The Tulsa World won four of the top awards for investigative reporting, magazine of the year, photo story and feature photography at the 14th annual Great Plains Journalism Awards.
The Tulsa World competed against newspapers, websites and magazines from eight states — Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Iowa, Arkansas and Missouri.
Corey Jones won the category of project/investigative reporting for his Tulsa World series on fatal high-speed pursuits conducted by the Oklahoma Highway Patrol. The Tulsa World produced stories that continued to hold the OHP to account for its record of fatal pursuits. In five years, 18 have died, including fleeing drivers, passengers, other motorists and a trooper.
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“The ongoing and revelatory work by Corey Jones is a terrific example of one reporter identifying a matter of significant public interest, digging into it, and staying with it over the long term, even as public officials refuse to cooperate with that very reporting,” judges wrote. “Jones’ series builds on a body of work that began six years ago, with five stories that mined documents, won through an open records lawsuit by the Tulsa World, and other records provided by sources. The stories drilled into individual police pursuits to expose questionable decisions by the OHP and the agency’s failure to fully reconcile the deadly results.
“His stories exemplify the journalism that communities need to stay informed about those entrusted with the public’s safety — especially when those in charge respond to questions with a wall of silence.”
The Tulsa World Magazine, which is produced by the Tulsa World’s newsroom and led by Editor Nicole Marshall Middleton and Assistant Editor Stacey Dickens, won Great Plains Magazine of the Year for a second time. The cover stories for the magazines judged included the 14 most beautiful places to visit in Oklahoma, pop culture’s spotlight on Western life, the 50 things to love about Tulsa and the annual Tulsans of the Year.
“The measure of a good city magazine is how much of a ‘must read’ has it become? Tulsa World certainly fits the bill with compelling editorial that’s perfectly suited to Tulsa,” judges wrote.
Tulsa World Staff Photographer Mike Simons won for photo story on a patient who was dumped outside a local hospital, which is under federal investigation. Former Tulsa World Photographer Ian Maule won for feature photography.
The Tulsa World was a finalist for Great Plains Newspaper of the Year and Great Plains Website of the Year.
Tulsa World finalists in the contest included Staff Writer Andrea Eger for Great Plains Writer of the Year; Sports Writer Eli Lederman for Sports Reporting; Editorials Editor Ginnie Graham for News Column Portfolio; Simons for Spot News Photography and Sports Feature Photography; Staff Photographer Daniel Shular for Sports Feature Photography; and Maule for Great Plains Newspaper Photographer/Portfolio of the Year and Spot News Photography.
Five journalists were inducted into the Great Plains Journalism Hall of Fame. This year’s class included Robert E. Lorton Jr., former owner and publisher of the Tulsa World; Robert E. Lorton III, former publisher of the Tulsa World; Tulsan Becky Dixon, owner and president of AyerPlay and former host of ABC’s “Wide World of Sports”; Ed Kelley, dean of the Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Oklahoma and former editor of The Oklahoman; and Clytie Bunyan, managing editor for diversity and inclusion, community engagement and opinion at The Oklahoman.