Woodward, Okla. —
The Woodward News was recognized for its coverage of the April 15, 2012 Woodward tornado during Saturday's Associated Press-Oklahoma News Executives (AP-ONE) awards banquet in Norman.
Assistant editor Rowynn Ricks and managing editor Johnny McMahan received the sweepstakes award in Division C for their first day coverage of the tornado that killed 6 people, destroyed or damaged over 200 homes and businesses and caused millions of dollars in losses. The News produced and distributed free a 4-page special edition on the tornado on Monday, April 16 - a day the paper normally does not publish.
They also won first in spot news for the tornado coverage.
"This shows not only a dedication to the community, but to the business of getting the news in the public's hands as quickly as possible. Excellent reporting, particularly while in the middle of a disaster," was the comment from the contest judge.
The News shared the sweepstakes honor with Journal Record reporters M. Scott Carter and Bob Sands, recognized for an investigate report on abuse and neglect at the state's veteran centers.
The sweepstakes award is the top writing honor given out by the AP-ONE. This was the fifth time in its history that the Woodward News has won the AP-ONE sweepstakes.
Ricks received second in spot news for her story on former Woodward police detective Mike Morton facing numerous felony charges.
"Very well reported with multiple sources and turned around immediately for the next day's newspaper," was the judge's comment.
Ricks and former reporter Dave Matthews were awarded second place in business spot news reporting for stories on the Siemens grand opening.
"This was a well reported event of importance to the entire community," was the comment from the judge.
In addition to the writing awards, staff members also received recognition for top photographs.
McMahan won first place in sports photos for a bronc riding picture at the 2012 Woodward Elks Rodeo. Ricks was second in spot news for an accident photo, second in feature for a picture of 2 kids rolling up a giant snowball and second in photo package for her shots of the equipment building fire at Boiling Springs Golf Course.