KGOU and Partners Win National News Award for Tornado Coverage

Coverage of the aftermath of May 2013 tornadoes has earned public radio stations KGOU, KOSU, and public media reporting project StateImpact Oklahoma a prestigious Sigma Delta Chi award from the Society of Professional Journalists. In an announcement, SPJ recognized collaborative work by the three organizations in the Radio Breaking News category, with the award to be formally presented at a reception June 20 in Washington, D.C.

KGOU, KOSU and StateImpact Oklahoma collaborated on coverage of the deadly EF-5 storm which struck Moore, Okla. on May 20, 2013, killing 24, including seven children at an elementary school. Reports produced by all three organizations were shared between both stations and with NPR’s national audience. KGOU and KOSU are NPR member stations, and StateImpact Oklahoma was begun as a pilot project with NPR.

“We are all small news operations, but together, and with the help of other station staff,  we overcame the challenges and were able to provide clear, accurate and timely news to not only our local listeners, but to a national audience,” said Kurt Gwartney, KGOU News Director.

“We’ve fostered collaboration among all the public broadcasters in Oklahoma in launching and maintaining the StateImpact project,” said Karen Holp, General Manager of KGOU and chair of the Oklahoma Public Media Exchange, which oversees StateImpact Oklahoma. “This news event compelled us to take that collaboration further, and to provide the best service to listeners that we could provide,” Holp said.

Previous winners in the Radio Breaking News category include NPR’s 2012 reports on lucrative rental deals made by the U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs, CBS Radio’s coverage of the killing of Osama bin Laden in 2011, and CNN Radio’s coverage of Haiti’s 7.0 magnitude earthquake in 2010.

The Sigma Delta Chi Awards date back to 1932, recognizing the best in professional journalism in categories covering print, radio, television, and online news. The contest is open to any U.S. media outlet.

KGOU broadcasts at 106.3 FM in Norman and surrounding Cleveland County, at 105.7 FM (licensed as KROU) serving Oklahoma County, at 88.1 FM (KWOU) in Woodward, at 91.9 FM (KOUA) in Ada, at 103.1 FM (K276ET) in Seminole, at 97.9 FM (K250AU) in Ada, and at 106.9 FM (K295BL) in Chickasha. The station also offers live audio streaming and digital content at As a public radio station, KGOU receives voluntary donations from listeners and businesses. KGOU is a division of OU Outreach.

StateImpact Oklahoma is a project of the Oklahoma Public Media Exchange, a consortium of public radio and television stations. StateImpact Oklahoma’s reports and analysis are broadcast on lead station KGOU, and also on KOSU, KWGS, and KCCU. Digital and broadcast content are available at



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