2019-06-12 wcat-opa 2019

The Wagoner County American-Tribune brought home awards from the Oklahoma Press Association banquet on June 8. Holding the honors from left are: Christy Wheeland, Melanie Allen and John Ferguson. PHOTO BY SHAWN HEIN, OWASSO REPORTER

SHAWNEE — Fifteen awards, four by the Wagoner County American-Tribune, were won by member papers of the Oklahoma Weekly Group (including Owasso, Skiatook and Sand Springs) during the 2019 Oklahoma Press Association convention on June 7-8.

The Grand Hotel and Casino was the site of the annual awards banquet, business meeting and seminars.

The American-Tribune won first place awards for Sports Coverage, Layout & Design, In-Depth Reporting and Front Page Design.

An extra honor, the “Perfecta,” was given to the American-Tribune’s advertising department. The Perfecta Award honors OPA member newspapers that achieve 100 percent accuracy on advertising orders from the Oklahoma Press Service.

The judges from the New Mexico Press Association said nice things about Melanie Allen’s Front Page Design entry about the then upcoming vote on medical marijuana.

“Great type treatment and use of graphics! Nice use of white space and good headline writing. Beautiful newspaper!”

The judges appreciated the depth and content by the American-Tribune’s editor Christy Wheeland and John Ferguson for the first place in In-Depth Reporting on the Teacher walkout.

“A great series about teachers! They don’t get enough news coverage, so this series of stories captures their struggles and resilience. Fantastic job!”

The Sports Coverage judge liked many things about the competitive nature in Wagoner County.

“Gives readers plenty of action, plenty of information and the proper context for the events.”

The judge of the overall Layout & Design said the American-Tribune had attention to details beyond the front page.

“A lot of newspapers use all their flash on the front page, but this team makes sure that design is consistent throughout. Great use of photos and easy to navigate.”

The American-Tribune had a third place honor in Community Leadership for the series of stories about the “Fathers of Football” charity movie shown last fall.

The Judge said, “The paper bought into this effort and used it to not only build community pride, but to raise money for good causes.”

Wheeland garnered a second place award in Column Writing. The judge said her entry was, “Well-thought-out comments on issues to which readers can easily relate.”

The American-Tribune finished third in the Sales Promotion category for its “Wagoner County Hometown Guide.” The judge offered no comment as the entry spoke for itself.

The American-Tribune competed against 10 other newspapers (including two others from the Oklahoma Weekly Group) in the race for the coveted “Sequoyah” award in Division 6. The Divisions are based on circulation and whether they are daily papers or weekly ones.

Of the 11 newspapers in Division 6, only six scored points toward the Sequoyah award. The American-Tribune finished fifth just 20 points out of third as the Skiatook Journal won the Sequoyah.

Also winning a Sequoyah, but in Division 5, was the Owasso Reporter.

John covers news and sports for the Wagoner County American-Tribune. Phone: 918-485-5505