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Milt Phillips Award

Milt Phillips Award

Portrait headshot of Milt PhillipsThe H. Milt Phillips Award is the highest honor given by the Oklahoma Press Association. The OPA Board of Directors selects the recipient based on publishing a high-quality newspaper; contribution to the profession and the newspaper industry; years of service to the community, state and nation in a variety of volunteer activities and strong love and dedication to the family.

The award was established in 1978 by the OPA Board of Directors to recognize those they felt gave the same quality of service to family, community, country and newspapers as had H. Milt Phillips.    

"Honored by many, regarded by others, feared and disliked by the crafty and corrupt," is the way ‘Cluttered Corner’ Phillips was described by those who founded the award.     

"Phillips was the kind of editor all editors should be," they wrote. "He was involved. He gave freely of his love and concern..."     

H. Milt Phillips purchased the Seminole Producer in April 1946. Prior to beginning his newspaper career, he served as department adjutant of the Oklahoma American Legion and as editor of the Oklahoma Legionnaire.     

He served for two years in the Navy during World War II and, after returning home, was appointed by Gov. Robert Kerr to reorganize war veteran services in Oklahoma.     

Phillips became general manager of the Seminole Producer in 1946. In 1950, he and his brother Tom purchased the two newspapers in Wewoka and merged them into one publication. When Tom Phillips was diagnosed with cancer in 1955, the brothers sold the Wewoka paper. Milt Phillips and his son, Ted, then consolidated the two Seminole papers to form the Seminole Daily Producer.     

Phillips was active in the Oklahoma Press Association, holding several offices including president in 1954.     

He was widely known as a civic leader and statewide industrial booster. Phillips was a long-time member of the board of directors of the Oklahoma Historical Society and was the moving force in the historical society’s efforts to microfilm all Oklahoma newspapers. He served on the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority and was a member of the Oklahoma Public Expenditures Council, Oklahoma State Chamber of Commerce, Oklahoma Safety Council and Oklahoma Memorial Association. He also was affiliated with several highway booster groups and was inducted in the Oklahoma Heritage Association’s Hall of Fame.

H. Milt Phillips died on Feb. 27, 1979.


Recipients of the Milt Phillips Award

2019     Rod Serfoss, Clinton Daily News
2018     Jeff Mayo, Sequoyah County Times
2017     Gracie Montgomery, Purcell Register
2016     Dr. Terry M. Clark, UCO Journalism Professor
2015     Joe Worley, Tulsa World
2014     Ray Lokey, Johnston County Capital-Democrat
2013     Willis Choate, Marietta Monitor
2012     Tim Schnoebelen, The Mooreland Leader
2010     Gloria Trotter, The Countywide & Sun
2009     J. Leland Gourley, Oklahoma City Friday
2008     Tom Muchmore, Ponca City News
2007     Wayne Trotter,  Tecumseh Countywide News
2006     Joe Hancock, Hobart Democrat-Chief
2005     John D. Montgomery, Purcell Register
2004     Ken Reid, Weatherford Daily News    
2003     Bob Peterson, Durant Daily Democrat    
2002     Robert E. Lorton, Tulsa World    
2001     Don Ferrell, Lincoln County News    
2000     Dave Story, Claremore Daily Progress    
1999     Jim Mayo, Sequoyah County Times    
1998     Ted Phillips, Seminole Producer    
1997     Ed Burchfiel, Cordell Beacon    
1996     Larry Hammer, Cherokee Messenger & Republican    
1995     Larry Wade, Elk City News    
1994     Joe W. McBride, Jr., Anadarko Daily News    
1993     Francis Langdon, Tonkawa News    
1992     D. Jo Ferguson, Pawnee Chief    
1991     J. L. Jennings, Donrey Newspapers    
1990     Jenkin L. Jones, Sr., Tulsa Tribune    
1989     Dr. Harry Heath, Oklahoma State University, Journalism Professor    
1988     Jim Bellatti, Stillwater NewsPress    
1987     Ben Blackstock, OPA Manager    
1986     Jim Pate, Madill Record    
1985     Bill Ansley, Elk City Daily News    
1984     Milo Watson, Perry Journal    
1983     Bob Lee Kidd, Jr., Poteau News & Sun    
1982     Charles Engleman, Clinton News    
1981     Allan W. Muchmore, Ponca City News    
1980     Ed Livermore, Sr., Sapulpa Herald    
1979     James C. Nance, Purcell Register