalism’s annual nationwide excellence contest.
Phillip O’Connor, William Crum and former staff writer Carrie Coppernoll won in two categories for newspapers with circulation of 90,001-199,999.
O’Connor, the newspaper’s enterprise editor, won in the project or series category with his three-part story, “The Deadliest Day,” which looked at decisions leading up to a firefight that resulted in the deaths of three Oklahoma Army National Guard soldiers in Afghanistan.
Here’s how judges summed up the series: “One of the many qualities that defines this series is the author’s ability to help us see a situation from many different angles, through the prism of several sets of eyes. The best part of being a journalist is to leave the world of black and white behind and embrace the grays — and, oh boy, does this piece deliver.”
O’Connor tied for first place with Karisa King, San Antonio Express-News, for her investigative project that found victims of sexual assault in the military were unjustly stigmatized and booted out.
O’Connor, along with Crum and Coppernoll, also won the narrative writing category with “The Hallway,” a story about how May 20, 2013, unfolded for some of the victims of the Moore tornado.
Judges said it was “a powerful, emotional story.”
“We were proud of the work on these stories about events that affected so many in our communities,” said Kelly Dyer Fry, editor of The Oklahoman and vice president of news for OPUBCO Communications Group. “We appreciate that our peers recognize the quality of our effort.”
Winners from the contest will be recognized in August at the association’s national conference in Nashville, Tenn.