McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

June 18, 2013

News-Capital earns top honor

From staff reports
Staff report

McALESTER — The McAlester News-Capital has been honored with the Oklahoma Press Association’s 2012 Sequoyah Award, naming it the best Division 2 newspaper in Oklahoma.

Winners were announced Saturday night at the OPA’s annual convention, at the Reed Center in Midwest City.

Designated as the highest honor in the OPA Better Newspaper Contest, the Sequoyah Award is determined by the amount of points accumulated in the contest’s events. The contest featured work done in 2012.

“As always, I’m not surprised,” Publisher Amy Johns said of the News-Capital’s latest awards, including the prestigious Sequoyah Award.

“The News-Capital staff is passionate about this newspaper,” Johns said.

“I believe, without a doubt, each and every team member is worthy of all this award stands for.

“It stands for being the best.”

News-Capital Editor Kandra Wells also commented on the awards.

 “Clearly, we have one of the best news teams in the state,” Wells said. “Of course, I’ve known that for a while; every day I get to see how hard each of us works to make a difference in this community.

“From our coverage of deaths at a local drug rehab, to our work on the glitzy NCommon magazine, to the production of our candidate forums — yeah, we rock. And to get that recognition from a premier industry organization like OPA makes me so very proud of our newspaper, our newsroom and our entire staff.”

To win, the News-Capital won first place awards in the News Content and the Layout & Design divisions.

The News-Capital took second place honors in three divisions:  Personal Columns, Advertising and Sales Promotions.

In the Community Leadership Division, the News-Capital won third place.

In addition, the News-Capital won fourth place in the Photography Division.

Each event required three entries.

In the winning News Content event, the newspapers featured three issues from 2012, with input from all of the News-Capital’s editorial staff.

The winning Layout & Design pages were for work created in 2012 by Editor Kandra Wells and former page designer Brandy Brackett.

In the Personal Columns event, columns were written by Senior Editor James Beaty and staff writers MJ Brickey and Rachel Petersen.

The Feature Writing event included feature articles written by Wells, Beaty and Staff Writer Jeanne LeFlore.

Photojournalist Kevin Harvison had six photos featured in the Photography event.

The entire News-Capital editorial staff worked together in the Community Leadership event, which featured the newspaper’s candidate forums. Those participating included Johns, Wells, Beaty, Harvison, Petersen, LeFlore, Brickey and sports writer Matt Goisman.

The News-Capital’s NCommon magazine’s Fall issue was featured in the Sales Promotion category, while three issues of the newspaper were included in the Advertising event.

Members of the News-Capital’s advertising staff include Reina Owens, Julie Horton, Connie Poole, Melynda Johnson and Kacey Smith.

Debra Durbin is the News-Capital’s production manager.

Other News-Capital staff members include Business Manager Pat Hessdorfer, Renie Williams, who also works in the bookkeeping department; Sharon Martin, circulation bookkeeper; Phyllis Hurlbut, Classified supervisor; and Cindy Irvin, Classified consultant.

 Circulation Manger Steve Edwards, District 4 Manager Linda Johnson and Denise Cantrell round out the team.

“This is an award for everybody — everybody works so hard,” Johns said, adding that some team members wear two or three hats.

Division 2 is for newspapers with a circulation of from 4,000 to 8,000. Others in the division include The Stillwater News Press, Shawnee News Star, The Ada News, The Daily Ardmoreite, The Claremore Progress, The Duncan Banner, The Bartlesville, Examiner-Enterprise, the Seminole Producer, The Chickasha Express-Star, The Ponca City News and The Ada News.