CapitolBeatOK writers garner honors from Society of Professional Journalists
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Published: 23-Apr-2013

OKLAHOMA CITY – Writers for CapitolBeatOK won a total of five awards at the annual awards banquet of the Society of Professional Journalists, Oklahoma Professional Chapter.

Patrick B. McGuigan -- Oklahoma City bureau chief for the Watchdog.org system, editor of CapitolBeatOK, associate publisher of a community newspaper and a television commentator for News9 – finished third in the competition for best reporting portfolio.

Stacy Martin, now managing editor of The City Sentinel, won third place in the newspaper competition for investigative reporting, recognizing her report on Oklahoma's Quality Jobs Program. Martin's report was initially posted on CapitolBeatOK.com. 

McGuigan's five submissions in the portfolio competition for newspaper reporters consisted primarily of stories adapted from CapitolBeatOK for The City Sentinel. McGuigan also won a first place award for Diversity Reporting, and second place awards for health reporting and commentary. 

McGuigan's reporter's portfolio submission for 2012 included his tribute to a Cheyenne & Arapaho leader and news reports adapted from CapitolBeatOK on Medicaid expansion, the Women in Recovery program providing alternatives to incarceration for non-violent offenders, and an investigative piece on missing memorabilia from the legendary Oklahoma athlete and Olympian, Jim Thorpe. The package also included a news story on the charitable good works of Olivet Baptist Church on Oklahoma City's near west side.  

One of McGuigan's second place award in the category of science, technology, health and environmental reporting consisted of news reports on the impact of the Affordable Care Act, widely known as “ObamaCare,” and its impact on Oklahoma state government. In addition to postings on CapitolBeatOK, those stories ran nationwide on the Watchdog.org Online news platform, and were printed in The City Sentinel.

McGuigan's other second place recognition came in the commentary category, for “Telling a Story and Giving Thanks – To all those who give a damn.” In an essay first posted on Watchdog.org which ultimately appeared in several other venues, McGuigan's relections focused on 2012 general election early voting in Oklahoma City, primarily by supporters of Barack Obama, door-to-door activism in Colorado by Mitt Romney supporters from Oklahoma, and the writer's memories of his tenure as former Delaware Gov. Pete du Pont's deputy policy director during the 1988 presidential primary campaign in New Hampshire.

McGuigan's first place recognition, in the category of Diversity Coverage, came for his report on the life of Archie Hoffman, an activist and member of the Cheyenne & Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma who pressed for recognition of land rights in western Oklahoma. Hoffman challenged the Clinton administration to keep a treaty promise to the Two Tribes to return certain lands to their control when the land was no longer required for U.S. military use. 

After initially appearing in The City Sentinel and on CapitolBeatOK , McGuigan's obituary/tribute about Hoffman appeared nationwide on Native American-focused websites and in other Oklahoma newspapers. The judge who afforded McGuigan the first place recognition wrote, “A powerful tribute to a great community leader. I expect there are other, equally inspiring people still alive who can be featured for their contributions to diversity.”

An update on the Hoffman story appeared nationwide this week on the Watchdog.org news platform, and at the CapitolBeatOK.com website, and is forthcoming in other publications, including The City Sentinel, where McGuigan is associate publisher and Martin is managing editor.

Founded in 2009, CapitolBeatOK is a non-partisan news website and a project of the Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity, a 501 c 3 tax-exempt and educational organization providing news, analysis and commentary of national, state and local governments, with an emphasis on waste, fraud and abuse. 

 
NOTE: An award-winning journalist, Rodely is an occasional contributor to CapitolBeatOK. She is moderator of the weekly “Capitol Watch” podcast, a past president of the Oklahoma City Gridiron Club and a member of the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame. 

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