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The Oklahoma Eagle Wins Best Page Design Award In Great Plains Journalism Contest
John Neal, All-Black Towns, Black Towns, Oklahoma Black Towns, Historic Black Towns, Gary Lee, M. David Goodwin, James Goodwin, Ross Johnson, Sam Levrault, Kimberly Marsh, African American News, Black News, African American Newspaper, Black Owned Newspaper, The Oklahoma Eagle, The Eagle, Black Wall Street, Tulsa Race Massacre, 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre
John Neal, All-Black Towns, Black Towns, Oklahoma Black Towns, Historic Black Towns, Gary Lee, M. David Goodwin, James Goodwin, Ross Johnson, Sam Levrault, Kimberly Marsh, African American News, Black News, African American Newspaper, Black Owned Newspaper, The Oklahoma Eagle, The Eagle, Black Wall Street, Tulsa Race Massacre, 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre

The Oklahoma Eagle Wins Best Page Design Award In Great Plains Journalism Contest

Gary Lee, David Goodwin, Ross Johnson, Samantha Levrault, Sam Levrault, African American News, Black News, African American Media, Black Media, Black Owned Media, Tulsa, The Oklahoma Eagle, The Eagle, Black Wall Street

TULSA – The Oklahoma Eagle, the state’s oldest Black-owned media company and the last privately-owned business that owns property and continues to operate in Tulsa’s famed Historic Greenwood District, won Best Page Design in the Great Plains Journalism Awards competition on May 5. 

Principal executive Ross Johnson, and Samantha Levrault, The Eagle’s production director, received the Great Plains top award, Best Page Design. 

The Eagle’s first-time entry and honor in the Design category was one of many earned by the newspaper. It was also named a finalist in three other categories, Best Newspaper of the Year, Best Writer of the Year and Best Review Columnist of the Year. 

The 14th annual competition, sponsored by Tulsa Press Club, honors newspaper, magazine, television and web journalism from eight states: Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma and South Dakota. Entries were judged by award-winning professional journalists from across the country. Winners and finalists were announced at a luncheon, hosted by The Mayo Hotel, Tulsa, Oklahoma.  

The Eagle competed with both daily and weekly newspapers in the competition. The newspaper narrowly missed out on begin named Newspaper of the Year, which went to the Omaha World-Herald. 

“We are humbled by the recognition our staff received for the important journalism they accomplished in 2022,” said owner and publisher James O. Goodwin. “We know our audience appreciates our role. To be recognized by your peers reinforces that we are producing quality and impactful journalism that continues to make a difference.,” he added. 

(Top) GARY LEE, Great Plains Journalism Awards Finalist, Writer of the year. (Bottom Left) JOHN NEAL, Great Plains Journalism Awards Finalist, Review Writer. (Bottom Right) M. DAVID GOODWIN, GARY LEE, ROSS JOHNSON, SAMANTHA LEVRAULT, KIMBERLY MARSH, BASIL CHILDERS, CORY YOUNG AND JOHN NEAL, Great Plains Journalism Awards Finalist, Newspaper of the year.

Goodwin, a 2022 Great Plains Journalism Hall of Fame inductee, credited The Eagle’s leadership with assembling a team journalists, creatives, production and support talent to strengthen the media company’s print legacy and digital growth. 

Gary Lee, a native Tulsan, former Washington Post bureau chief, veteran journalist and author, has served as The Eagle’s managing editor since 2021, offering, “These awards are a tribute to the consistently brilliant work of our team at the Eagle.” 

M. David Goodwin, also a Tulsa son, fourth-generation journalist, and long-serving national news media editor, has guided The Eagle’s journalists along a path that now produces narratives that engender such praise and recognition by state and regional organizations. 

Goodwin highlighted Ross Johnson’s roles and contributions, The Eagle’s principal executive and creative director who has led the print and digital brand direction since 2021. Great Plains judges echoed Goodwin’s sentiments, sharing, “The consistency in design and clean organization of this entry stood out,” and “The combination of smart art direction and bold display on each page demonstrates what we should be endorsing, industry-wide, as visual journalists.” 

Lee earned a position of finalist for Writer of the Year. His work, a year-long series of three investigative projects produced, explored and revealed the mental health challenges faced by Tulsa’s Black community; how the COVID-19 pandemic and remote learning negatively impacted the majority of Black and Brown children in Tulsa Public Schools; and the rich narratives of the Historic Greenwood District’s residents, entrepreneurs, faithful, creative, civic engaged and families.  

“Gary Lee broke stories that not only were critical to his core Black readership, but the community as a whole,” the judges wrote. 

Nicholas Phillips of St. Louis Magazine was named Writer of the Year. 

Contributing writer John Neal earned a position of finalist for Review Columnist of the Year for his book reviews that critiqued the works of Black and white authors who published in 2022. “(John Neal had a) beautiful way of putting the book reviews together,” the judges wrote. “The writing is balanced and relevant.” Evan Jarvis of the Oklahoma Gazette won the award. 

The Eagle, which marked 2022 as its centennial anniversary, was cited as one of the region’s top newspapers. “Really impressive, especially for a weekly paper,” the judges noted. “Great variety of stories, including the series on mental health and the spotlight on Black caterers. The use of illustration over photography on display pages is absolutely striking, a very inspired choice. Also, excellent use of student journalists with Etan Thomas story.” 

The Tulsa World Magazine was named Great Plains Magazine of the Year 

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette won Best Website in the Great Plains Awards journalism contest. 

Other winners were: 

  • Great Plains Newspaper Photographer of the Year: Matt Gade, Rapid City Journal 
  • Great Plains Magazine Writer of the Year: Nicholas Phillips, St. Louis Magazine 
  • Great Plains Magazine Photographer of the Year: Shane Bevel, who entered pieces from a variety of regional publications. 

Hall Of Fame Honorees 

Five longtime journalists were inducted into the Great Plains Journalism Hall of Fame. 

This year’s class includes: 

  • Clytie Bunyan, Managing Editor for Diversity & Inclusion, Community Engagement & Opinion at The Oklahoman 
  • Becky Dixon, Owner and President of AyerPlay and former host of ABC’s “Wide World of Sports” 
  • Ed Kelley, Dean of the Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Oklahoma 
  • Robert E. Lorton Jr., former owner and publisher of the Tulsa World 
  • Robert E. Lorton III, founder and publisher of the Frontier and former publisher of the Tulsa World 

A complete list of honorees can be found at tulsapressclub.org

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette won Best Website in the Great Plains Awards journalism contest Friday. 

See Also
Nex Benedict, Tulsa Public Schools, All-Black Towns, Black Towns, Oklahoma Black Towns, Historic Black Towns, Gary Lee, M. David Goodwin, James Goodwin, Ross Johnson, Sam Levrault, Kimberly Marsh, John Neal, African American News, Black News, African American Newspaper, Black Owned Newspaper, The Oklahoma Eagle, The Eagle, Black Wall Street, Tulsa Race Massacre, 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre

The Omaha World-Herald staff took home Great Plains Best Newspaper of the Year honors, and Tulsa World Magazine was named Great Plains Magazine of the Year. 

Two Democrat-Gazette staff members picked up individual awards. Columnist Philip Martin won the Entertainment Feature with “Jerry Lee Lewis” and photographer Thomas Metthe won General News Photography with “Davis Trial.” 

Top individual awards went to: 

  • Great Plains Writer of the Year: Jesse Bogan, St. Louis Post-Dispatch 
  • Great Plains Newspaper Photographer of the Year: Matt Gade, Rapid City Journal 
  • Great Plains Magazine Writer of the Year: Nicholas Phillips, St. Louis Magazine 
  • Great Plains Magazine Photographer of the Year: Shane Bevel, who entered pieces from a variety of regional publications. 

A complete list of honorees can be found at tulsapressclub.org


Lend us a hand in 2023 

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you move on, I was hoping you would consider taking the step of supporting The Oklahoma Eagle’s journalism.  

From the various media outlets in our market, to a small number of billionaire owners and private equity firms have a powerful hold on so much of the information that reaches the public about what’s happening in the world. The Eagle stives to be different. We have no billionaire owner or shareholders to consider. Our journalism is produced to serve the public interest – not profit motives. 

And we avoid the trap that befalls much U.S. media – the tendency, born of a desire to please all sides, to engage in false equivalence in the name of neutrality. While fairness guides everything we do, we know there is a right and a wrong position in the fight against racism and injustices. When we report on issues like the mental health crisis in the Black community, the ongoing issues with public education and the political discord and troubling legislation being enacted at the Oklahoma statehouse, we’re not afraid either to name or hold those individuals responsible for problems that work against improving the lives of Black people.  

Around this nation, our readers can access the Eagle’s paywall-free journalism. Our readers keep us independent, beholden to no outside influence and accessible to everyone – whether they can afford to pay for news, or not. 

If you can, please consider supporting the Eagle today. Thank you. 

James O. Goodwin, publisher 

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