Daily staffers win 18 honors against professionals in Oklahoma SPJ contest

The OU Daily earned 18 honors in results announced virtually Friday at the Oklahoma SPJ Pro Chapter Awards Ceremony in which its collegiate journalists were judged against the state’s professionals. 

Staffers were honored with first-place awards in online categories for breaking news for their coverage of an historic campus sit-in (Nick Hazelrigg, Jordan Miller, Ari Fife, Blake Douglas and Emma Davis) and podcasts for their explanatory series on divisive city politics (Beth Wallis). They won first place in newspaper categories for spot news when a journalism professor stepped down from a class after using a racist slur (Miller), feature writing for coverage inside the sit-in (Hazelrigg), general news reporting that documented payments to an ex-university president (Scott Kirker), diversity coverage on the sit-in (Miller) and sports feature for the examination of an assistant football coach’s impact (Mason Young).

Staffers were honored with second-place awards in online categories for video journalism explaining the routines of NCAA champion gymnast Maggie Nichols (Will Conover, Justin Jayne), interactive graphic/resource for a tool illustrating COVID-19 trends across Big 12 campuses (Miller), web design for the presentation of the Nichols’ profile (Caitlyn Epes, Paxson Haws, George Stoia, Hazelrigg, Conover), sports photography for an end-zone play (Trey Young) as well as best website behind NonDoc. It took second in newspaper categories for page one layout/design for its wrap-up of the sit-in (Carly Orewiler) and best overall newspaper behind the Osage News. 

Staffers were honored with third-place awards in online categories for column writing for an essay on football and friendship (Epes), community engagement for a daily headlines newsletter (Makenna Buckskin), breaking/spot news photography for an image from a paralyzing ice storm (Young) and in-depth enterprise/investigative reporting for a story that raised questions about the safety of a new campus residential hall (Kirker).

The Daily competed against professional newsrooms across the state including The Oklahoman, NonDoc, Oklahoma Watch, KOSU and StateImpact Oklahoma.