The Shawnee News-Star and members of its newsroom have been honored with 15 awards in the annual Associated Press News Executives newspaper contest.

Competing with other newspapers across the state, the News-Star received two first place awards, eight second place awards and five third place honors, with every member of The Shawnee News-Star's newsroom staff receiving awards in different categories.

Overall, the News-Star placed third the General Excellence division. The News-Star's website,, was awarded second place, with judges noting they appreciate the site's use of photo galleries and videos.

Publisher Kent Bush and Sports Editor Adam Ewing both received multiple awards, with the two taking the first and second place honors in two different sports categories.

Bush won first place in Sports Feature for “Emily's Moment: Chesser scores in heartwarming game,” a feature about a Dale student and her basketball moment.

Judges said, “A true sports feature with a heartwarming angle. Great transition from the specific event to the details of the athlete.”

In that same category, Ewing took second place for “Stargell uses competitive drive to build a legacy,” a feature story about an Earlsboro basketball player.

In Photo Package, Bush took first and Ewing took second place.

Bush's photo trio was a breaking news event with Shawnee firefighters rescuing a cat from a two-story Shawnee home.

“Terrific job in three images capturing the emotion of a heartbreaking rescue....” the judges said.

Ewing won second place for a collection of photos as the Dale Lady Pirates celebrated a state championship in fast-pitch softball. Judges said they appreciated the storytelling in the photo package, along with the mix of both action and posed shots.

In Sports photos, Bush took second place for a basketball dunk shot of OBU player Davion Turner while Ewing won third place for his celebration photo of the Dale Lady Pirates reacting to their championship win.

In Spot News reporting, Managing Editor Kim Morava took second place for the story about arrests made when a starving Meeker teenager was rescued and hospitalized after he was found living in a barn last summer.

Reporter Vicky O. Misa received two awards. In General News Reporting, she took third place honors for a story about those helping a Shawnee homeless man and his dog with a safe place to live.

Judges said, “Vivid, heart-warming storytelling.”

Misa also took second place honors for Business Spot News Reporting for her coverage in 2018 of stories relating to the Shawnee Tubing lease and rent dispute.

Reporter Elisabeth Slay, who joined the News-Star staff in mid-December, was honored for one of her first feature stories — “Players 'Pac' Bell Street Retro Arcade.” Slay placed third in the Business Feature category.

Page Designer Gay Ketchum received third place for a collection of front pages in the Page One Deadline Layout category.

Page Designer Tina Bridenstine took second place honors for a collection of weekly Lifestyles cover pages judged in the non Page 1 category, with judges noting they appreciated her use of multiple elements to make pages lively.

Bush also took second place honors in sports columns. Judges said, “Great with an anecdote. It's captivating when he tells the story about why he loves muddy football, or how his baseball team used to light wet fields on fire to dry them off for games.”

The News-Star competed in Division 1, which is comprised of 19 Oklahoma newspapers with similar circulation and online operations that are part of the Associated Press.