You might recall that 2020 was a wild year. For journalists, trying to keep up with the pandemic, the election cycle and other stressful news items often felt like a frantic and disorienting exercise in futility.
Now that the dust is settling, however, it’s good to look back and see that some important and worthwhile coverage came out of the chaos.
Here at NonDoc, we were reminded of that fact over the weekend when we learned our team had won a total of 10 awards from the Society of Professional Journalists for work published in Oklahoma in 2020. Given that we have fewer than 10 full-time staff members, the recognition was particularly gratifying.
Most notably, NonDoc was awarded the prize for Best Website for the third time, having previously won first place for our 2017 and 2018 efforts. SPJ contests feature professional journalists from one state judging submissions for another state. In the Best Website category, judges offered their opinion of our publication: “Extremely robust site from a small staff. Great government resource materials. Easy to use website. Oklahomans are well-served by NonDoc.com.”
Our editor in chief, Tres Savage, won the award for Best Community Engagement for his Monday Minute newsletter, which previews and covers legislative happenings in Oklahoma. The SPJ judges called it “a really well-done newsletter that treats the emails as content not promotion.”
If nothing else, the prize is a well-deserved recognition of the many Sunday afternoons he has spent putting the newsletter together when the Legislature is in session. You can see what all the fuss is about by signing up for the Monday Minute here.
Our other first-place awards included the prize for Best Online Writing, which went to yours truly for a story about the rise and fall of Chesapeake Energy. (Hopefully this makes up for the fact that I filed that story weeks later than promised.)
Matt Patterson won first place in Online Election Reporting for his coverage of debates NonDoc hosted in partnership with News 9 during last year’s election season. As the judges noted, “If Oklahoma voters wanted to wade into the deep end of the pool on election issues, NonDoc had the in-depth coverage.”
NonDoc board member and resident photographer Michael Duncan won the top prize in Breaking or Spot News Photography for his image, featured above, of a police officer talking with Black Lives Matter protesters. (His other photos of last year’s protests also won third place for Best Online Slideshow, and they are also worth checking out.)
A full list of the awards given to NonDoc for our 2020 work appears below, and you can watch this year’s virtual ceremony and see a full list of all the winners at the SPJ website.
As always, we are so grateful to our readers, donors and sponsors, without whom we very literally couldn’t do the work we do. Consider becoming a NonDoc donor today to sustain our work and help our team grow.
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Full list of NonDoc’s 2021 SPJ awards
- First place: Andrea DenHoed for ‘Gigantic impact’: Chesapeake Energy’s complex legacy
- Second place: Tres Savage for During exit, Boren ensured top OU
vice presidents got ‘retention incentive’ payments
Breaking News Coverage
- Second place: Tres Savage for ‘Hostile environment’: Wetumka mayor
thwarted in attempt to abolish police department
Online Election Reporting
- First place: Matt Patterson for 2020 Oklahoma County debates
Online Special Report/Enterprise
- Second place: Michael Duncan for the trial of Judge Kendra Coleman
Online Community Engagement
- First place: Tres Savage for the Monday Minute newsletter
Online General Photography
- Second place: Michael Duncan for Pastor Donald Cherry leads the Poteau March for Justice crowd in a moment of silence
Online Breaking News or Spot Photography
- First place: Michael Duncan for An Oklahoma City police officer discusses search and seizure issues with Black Lives Matter protesters
- First place: NonDoc.com