THE CITY OF OKLAHOMA – The Oklahoma Society of Professional Journalists honored The Christian Chronicle with two of his top awards: Best Newspaper for Overall Publishing and Best Reporter for Bobby Ross Jr.
In all, the the Chronicle won 13 awards – including several first place plaques for Ross and Erik Tryggestad – at the virtual awards ceremony Friday evening.
The annual competition celebrates the best of Oklahoma journalism.
The the Chronicle, an international journal for the Churches of Christ based in Oklahoma Christian University, competes in Division A against the major newspapers and press services. The COVID-19 pandemic has delayed the results of the competition for work published in 2020.
“A selection of interesting stories, excellent art, good reporting on a wide range of subjects,” the judge said of the Chronic win the best journal entry.
In the “Best of the Best” category for reporting, Ross was recognized for five stories he wrote for the The Chronicle, The associated press and The Oklahoman.
His portfolio included covering the protests and prayers after the death of George Floyd, reporting on Roy and Jeanie Willmon forgiving their daughter’s killers and reporting on the scene of deadly tornadoes.
For AP, Ross recounted how a prayer service brought hope to a troubled nation after the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995. And for Oklahoman, he caught up the mother of a bomb victim, Deniece Bell-Pitner, whom he had interviewed for the first time 25 years earlier.
“The breadth of Bobby Ross’ reporting and his ability to tell stories and connect with a reader puts his entries above it,” the judge said. Reconnecting with Deniece Bell is a tutorial on how to do journalism – from how he learned history to following up years later. The Willmon Family History is another example of how to relate and write. I had to judge this category; I wanted to read Ross’s stories.
The Chronic other winners (plus Ross’s awards for AP and Oklahoman):
First of all: ‘African Shark Tank’, by Erik Tryggestad. Judge: “A fascinating and light look at a college in Ghana that offers unique training and opportunities for students. The skillfully narrated play weaves personal anecdotes with an informative narrative that holds readers’ interest throughout.
Third: The Bible in 3D, by Erik Tryggestad
Science-Technology-Health and environmental reports
First of all: A long solitary confinement, by Erik Tryggestad. Judge: “The captivating writing of the main article and the compelling human stories made me want to keep reading. “
First of all: Betting on black churches, by Erik Tryggestad. Judge: “Good exploration of the past and present of discrimination in the banking system, and how it spawned nonprofit lenders who aim to help. Bonus points for presenting concrete figures and unraveling concepts that are difficult to understand.
First of all: The Christian Response to the Murder of George Floyd, by Bobby Ross Jr. and Cheryl Mann Bacon. Judge: “This multi-part series offers a skillful examination through a religious lens of outrage, anger and calls for justice in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death. The diversity of voices, captured in a concise manner, helps to paint a comprehensive and empowering portrait of past challenges with racial injustice and systemic racism and challenges yet to come. “
Second: Little Rock Church Fire Coverage, by Erik Tryggestad
First of all: “The world does not stop”: his 15 month old daughter died in the bombing but she survived, by Bobby Ross Jr. (for Oklahoman). Judge: “A very touching piece. “
Second: As Christians, Let’s End “Corona Culture”, by Laura Akins
Editorial / Commentary
First of all: Christians Respond to Minister’s Claim of “Crocodile Tears” and “Bogus Outrage” over George Floyd’s Death, by Bobby Ross Jr. Judge: “An excellent text and a service to the community. “
Second: Forgive Carla’s Killers, by Bobby Ross Jr.
Third: 25 years ago a prayer service gave hope to a shaken America, by Bobby Ross Jr. (for AP)
Entertainment / Arts / Recreation
Second: Lauren Akins values faith, family over fame, by Laura Akins
Second: At 84, retired major league member Lindy McDaniel is still Bobby Ross Jr.’s Pitching for the Master.
Filed Under: Best Newspaper Bobby Ross Jr Christian Journalism Erik Tryggestad International Journalism Awards National News Oklahoma Society of Professional Journalists Partners Top Stories