Milt Phillips Award
The 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