Osage News wins Best Newspaper from Society of Professional Journalists OK chapter

The Osage News staff, from left: Benny Polacca, Cody Hammer and Shannon Shaw Duty. Not pictured is Sherry Stinson and Ruby Hansen Murray. Osage News

The Osage News received 11 awards from the Oklahoma Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists for its 2020 coverage.

The awards were virtually announced on Oct. 29 due to rising COVID numbers worsened by the Delta Variant. The awards banquet was originally scheduled Oct. 9 as an in-person event to be held at the Apache Casino Hotel in Lawton.

The Osage News competes every year in the Newspaper B division of OKSPJ which includes newspapers with a distribution of under 25,000 in the state of Oklahoma. Judging this year’s contests were the SPJ pro chapters from East Tennessee and San Diego. This is the fourth year in a row the Osage News has won the top award in its division.

“This recognition is very humbling. Our team works hard, we work together, and we believe in what we do,” said Shannon Shaw Duty, Editor. “We have many new initiatives we’re working on for next year. It’s an exciting time for us.”

The News team includes Senior Reporter Benny Polacca (Hopi/Pima/Tohono O’odham/Havasupai), Photographer Cody Hammer (Cherokee/Creek), Layout & Designer Sherry Stinson, Columnist Ruby Hansen Murray (Osage), former reporter Lenzy Krehbiel-Burton (Cherokee), who now covers education for the Tulsa World.

The East Tennessee and San Diego Pro Chapters of SPJ judged the 2021 contest entries.

“The Osage News fits an impressive number of meaty stories into its two-dozen pages,” said the comments for Best Newspaper. “This is public-service journalism at its finest and an outstanding example of the importance of local reporting.”

The following is the list of awards the News received from OKSPJ:

Election Reporting: 2nd place, Shannon Shaw Duty
“Candidates disclose employment, income, land and business ownership”

Spot News: 3rd Place, Shannon Shaw Duty
“Osage Nation lays off 45 workers due to low revenue stream”

Diversity Coverage: 2nd Place, Osage News
“Osages participate in Black Lives Matter movement at Trump Campaign Rally”

Education Reporting: 1st Place, Lenzy Krehbiel-Burton
“Public outcry as Tulsa Public Schools considers reducing Indian Education footprint”

Education Reporting: 3rd Place, Shannon Shaw Duty
“Osage Nation to close four Head Start facilities”

Science, Technology, Health and Environmental Reporting: 3rd Place, Shannon Shaw Duty
“Health Care Warriors push forward during the global pandemic”

Sports Feature: 2nd Place, Shannon Shaw Duty
“Pawhuska Hall of Fame inductees recount when Pawhuska was a basketball powerhouse”

Story/Photo Essay: 1st Place, Cody Hammer
“Eddy Red Eagle Jr. blesses the Wahzhazhe Health Center and staff during a Cedar Ceremony on April 15, 2020.”

Story/Photo Essay: 2nd Place, Cody Hammer
“Veterans Day 2020. The American Legion Post 198 visited Pawhuska Public Schools and three area cemeteries to honor U.S. Veterans”

Feature Page Layout and Design: 2nd Place, Sherry Stinson
“Osages participate in Black Lives movement at Trump Campaign Rally”

Best Newspaper: 1st Place, Osage News