Staff | May 9, 2023

OCPA recognized for journalistic excellence


The Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs has been named a finalist in the “general news single story” category of the recent eight-state Great Plains Journalism Awards competition, a designation of journalistic excellence.

A news article by Ray Carter, director of OCPA’s Center for Independent Journalism, was named a finalist, placing it among the top four entries submitted by outlets from across the eight states, in the “general news single story” category.

The associated judges’ comments declared the article, “Oklahoma schools ignoring long-term staff abuse of students,” to be “a well-researched indictment on school officials and lawmakers who continue to turn a blind eye to widespread sexual abuse of students in Oklahoma schools.”

“OCPA founded its Center for Independent Journalism to provide Oklahomans with fact-based news coverage on important issues that are often overlooked by other outlets,” said Jonathan Small, president of the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs. “We knew there was a void in the marketplace, knew there was an audience starved for our style of coverage, and knew we could address that shortfall with quality journalism. The results of the Great Plains Journalism Awards are just the latest validation that we are achieving our goals in this arena.”

Entries in the Great Plains Journalism Awards competition come from news entities in eight states: Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Iowa, North Dakota, and South Dakota.

The competition has multiple award categories in three broad areas: journalism, television/broadcast, and magazine publications.

The competition had five categories in the journalism section that would include written articles focused on state politics and policy like those typically produced by OCPA. Those categories are news package, project/investigative reporting, general news single story, general news continuing coverage, and beat reporting.

OCPA was the only entity named a winner or finalist in the “general news single story” category that was an Oklahoma-based or Oklahoma-focused news entity. In addition to OCPA, the other two finalists were based in Nebraska, while the category winner was a national outlet whose focus includes the Great Plains area.

Overall, there were 18 entries recognized as winners or finalists in the five aforementioned categories. OCPA was one of only three Oklahoma entities among the 18 finalists and winners in those five categories.

This is not Carter’s first journalism award. While serving as a beat reporter and senior Capitol reporter for The Journal Record, he received 12 Carl Rogan Awards in four years—including awards for investigative reporting, general news reporting, feature writing, spot news reporting, business reporting, and sports reporting.


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