The Gayly wins series of journalism awards, meets legendary Carl Bernstein

The Gayly team award winners (l to r) Sara Ritsch, Taylor Brunwald, Amanda Kerri, Allison Blaylock & Ken Townsend with Carl Bernstein (front). Award winners not pictured, Robin Dorner & Rob Howard.

Staff Report

On Saturday, April 30, six journalists for The Gayly won seven awards for their work at the SPJ Awards, hosted by the Society of Professional Journalists – Oklahoma Professional Chapter.

Carl Bernstein, one of two esteemed journalists who broke open the Watergate scandal, was keynote speaker for the ceremony. The leading topic of his discussion: “What is news?” In his words, journalists are to express “the best obtainable version of the truth.” That is what he did the day he finished his article exposing President Richard Nixon and Attorney General John Mitchell for their ‘dirty tricks’ with the Democratic National Committee in 1973.

During Bernstein’s speech, he dropped his notes. He dropped his entire speech, actually; accompanied by laughter from both him and the audience, as he tried to piece it together with un-numbered pages. He was greatly successful.

Bernstein held high hopes for The Gayly. After his shuffled speech, he came to The Gayly table to sit amongst our writers, friends and significant others.

“I didn’t know there was an LGBT paper based in Oklahoma,” he said. The table of award-winners were speechless, but mustered up the appropriate response.

“We distribute to five states, actually. We are the only LGBT news source in this region.”

Bernstein was both enthralled and inquisitive, discussing his son’s role in transgender rights, and then going on to explain his family dynamic with the table. The Gayly staff was left with the overwhelming impression that we had just made a friend.

Ken Townsend, Chief Financial Advisor, won first place under ‘Leisure Writing’ for his story on Colorado. Robin Dorner, Editor in Chief, won first place for ‘Business Reporting’ in a discussion of an Oklahoma City Haunted House restaurant. Sara Ritsch, Staff Writer, won second place in ‘Entertainment’ for her article on Bianca Del Rio.

Rob Howard, Political Columnist, won second place for ‘Personal Column’ and third place for ‘Editorial/Commentary’. Taylor Brunwald, Music Columnist, won second place under ‘Arts Criticism’. Amanda Kerri, Transgender Columnist, won second place for ‘Diversity Coverage’.

All in all, we celebrated a great win: A surprise friendship with an infamous writer and a series of well-deserved accolades for our work.

Thank you, dear readers, for your faithfulness to The Gayly. We could not have achieved these successes without each of you.

The Gayly – June 8, 2016 @ 3:35 p.m.