Society of Professional Journalists named Oklahoma Gazette the best newspaper in Oklahoma during its recent 2017 awards gala in Stillwater.
Gazette competed in the statewide Oklahoma Pro Chapter contests largest newspaper division, earning first place in the Best of the Best / Best Newspaper division; The Oklahoman earned second, and Tulsa World took home third.
Journalists often make fun of themselves for being word people not math people, but conversations with past Gazette editors and management show this is only the second time our paper has earned the top honor in about 25 years, if not longer.
Our success is the communitys success, and I want to thank every reader, staff member, reporter, independent journalist, photographer, intern, supporter, sponsor, social media follower, advertiser and especially the University of Oklahomas student journalists at the OU Daily who embraced our innovative content co-development partnership for our 4/20 issue.
And thank you to our Society of Professional Journalists colleagues in Connecticut, who judged Oklahomas SPJ entries.
Of the Best of the Best / Best News paper win, judges said, in part:
The Gazette is the future. Impressive execution of the marijuana issue and especially applaud their partnering with another news organization to increase their depth of coverage. Its that kind of forward thinking that assures the Gazette will lead the future.
Gazette staffers appear to have a good sense of their audience interests, covering hot-button issues of the moment what people are talking and arguing about. The editorial team is clearly investing time coming up with creative approaches to storylines, as evident with the Jabee feature.
Local content is king with this operation from news, culture and arts to music coverage. And theyve wisely bought into the idea that food and dining is a chief source of entertainment for their readers.
All this coupled with good design, great use of photos and graphics to draw in readers, the Gazette delivers.
The awards are presented annually to Oklahoma print, online, radio and television news organizations. SPJ is a broad-based national journalism organization founded in 1909 with the core belief that public enlightenment is the forerunner of justice and the foundation of democracy.
The Gazette is an independently owned, family-run alternative newsweekly founded in 1979 by local attorney and businessman Bill Bleakley, who still runs the paper with his wife Linda Meoli.
Gazette staff also earned awards for photojournalism and news, entertainment and leisure reporting:
Best of the Best Best Newspaper (Newspaper A) First Place, Oklahoma Gazette staff Submissions: 4/20 issue, Jabees powerful Black Future
Best of the Best Best Photographer First Place, Oklahoma Gazette Garett Fisbeck portfolio: Jabees powerful Black Future, Stronger sex, Sister act, Summer Lovin, Time Warp
Entertainment Feature First Place, Oklahoma Gazette Ben Luschen: Public Enemys Chuck D says Woody Guthries spirit lives on in OKC rapper Jabees new album
Leisure Writing Second Place, Oklahoma Gazette Greg Elwell: Brunch bible: Your guide to metro brunch
General News Reporting Third Place, Oklahoma Gazette Laura Eastes: What does poverty look like?
Entertainment Feature Third Place, Oklahoma Gazette Ben Luschen: Stronger sex: Ebony Iman Dallas powerful new exhibit celebrates Women in War Zones
Jennifer Palmer Chancellor is editor-in-chief of Oklahoma Gazette.