American-Tribune (copy)

There were two things on display as the Oklahoma Press Association honored newspapers statewide in several categories during Saturday night’s awards banquet: Talent and teamwork.

The winners were rightly honored for work performed in 2018. It was easy to see why they won as colleagues shared in the success.

The whole process hit me that even a small staff like the Wagoner County American-Tribune; everyone contributes, helps and supports the paper.

Editor Christy Wheeland provides the leadership and dogged determination to track down a story. I help where I can, but it is more than just two journalists working long hours each week.

There’s Customer Service Rep, Channing Wedel. “She is the glue that holds us together,” as Wheeland always says. And, it is true.

Wedel not only handles the foot traffic that enters the office, but does it in a kind, yet professional way. She also has advertising responsibilities and usually types in the arrest reports and court records.

She is invaluable.

Then, there is our lone Advertising Rep Jeanne Fritz. She keeps us laughing, but is also a top-notch salesperson for the newspaper. Fritz knows her business and handles all the ads for Wagoner County by herself.

I told someone at the OPA convention in Shawnee Saturday morning that if Fritz and Melissa Lambert had been the Ad Reps in Broken Arrow, the newspaper there would have never closed. They are both pros at what they do.

Then, there is our part-time sports guy for all Coweta High School’s sports, Clay Allen.

Allen used to be the Sports Editor in Okmulgee for years and knows his way around. He has a nose for news and is so dependable.

On top of that, he can take photos like any pro. If that wasn’t enough, Allen is one of the nicest guys in the business.

Layout and design guru, Melanie Allen, makes us all look good in print. Her creative ideas make us shine every week. When we have special sections to produce, Allen keeps us calm and creative with dynamite layouts. She rightfully earned two design awards on Saturday night.

So, you can see why the Wagoner County American-Tribune continues to win awards. The paper has great leadership/talent in Wheeland and a dedicated/creative group to help.

Thanks to all that make this newspaper deserve it!

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