Oklahoma Watch reporters won first place in beat reporting for coverage of health care and the uninsured and were finalists in three other reporting and writing categories in the Great Plains Journalism Awards.

Newspapers and other publications from eight states competed in the annual contest, which is sponsored by the Tulsa Press Club. The awards were announced Friday at a luncheon at the Mayo Hotel in Tulsa.

Reporters Warren Vieth and Clifton Adcock and data journalist Darren Jaworski won in beat reporting for coverage related to the Affordable Care Act.

“News organizations around the country have worked hard to cut through the political rhetoric and educate readers about the Affordable Care Act,” judges wrote of the coverage. “Oklahoma Watch went beyond that, and through solid reporting and strong writing, held politicians accountable for their words and allowed readers to hear the human voices and so often drowned out by the noisy debate.”

The series of stories also earned Vieth, Adcock and Jaworski a finalist honor for general news reporting.

Adcock and Vieth were the sole finalists for Great Plains Writer of the Year. Vieth’s entries focused on health care, including mental health, the health-care law, and problems faced by the uninsured. Adcock’s stories focused on corrections, hospital finances and issues such as the homeless and developmentally disabled. The Writer of the Year award went Matthew Hansen of the Omaha World Herald.

Adcock was a finalist in investigative/project reporting for stories that included a special report on how actions by Gov. Mary Fallin’s staff led to a weakening of the Justice Reinvestment Initiative, a law intended to reduce Oklahoma’s high incarceration rates.

Support our publication

Every day we strive to produce journalism that matters — stories that strengthen accountability and transparency, provide value and resonate with readers like you.

This work is essential to a better-informed community and a healthy democracy. But it isn’t possible without your support.