Christian Chronicle earns Best in Class honor from Evangelical Press Association
The Evangelical Press Association has honored The Christian Chronicle as…
OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma Society of Professional Journalists honored The Christian Chronicle with two of its top awards: best newspaper for the overall publication and best reporter for Bobby Ross Jr.
The annual contest celebrates the best of Oklahoma journalism.
The Chronicle, an international newspaper for Churches of Christ based at Oklahoma Christian University, competes in Division A against large newspapers and wire services. The COVID-19 pandemic delayed results of the contest for work published during 2020.
“Interesting story selection, excellent art, good reporting on a diverse range of subjects,” the judge said of the Chronicle’s winning best newspaper entry.
In the “Best of the Best” category for reporting, Ross was recognized for five stories he wrote for the Chronicle, The Associated Press and The Oklahoman.
His portfolio included coverage of protests and prayers after George Floyd’s death, a feature on Roy and Jeanie Willmon forgiving their daughter’s killers and reporting from the scene of deadly tornadoes.
For AP, Ross recounted how a prayer service brought hope to a shaken nation after the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. And for The Oklahoman, he caught up with a bombing victim’s mother, Deniece Bell-Pitner, whom he first interviewed 25 years earlier.
“The breadth of Bobby Ross’ reporting and ability to tell stories and connect with a reader put his entries over the top,” the judge said. “The reconnection with Deniece Bell is a tutorial in how to do journalism — from the way he got the story to the follow-up years later. The story of the Willmon family is another example of how to report and write. I had to judge this category; I wanted to read Ross’ stories.”
The Chronicle’s other winners (plus Ross’ awards for AP and The Oklahoman):
First: African ‘Shark Tank,’ by Erik Tryggestad. Judge: “A fascinating and light-hearted look at a college in Ghana that provides unique training and opportunities to students. The piece, skillfully told, weaves personal anecdotes with an informative narrative that holds the readers’ interest throughout.”
Third: The Bible in 3D, by Erik Tryggestad
First: A long, lonely lockdown, by Erik Tryggestad. Judge: “The lead article’s compelling writing and gripping human narratives made me want to keep reading.”
First: Banking on Black churches, by Erik Tryggestad. Judge: “Good exploration of the past and present of discrimination in the banking system, and how this gave rise to nonprofit lenders that aim to help. Bonus points for presenting concrete numbers and unraveling tough-to-understand concepts.”
First: The Christian response to the killing of George Floyd, by Bobby Ross Jr. and Cheryl Mann Bacon. Judge: “This multi-part series offers a deft examination through a religious lens of the outrage, anger and calls for justice in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd. The diversity of voices, concisely captured, allows for a well-rounded and thought-provoking portrait of the past challenges with racial injustice and systemic racism and the challenges still ahead.”
Second: Coverage of Little Rock church firebombing, by Erik Tryggestad
First: ‘The world doesn’t stop’: Her 15-month-old daughter died in the bombing but she lived on, by Bobby Ross Jr. (for The Oklahoman). Judge: “A very touching piece.”
First: Christians react to minister’s claim of ‘crocodile tears’ and ‘phony outrage’ over George Floyd’s death, by Bobby Ross Jr. Judge: “A great piece of writing and a service to the community.”
Second: Forgiving 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)
Second: Lauren Akins values faith, family over fame, by Laura Akins
Second: At 84, retired major-leaguer Lindy McDaniel still ‘Pitching for the Master,’ by Bobby Ross Jr.
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