The Oklahoman is the largest daily newspaper in Oklahoma and is the only regional daily that covers the Greater Oklahoma City area. The Alliance for Audited Media (formerly Audit Bureau Circulation) lists it as the 59th largest U.S. newspaper in circulation.The Oklahoman, published by the Oklahoma Publishing Company (OPUBCO), circulation declined in the 5 years from 2007 to 2012.
The newspaper was founded in 1889 by Sam Small and taken over in 1903 by Edward K. Gaylord. Gaylord would run the paper for 71 years. Upon his death, the paper was turned over to his son and later to his granddaughter. It was announced on September 15, 2011 that all Oklahoma Publishing Company (OPUBCO) assets, including The Oklahoman, would be sold to Denver based businessman Philip Anschutz and his Anschutz Corporation. The sale of OPUBCO to Philip Anschutz closed in October 2011, and the Oklahoma Publishing Company remained independent in operation. Other Anschutz owned newspapers include The Gazette (Colorado Springs) and The Washington Examiner.
The Oklahoma Publishing Company (OPUBCO) was headquartered at NW 4 and Broadway in downtown Oklahoma City until 1991, when it moved to a 12 story tower at Broadway Extension and Britton Road in the northern part of the city. That building was sold to American Fidelity in 2012. Office space was then leased back to OPUBCO until plans were finalized for the company to move its headquarters. After a 23-year absence, The Oklahoman staff (and most OPUBCO employees) moved back to downtown Oklahoma City in early 2015. The new OPUBCO offices are located at 100 W. Main in the existing Century Center office building (connected to the Sheraton Hotel) in downtown Oklahoma City. The existing production facility on Broadway Extension and Britton Road did not move at the beginning of the new ownership, all production staff was scheduled for layoff and plant closing plans were announced in spring 2016.
Rendering of the renovated Century Center - the future home of the Oklahoma Publishing Co. This view is from Sheridan Avenue and Robinson Avenue.(photo courtesy Butzer Gardner)
Rendering of the renovated Century Center - the future home of the Oklahoma Publishing Co. This view is from Robinson Avenue and Main.(photo courtesy Butzer Gardner)
Founded in 1889 in Oklahoma City by Sam Small, The Daily Oklahoman was taken over in 1903 by The Oklahoma Publishing Company (OPUBCO), controlled by Edward K. Gaylord, also known as E. K. Gaylord. In 1916, OPUBCO purchased the failing Oklahoma Times and operated it as an evening newspaper for the next 68 years. E. K. Gaylord died at the age of 101, having controlled the newspaper for the previous 71 years. Management of the newspaper passed to his son, Edward L. Gaylord, who managed the newspaper from 1974 to 2003. Christy Gaylord Everest, daughter of Edward L. Gaylord and granddaughter of E. K. Gaylord, was the company's chairwoman and CEO until 2011. Christy Everest was assisted by her sister Louise Gaylord Bennett until the sale of the company in 2011 to Philip Anschutz. The current CEO of OPUBCO is Gary Pierson. Gary served as COO for OPUBCO under Christy Everest.
In 1928, E. K. Gaylord bought Oklahoma's first radio station, WKY. More than 20 years later, he signed on Oklahoma's first television station, WKY-TV (now KFOR-TV). The two stations would be the anchors of a broadcasting empire that, at its height, included six television stations and five radio stations. Nearly all of the Gaylord broadcasting interests would be sold off by 1996, though The Oklahoman held onto WKY radio until 2002.
In 1939, Charles George Werner, a rookie political cartoonist at the newspaper, won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial art. The winning cartoon, Nomination for 1938, depicted the Nobel Peace Prize resting on a grave marked Grave of Czecho-Slovakia, 1919-1938. Published on October 6, 1938, the cartoon bit at the recently concluded Munich Agreement, which transferred the Sudetenland (a strategically important part of Czechoslovakia) to Nazi Germany. Another notable cartoonist for the paper was Jim Lange, who worked for the paper for 58 years and produced over 19,000 cartoons.
The last edition of the evening Oklahoma Times was published on Feb. 29, 1984. It was folded into The Daily Oklahoman beginning with the March 1, 1984, issue. A 1998 American Journalism Review survey acknowledged The Oklahoman's positive contributions as a corporate citizen of Oklahoma, but characterized the paper as suffering from understaffing, uninspired content, and political bias. In 1999, the Columbia Journalism Review published an article calling The Oklahoman the "Worst Newspaper in America"; the CJR cited the paper's conformance to the right-wing political views of the Gaylord family, alleged racist hiring practices, and high costs of ads. In more recent years OPUBCO Communications Group has won a number of awards for innovations, newspaper redesign, First Amendment coverage, sports coverage, breaking news and in-depth multimedia projects.
The Oklahoman was formerly available for delivery statewide, but in November 2008 it announced that it was reducing its circulation area to cover approximately two-thirds of the state (Oklahoma City and points west), and that it would no longer be available for delivery in Tulsa, Oklahoma's second-largest city. The change reduced the paper's circulation by about 7,000 homes. In January 2009, The Oklahoman and the Tulsa World announced a content-sharing agreement in which each paper would carry some content created by the other; the papers also said they would "focus on reducing some areas of duplication, such as sending reporters from both The Oklahoman and the World to cover routine news events." In 2010 The Oklahoman introduced the first iPad app for a newspaper/multimedia company of its size in the United States.
2016 announcement of outsourcing, printing plant closing
In 2016, the paper announced that it would lay off 130 employees and shut down its Oklahoma City printing plant. The newspaper will be outsourcing its printing and packaging work to the more modern facility of the Tulsa World.
Drop in circulation
Like most U.S. newspapers, The Oklahoman has seen a decline of 42.3% in daily circulation and 34.8% drop in Sunday circulation from 2007 to the end of 2012. Figures from the Alliance for Audited Media (formerly Audit Bureau Circulation) show that daily subscriptions dropped from 195,399 to 112,733 and Sunday subscriptions dropped from 264,524 to 172,415.
- 2013 Heartland Regional Emmy Award (Commercial - Single Spot): Thunder Coverage Pictures in Motion
- 2013 ADDY (Bronze Award) - SALES PROMOTION: Campus Corner Sponsorship Promotion 
- 2013 ADDY (Bronze Award) - NEWSPAPER: Devon Energy/The Oklahoman School Archive Campaign
- 2013 ADDY (Bronze Award) - NEWSPAPER (Spread or Multiple Page): Devon Tower Promotion
- 2013 ADDY (Silver Award) - TELEVISION: The Oklahoman Thunder Animated Photography
- 2013 ADDY (Silver Award) - DIGITAL ADVERTISING (Websites, Consumer - Products): Braums Ice Cream and Dairy Stores
- 2013 ADDY (Silver Award) - DIGITAL ADVERTISING (Websites, Consumer - Products): Tony's Tree Plantation
- 2012 Nine Telly Awards: The Video Department won two Silver and seven Bronze awards in the annual international contest. Silver is the highest award.
- 2012 BEST OF PHOTOJOURNALISM 2012: Sarah Phipps finished third in Still Photography/Sports Feature.
- 2012 SABEW (Society of American Business Editors and Writers) Best in Business: Bryan Painter, first, for drought series.
- 2012 APSE (Associated Press Sports Editors): Five "Top 10s": Daily Section, Sunday Section, Special Section and Multimedia. Berry Tramel also finished third in Columns (75,001 to 175,000).
- 2012 NABJ (National Association of Black Journalists): Two finalists: Jenni Carlson and Sarah Phipps, for "Raising Barry Sanders," and Yvette Walker, for "Finding a Forever Family."
- 2012 ACES (American Society of Copy Editors): Pat Gilliland, third in Headlines (Newspapers 160,000 to 240,000).
- 2012 PBWA (Pro Basketball Writers Association): Darnell Mayberry, first, for his profile "Where did this guy come from: Now an all-star, Westbrook traveled a long road to the NBA"
- 2012 OWAA (Outdoor Writers Association of America) 2012 Excellence in Craft: Ed Godfrey, second, "Blog Contest-Conservation Category" for his post "What will happen to the lower Illinois."
- 2012 NATIONAL PRESS FOUNDATION: Jaclyn Cosgrove chosen as "Alzheimer's Issues 2012" fellow.
- 2012 ASSOCIATED PRESS MEDIA EDITORS: Finalist, Innovator of the Year (winner will be announced in September) and Honorable Mention, First Amendment, for DHS coverage.
- 2012 GREAT PLAINS: Website of the Year and 45 total awards (12 firsts and 33 finalists).
- 2012 FIRST AMENDMENT AWARDS (Fort Worth SPJ): Nine total awards, including three firsts and six finalists.
- 2012 SPJ MARK OF EXCELLENCE: Adam Kemp
- 2012 NATIONAL PRESS PHOTOGRAPHERS REGION 7: Sarah Phipps, Bryan Terry and Chris Landsberger finished in the Top 10.
- 2012 AP-ONE (Associated Press-Oklahoma News Executives): The Oklahoman/NewsOK.com won four of the five major categories (General Excellence, first, for best newspaper; website, first, for NewsOK.com; Photo Sweepstakes: Chris Landsberger; New Journalist of the Year: Tiffany Gibson). Overall, 18 firsts and 37 total awards.
- 2012 SPJ: Bryan Dean won the First Amendment Award, and the NIC won 31 total awards, including 10 firsts, in the annual Society of Professional Journalists' Oklahoma Pro Chapter contest.
- 2012 SPORTS WRITER OF THE YEAR: Berry Tramel.
- 2012 FARM BUREAU JOURNALIST OF THE YEAR: Bryan Painter.
- 2010 Society of News Design Award of Excellence: Redesigns/Overall Newspapers
- 2010 National Association of Black Journalists Salute to Excellence New Media-Sports: Winner, Minister of Millwood.
- 2010, 2009 and 2007: Online News Association, Finalist, Breaking News and General Excellence
- 2010 Southern Newspaper Publishers Association: Best Website and six other awards in video, multimedia projects, local reporting and photography
- 2009 Innovator of the Year: Associated Press Managing Editors (APME News/Winter 2009)
- 2009 Webby Award Official Honoree (Top 12 newspaper websites in world), International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences.
- 2009 Public Service in Online Journalism, Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi Awards
- 2009 First Amendment Award, Society of Professional Journalists
- 2002-2009 Associated Press Sports Editors Top 10 or Top 20 in daily, Sunday and special sections and columns, features, breaking news and projects.
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