Oklahoma Watch journalists won four first-place awards and eight additional awards in the Oklahoma Society of Professional Journalists contest for work published in 2016.
First-place winners included a team of reporters and data-visualization journalists who produced in-depth reports examining the impact of the 2016 elections in Oklahoma. The team included Trevor Brown, Jennifer Palmer, Warren Vieth, Thomas Thoren and Nate Robson.
Thoren also won for producing a precinct-level interactive state map with results in the presidential election and all seven state questions – the only such map published in the state.
Palmer also won both first and second place in education reporting for her investigative series on virtual charter schools and her data-driven package on the prevalence of high-level math and science “deserts” in the state. Her virtual-schools project also was given second-place honors in in-depth enterprise and investigative reporting.
Winning first place in business reporting were Vieth and data researcher Mark Lash for their exhaustive series on business incentives and tax breaks and the impact on the state budget.
Reporter Clifton Adcock was honored twice, placing second in criminal justice reporting for his exclusive piece revealing that authorities had acquired devices to seize funds from pre-paid debit cards, and in general news reporting, for another exclusive on a little-known court ruling finding sodomy laws don’t apply when the victim is unconscious.
Brown won second in government reporting for his in-depth look at the controversial secrecy surrounding the crafting of the state budget.
In radio journalism, reporter Brad Gibson won third-place honors as best broadcast reporter of 2016 for his series called “Oklahoma Watch Report” on public radio. He also won third place in general news reporting for his segment on the challenges of getting Oklahomans to the polls.
In video journalism, Executive Editor David Fritze and videographer Ilea Shutler won third place for a series of video interviews entitled “Conversations” – specifically videos in the series about Oklahomans whose lives were shaped by struggle.