The Great Plains Journalism Awards honor the best work from newspapers and magazines across the region from the past calendar year with a banquet and conference at the Mayo Hotel in downtown Tulsa.
May 15: Come try some of Tulsa’s best barbecue and listen to Texas Monthly Barbecue Editor Daniel Vaughan talk about cookbooks, ‘cue and having one of the best jobs around. Also meet the other speakers and judges.
May 16: Great Plains Journalism Awards presentation and professional development seminar with Dallas Morning News photographer Tom Fox and CNN columnist and former Oklahoman John Sutter.
$350 media tables
$1,000 sponsor tables
Who judged your entries in this year’s contest? Here are bios of our distinguished judges:
John D. Sutter
John D. Sutter is a columnist at CNN Digital and creator of the network’s Change the List project, which aims to bring attention to bottom-of-the-list places. His work focuses on social justice and often involves readers in the storytelling process. Sutter’s project on slavery in Mauritania won the Livingston Award and was nominated for a documentary Emmy. He grew up in Oklahoma and returned to the state last year to walk the full 17-mile path of the deadly tornado in Moore.
Daniel Vaughn holds one of the coolest jobs in American journalism. He is the full-time barbecue editor at Texas Monthly magazine. It’s not something he aspired to do while growing up in a small town in Ohio. He refined his palette on the finer delicacies of dining while exploring the Big Easy and earning a degree in architecture at Tulane University. He didn’t step foot into Texas until 1998, but quickly discovered that barbecue has a whole new meaning in the Lone Star State. His newfound epicurean hobby begat a blog in 2008, Full Custom Gospel BBQ. The popularity of his online column led him to travel more than 10,000 miles to savor the flavors at 186 Texas restaurants billing barbecue as their mainstay. That led him to write a book, “The Prophets of Smoked Meat: A Journey Through Texas Barbecue” in 2013. He said goodbye to his job at a Dallas architectural firm and hello to Texas Monthly magazine, which made his title official in March 2013. Vaughn continues to live in Dallas with his wife and children.
Tom Fox is a Pulitzer Prize-winning staff photographer for The Dallas Morning News. He has been a photojournalist for almost 25 years. The Minnesota native was part of a small team of photographers at The Dallas Morning News who won the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Photography for coverage of Hurricane Katrina. Fox also has been honored by the Texas Associated Press Managing Editors as the Photojournalist of the Year and Star Photographer of the Year by the Texas Headliner’s Foundation. Over the years, he has received accolades from POYi, NPPA’s Best of Photojournalism and National Headliners Foundation. Fox holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas – Arlington. He previously worked as a staff photographer for the Corpus Christi Caller-Times and photo editor/chief photographer for The Arlington Morning News. Fox is married to a writer, and they have a daughter.
Longtime journalist Earl Swift is a residential fellow of the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities at the University of Virginia. His fifth book, “Auto Biography, where he traced a 1957 Chevy back through all 13 of its owners and uses this odd fraternity as the basis of a story of modern America, will be released by HarperCollins on May 6.
Ryan Gabrielson is a reporter at ProPublica covering the U.S. criminal justice system. He previously worked at The Center for Investigative Reporting, where his reporting on violent crimes at California’s institutions for the developmentally disabled won a George Polk Award. Gabrielson won the Pulitzer Prize for Local Reporting with partner Paul Giblin in 2009 while at the East Valley Tribune.
Michael Kruse is a staff writer on the enterprise team at the Tampa Bay Times. He is the winner of the Paul Hansell Award for Distinguished Achievement in Florida Journalism and the American Society of News Editors’ distinguished nondeadline writing award.
Aileen Gallagher is an assistant professor of magazine journalism at Syracuse University and teaches classes in reporting, editing and multimedia storytelling. She was previously a senior editor at NYMag.com and shared several National Magazine Awards with her colleagues. Her writing has appeared in New York, Slate, and Bust, among other publications.
Charles Apple is Focus page editor of the Orange County Register. A longtime graphics reporter, designer, editor and blogger, he’s worked for the Chicago Tribune, the Des Moines Register and the Virginian-Pilot and worked internationally as a teacher and news design consultant. He spends way too much time online.
Michael Miller is the features editor of the Los Angeles Times’ Orange County community papers and a contributor to the Times’ entertainment section. He serves as a board member of the Orange County Press Club and is the author of two books of poetry.
Derek Simmons is the AME/Visuals at the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Previously, Derek worked at the Los Angeles Times, and during his tenure the Times was the top winner every year at the SND’s international Best of Newspaper Design Creative Competition. He and his wife, Sheri, have two sons, Jackson and Teegan. Derek is a proud part owner of the Packers and brought back from SoCal a love for all things Dodgers.
As the Senior Multimedia Producer/Editor for the StarTribune, Jenni Pinkley is responsible for overseeing video production from spot news and programming to documentary video that accompanies projects. Jenni works with visual journalists and reporters to find the strongest multimedia targets and strategize about the best approach. The Star Tribune video department has received several industry awards including the National Edward R. Murrow and regional Emmys over the past four years.
Rich Boudet is Sunday Sports Editor at The Seattle Times, where he has worked for the past eight years. Boudet has won multiple SND awards and was twice named the Pacific Northwest’s top newspaper designer by SPJ. He was the founder and co-author of the popular industry blog SportsDesigner.com, which continues today on social media.
Michael and Larissa Milne
In 2011, Philadelphia natives and Society of American Travel Writers members Michael Milne and his wife, Larissa, chucked it all to travel the world with a Rocky statue. They’ve been on the road ever since, writing for the Philadelphia Inquirer, Huffington Post and others as well as their award-winning travel blog at www.ChangesInLongitude.com.