McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

Local News

July 7, 2014

Newspaper named national winner

McALESTER — The McAlester News-Capital and Oklahoma Watch reprise of the Oklahoma State Penitentiary’s three-day riot on the 40th anniversary of the violence a year ago has been honored in a national journalism contest with first place in the best investigative or in-depth series of stories in the community dailies category.

The National Newspaper Association (NNA) said the stories, published last July 28, were noteworthy for their thorough, informative insights on a subject that’s often described as one of the most destructive riots in U.S. prison history.

“It is always a pleasure to partner with another journalistic group like Oklahoma Watch,” said News-Capital Publisher Amy Johns. “It is an honor to be recognized nationally for the work we do right here in our hometown. As always, I am so proud of my news team. They work hard to shine the light where there is darkness.”

The rampage, which started in the prison’s mess hall, caused three inmate deaths, serious injuries to several guards and convicts, and the destruction of 24 prison buildings. Damage was estimated at $30 million. Nineteen violent deaths and 40 stabbings had occurred in the prison three years prior to the riot.

Judges applauded the anniversary stories for comparing the overcrowding, squalid cells and other issues that caused the riot with today’s reduced inmate population and stricter internal controls over inmate movement.

The series on OSP included four stories by Oklahoma Watch writers Shaun Hittle, Clifton Adcock and Darren Jaworski, and six articles by News-Capital Senior Editor James Beaty. Adcock is a former Quinton resident who previously worked as a reporter at the News-Capital.

In addition to numerous historical file photos,  the series also included new photos by Adcock, Beaty and News-Capital Photojournalist Kevin Harvison.

Known as “Big Mac,” the maximum security prison in the year of the riot housed more than 2,000 inmates in filthy, deteriorated facilities. Today, it contains less than 600 inmates in the rebuilt prison. It remains the site of the state’s death chamber.

The contest judges said the stories showed the changes “ensure a higher level of safety. A great peek into the political picture of it all, as well” on a subject that “has to be near and dear to the hearts of your community members.”

The News-Capital also won honorable mention in two individual award categories of the national contest: MJ Brickey for best serious column, and Matt Goisman for best sports column.

Brickey, the News-Capital’s digital editor, used words to paint a picture about her life as a newsroom journalist.

Goisman, sports writer for the News-Capital, has covered a number of serious subjects in his columns, including the Boston Marathon bombing. He grew up near Boston and has attended more than a dozen marathons, so he offered personal insight into the tragic event.

The contest was judged by retired and practicing community newspaper editors, publishers and journalism professors.

Oklahoma Watch is a Norman-based non-profit organization designed to produce in-depth and investigative journalism on important public-policy issues facing the state.

NNA is the country’s largest newspaper association, with membership of 2,200 owners, publishers and editors of community dailies and non-dailies. The organization’s mission is to protect, promote and enhance community newspapers.

Articles of the News-Capital and Oklahoma Watch series in the Sunday, July 28, 2013, edition of the News-Capital on the 40th anniversary of the OSP riot included:

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Raw: Japanese Soldiers Storm Beach in Exercises Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA Two Women Narrowly Avoid Being Hit by Train In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast New Sanctions on Key Sectors of Russian Economy Crayola Announces Family Attraction in Orlando US Ready to Slap New Sanctions on Russia Kerry: Not Worried About Israeli Criticism Boater Rescued From Edge of Kentucky Dam Girl Struck by Plane on Florida Beach Dies Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre House to Vote on Slimmed-down Bill for Border Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue
NDN Video
Weird 'Wakudoki' Dance Launches Promotional Competition Two women barely avoid being hit by train Chris Pratt Adorably Surprises Kids at a 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Screening Chapter Two: Designing for Naomi Watts NOW TRENDING: Peyton Manning dancing at practice "The Bachelorette" Makes Her Decision Thieves pick the wrong gas station to rob Golden Sisters on '50 Shades' trailer: 'Look At That Chest!' Staten Island Man's Emotional Dunk Over NYPD Car - @TheBuzzeronFOX GMA: Dog passes out from excitment to see owner Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted 'Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1' Sneak Peek Florida Keys Webcam Captures Turtles Hatching Morgan Freeman Sucks Down Helium on 'Tonight Show' Robin Wright Can Dance! (WATCH) She's Back! See Paris Hilton's New Carl's Jr. Ad Big Weekend For Atlanta Braves In Cooperstown - @TheBuzzeronFox Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director What's Got Jack Black Freaking Out at Comic-Con? Doctors Remove 232 Teeth From Teen's Mouth
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.