Three Oklahoma Watch staffers received 18 reporting awards, including nine first-place honors, at the 2015 Society of Professional Journalists Oklahoma awards banquet in Tulsa on Saturday.
Staff Reporter Warren Vieth won first place in investigative reporting, first place in investigative team reporting, first place in government reporting, third place in in-depth enterprise reporting, third place in criminal justice reporting and third place in general news reporting.
Staff Reporter Clifton Adcock won first place in general news reporting, second place in best reporting portfolio, second place in investigative reporting, second place in election reporting and third place in government reporting.
Staff Reporter M. Scott Carter won first place in best reporting portfolio, first and second place in investigative reporting, first place in in-depth enterprise reporting, first place in government reporting, first place in science, technology, health and environmental reporting, and second place in diversity coverage.
Carter joined the Oklahoma Watch staff in September 2014. All of his awards except one were for work he did earlier that year for his previous employer, The Journal-Record. The diversity coverage award was for work he did for Oklahoma Watch.
All of the awards received by Vieth and Adcock were in Newspaper Division A, which includes publications with 25,000 or more circulation. Carter’s awards for his Journal-Record work were in Newspaper Division B, which covers publications with less than 25,000 circulation.
Vieth’s award for investigative team reporting was for a prescription drug overdose project done in collaboration with The Oklahoman. Sharing the award were Oklahoman Staff Writers Jaclyn Cosgrove, Andrew Knittle and Phil O’Connor. Vieth’s award for individual investigative reporting involved other prescription drug stories he wrote in 2014.
“The reporting in this series is phenomenal,” the contest judges said of Vieth’s individual investigative reporting reward. “The breadth of information and personal accounts bring to light a serious issue.”
Adcock’s award for general news reporting was based on his investigation of prison medication records, which showed that many inmates had been diagnosed with severe mental health disorders such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
“A unique way of demonstrating the problem Oklahoma is having in housing mentally ill people in jails and prisons,” the contest judges said of Adcock’s reporting. “This story is told with solid, deep reporting and a clear focus.”
Carter’s award for best reporting portfolio was singled out for praise. “Mr. Carter developed a phenomenal portfolio in 2014 that held the powerful accountable, demonstrated deep research and reporting, and incited change in many instances,” the judges said. “A solid reporting portfolio that shows a keen eye for a captivating stories across many subjects.”
Carter’s award for diversity reporting featured his report for Oklahoma Watch on the dearth of Hispanic representation in the Oklahoma legislature.