Oklahoma Watch, an independent, nonprofit news service, has been granted tax-exempt status as a charitable organization by the Internal Revenue Service.

The designation means that Oklahoma Watch can receive direct tax-deductible contributions and bequests to help further its mission of producing investigative and in-depth journalism on public-policy issues in the state. To date, Oklahoma Watch has received donations through a fund established at the Tulsa Community Foundation.

“This is great news, for us and for all organizations that practice journalism in a nonprofit model,” said David Fritze, executive editor of Oklahoma Watch. “As many traditional news outlets continue to cut back on resources, we want to provide a public service by filling some of those gaps.

“We are seeking even more community support as we dig more deeply to inform Oklahomans about the most significant issues facing the state.”

Oklahoma Watch joins a number of other nonprofit journalism centers that have received 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status from the IRS in recent years. Oklahoma Watch provides nonpartisan coverage through stories, multimedia and interactive data, and conducts public forums, on a wide range of public-policy issues, often focusing on the poor and disadvantaged. Its content is distributed to news media statewide. During the past year, Oklahoma Watch has reported on incarceration rates, health insurance, common education, public money, poverty, the homeless, criminal justice, immigration and mental health.

Oklahoma Watch also contributes to the training of student journalists in collaboration with the Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Oklahoma.

Oklahoma Watch’s principal funders are the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation, based in Oklahoma City, and the George Kaiser Family Foundation, based in Tulsa.

Oklahoma Watch staff encourages the public to submit story ideas (to editor@oklahomawatch.org), sign up to receive a weekly newsletter, participate in “Oklahoma Watch-Out” public forums and donate to the organization.

More information about Oklahoma Watch is available at www.oklahomawatch.org.

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