McGuigan Wins Eight Journalism Awards

The Society of Professional Journalists, Oklahoma chapter, presented Patrick B. McGuigan, editor of CapitolBeatOK, eight awards at the group’s annual banquet. McGuigan, long-time contributor to Tulsa Today, landed one first place award, five second place designations  and two third place honors.

McGuigan’s first place came in education reporting, for his story focused on educational improvements at Northwest Classen High School in MidTown Oklahoma City.

His second place honors came in the categories of editorial/commentary, entertainment feature, leisure writing and arts criticism, and diversity news. The editorial/commentary award came for his essay, “What do good newspaper reporters do?” That article was part of an occasional series on challenges facing the profession of journalism in the modern age.

McGuigan also took two third place awards, one in diversity reporting and one in photography. Of McGuigan’s winning diversity stories, one focused on the Asian community in Oklahoma City, while the other was a detailed report on the investiture of Judge Vicki Miles LaGrange, a black woman, as chief judge for the western district of Oklahoma.

McGuigan commented, “The Society of Professional Journalists, of which I’ve been a proud member for 20 years, recently added categories for online reporting. Next year, our work at CapitolBeatOK will be entered in one or more of those competitions.” He continued, “I’m an ‘ink-stained wretch’  — a newspaper man — who’s learning to be a ‘pixel-stained wretch’ in the new world of online journalism.”

McGuigan’s news website can be accessed at He operates CapitolBeatOK as an independent news and information source under contract with the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, a “think tank” in Oklahoma City.  Recent CapitolBeatOK news stories have focused on the state’s ongoing budget crunch, education reform, health care, and other state government issues.

McGuigan’s winning stories for 2008-09 appeared in The City Sentinel, where he was managing editor until last fall, when he became editor of CapitolBeatOK.  McGuigan remains a senior editor for the Oklahoma City weekly newspaper ( and a contributing editor for Tulsa Today (  Both The City Sentinel and Tulsa Today regularly use McGuigan’s stories filed from the state Capitol in Oklahoma City.  

McGuigan’s prior journalism honors include multiple awards from the Society of Professional Journalists (dating from the early 1990s), two first place writing honors from the Associated Press/Oklahoma News Editors, and second place in the Amy Awards, a national competition. His journalism has also been honored by the Oklahoma Rifle Association, Oklahoma Professional Educators and other organizations.

At the dinner held February 20, special awards for lifetime achievement went to Gary England of News9 and retired Capitol reporter John Greiner of The Oklahoman. Dr. Philip Patterson, professor of mass communications at Oklahoma Christian University, was named journalism teacher of the year.

Additionally, McGuigan’s colleague at The City Sentinel, Robin Dorner-Townsend, won a first place award for diversity reporting, and a second place for photography.