Oklahoma Watch has received the 2015 media service award from the Oklahoma chapter of the National Association of Social Workers.

A nomination letter cited as an example of Oklahoma Watch’s coverage the seven-part “Prisoners of Debt” series published in January. The project examined the steep fines and fees paid by inmates and their families in the criminal justice system. The letter also alluded to a mobile-video project titled “Talk With Us,” in which Oklahoma Watch journalists and University of Oklahoma journalism students videotaped residents in low-income Oklahoma City neighborhoods about their concerns and problems.

“Under the leadership of (Executive Editor) David Fritze, the journalists of Oklahoma Watch cover beats impacting poor people in negative ways,” the nomination letter states.

“Unlike many news outlets, the staff members of Oklahoma Watch … get close to the issues they investigate, interviewing people who experience firsthand the negative effects of serious social issues, too often people of color and minority status,” the letter adds.

“Oklahoma Watch consistently breaks real stories that can have real positive consequences for the groups social workers care about.”

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