Oklahoma Gazette 2009 Awards Wrap-Up

Oklahoma Gazette won its first Sequoyah Award from the Oklahoma Press Association and received honors from the Society of Professional Journalists and the ADDYs.

Oklahoma Gazette won the Oklahoma Press Association’s highest honor, the Sequoyah Award, in its first year of eligibility in the 2008 Better Newspaper Contest.

Published by Bill Bleakley and owned by Tierra Media Group, the Gazette competed with sustaining member publications in Division 9 of the contest, which was judged by the Hoosier State Press Association. The OPA announced winners Feb. 6, 2009, at the Doubletree Hotel in Tulsa.

The Gazette won first place in eight of a dozen categories — News Content, Layout & Design, Advertising, Sales Promotion, In-Depth Enterprise, Personal Columns, Feature Writing and Photography. The weekly publication placed second in Editorial Comment, third in Community Leadership and fourth in News Writing.

“Great covers,” judges wrote. “It’s tough for others in this category to compete with a quality alternative weekly. Great photography. Clever headlines. The food feature is well-done.

“Wish our paper could attract all those plastic surgeon ads.”

Staff writer Ben Fenwick’s embedded coverage in Iraq comprised the In-Depth Enterprise Category.

“This series of stories is the best example of Ernie Pyle I’ve ever seen,” judges wrote. “The writer pays close attention to detail, carefully choosing words and painting a picture that those who aren’t there can see through their mind’s eye through Fenwick’s flawless writing. This is a read that kept me captivated from beginning to end.”

Society of Professional Journalists

The Gazette earned 12 honors competing in the annual contest presented by the Society of Professional Journalists’ Oklahoma Professional Chapter Jan. 31, 2009, at the Crowne Plaza in Tulsa. The Utah and Ohio SPJ chapters judged the contest.

Competing in the largest division of newspapers, photographer Shannon Cornman won first for “Architectural digest” in the Story/Photo Essay category.

“The scope, variety and mastery of these pictures is as engaging and informing as it can be,” judges wrote. “(We) envied any designer who had the privilege of working with these images. Magnificent.”

In the online competition, Fenwick took top honors for his “Ben There” blog featured at www.okgazette.com.

The Gazette earned a pair of second place honors with Fenwick’s “Oklahoma’s 45th in Iraq” in In-Depth Enterprise Reporting/Individual and publisher Bleakley’s “Abolishing the auditor’s office” in Editorial Commentary.

Third place honors were awarded to five individual Gazette entries: Emily Jerman for “Reading, ’riting, resignation” in Education Reporting, Entertainment Editor Joe Wertz for “Hating Hinder” in Entertainment Feature, Food Editor Carol Smaglinski for “Chow lines” in the new Leisure Writing category, Cornman for “Mind over matter” in Feature Photography and Fenwick for Best Reporting Portfolio.

The Gazette placed third for Best Newspaper behind the Tulsa World and The Oklahoman.
Scott Cooper, treasurer of SPJ’s Oklahoma chapter, earned honorable mention for “NBA OKC” in In-Depth Enterprise Reporting/Individual and for “Sober justice” in Criminal Justice Reporting.

ADDY Awards

Tierra Media Group earned one Gold ADDY Award, a Silver Merit Award and three Bronze Merit Awards Feb. 14, 2009, at the 43rd Annual Oklahoma City ADDY Awards at the Renaissance Hotel/Oklahoma City Convention Center in Oklahoma City.

A Gold ADDY Award went to the Gazette’s “Moore movies” (Best Use of Photography, print) for work by Cornman, Art Director Chris Street and TMG Managing Editor Rod Lott.

A Silver Merit Award was given to the Gazette’s “Best of OKC” house ad campaign (Newspaper Self-Promotion campaign) by graphic designer Kimberley Christensen.

Bronze Merit Awards went to the Gazette’s “Nico-teen” cover (Publication Design, Cover) by Leis, Cornman and Lott, to “Soundcheck” postcard (Direct Marketing) by Christensen and Brown and to Gazette’s Ghouls Gone Wild commercial/video (Animation or Special Effects) by illustrator/designer Brad Gregg.