This post is a copy of my comments on accepting the inaugural presentation of the Ray Lokey Memorial Award for Excellence in Reporting, presented Saturday evening. The comments were read by my editor in my absence. They speak, briefly, to why it’s important we all continue to invest in journalism that follows facts, and not partisan agenda, in crafting the news.
I’d like to thank the Oklahoma Press Association and the Oklahoma Newspaper Foundation for considering my work for the Ray Lokey Memorial Award for Excellence in Reporting, and apologize for the necessity of not being present at this evening’s ceremony. I am honored to receive the inaugural presentation of this award, especially given Ray Lokey’s years of dedicated service and contributions to community reporting.
I also would like to briefly thank all of you, and all who could not be present tonight, for your dedication and perseverance in upholding the ideals of our profession. I first came to journalism 11 years ago, after as many years of service in the Navy. It was journalism’s role in upholding and defending our Constitution that drew me in after my military service came to an end. Today, with the press under attack from numerous quarters — not least of all, our own government — I believe the role we all play may be more important to the health and defense of our nation’s ideals than any service I rendered in the military.
We all have a duty not only to inform, but to defend the fundamental principle that truth is neither defined by political or social expedience, nor is it owned exclusively by any party or class. Thank you all again for your work to uphold that principle, and for judging my work worthy of the task before us.