In the mid-1990s, nearly 1,000 reporters covered state Capitols across the 50 states and the District of Columbia. By 2009, Capitol press corps numbers had shrunk to around 300 reporters in all. In Oklahoma, falling advertising revenue and paid subscriptions led publishers of many newspapers to reduce staff, causing cutbacks in both statehouse and investigative reporting. CapitolBeatOK was established to inform citizens in Oklahoma about the workings of the governments they finance through taxes. With the passage of time, the website developed a national and international following, in addition to its base in and around Oklahoma. Over the years, CapitolBeatOK has often focused on waste, fraud and abuse of taxpayer resources. The website has also focused on and sought to increase understanding of the workings of governments at the federal, state, and local levels — with a particular emphasis on the state of Oklahoma and on local governments in the Oklahoma City area. CapitolBeatOK provides another set of “eyes” focused on government, providing fair, dependable, accurate and credible information.
CapitolBeatOK covers in depth the Oklahoma state Legislature when it is in session, focusing on executive decisions, and on agencies and the judiciary as necessary. When the Legislature is not in session, CapitolBeatOK covers state government agencies, the judiciary, elections and other state news in some greater depth. Legislative news stories focus on, but are not limited to, budget, taxes, finance, education, government reform, committee assignments and legislative leadership.
Since the news website was established in 2009, the focus of coverage has expanded to include the U.S. government, Oklahoma City government and other local governments in the state. Since its early years, CapitolBeatOK has focused on relations between state and local government(s) in Oklahoma and the tribal governments.
Over time, a particular focus on the impact of federal and state policy – and “Big Tribe” land acquisitions – has developed. These reports often feature a focus on smaller tribal governments – including negatives economic and other impacts flowing from the growing power for the larger sovereign nations. Certain international issues are also focused upon, including the Republic of China on Taiwan (“Free China”) and the stated desire of the communist government of mainland China to seize the island Republic. CapitolBeatOK founder Patrick B. McGuigan has covered Taiwan frequently for more than three decades.
CapitolBeatOK also includes several features a year on Kashmir in south Asia (the Indian sub-continent). From time to time, articles and analyses about the Middle East – particularly the nation and people of Israel – are included. Additionally, CapitolBeatOK often features reports or reviews focused on community, arts and entertainment, movies, live performance events, art exhibits and other matters.
CapitolBeatOK serves as the “Pat McGuigan Archive” to some extent, including articles touching upon all of his professional affiliations of the past five decades.
As a public service and at no charge, CapitolBeatOK posts regular news stories, commentaries, analyses and other works which is available on the Internet to interested individuals and organizations. As of fall 2021, the website remains open to all interested readers, with a robust website and archive of more than ??? stories. Our archives include reports in audio, video and text formats. Watch for future renewal of the latter historic offerings.
CapitolBeatOK is a project of the Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity, a 501 c 3 tax-exempt organization. CapitolBeatOK’s work is regularly posted at Watchdog.org. News partners include The City Sentinel and Tulsa Today.
The traditional preamble of the code of ethics for the Society of Professional Journalists stated: “Public enlightenment is the forerunner of justice and the foundation of democracy. The duty of the journalist is to further those ends by seeking truth and providing a fair and comprehensive account of events and issues.” Patrick B. McGuigan has won frequent awards from the Society of Professional Journalists for news reporting, diversity news, editorials, commentary, photography, arts and entertainment, and in other areas. McGuigan is a past member of the board of directors for the Society of Professional Journalists, Oklahoma Pro Chapter. He previously won multiple honors from the Associated Press/Oklahoma News Editors, including first place for ‘The Rose’ – a ‘house editorial’ published in The Oklahoman during the weeks after the Murrah Building Bombing. During his tenure at The Oklahoman, McGuigan won second place in the Amy Awards, a national competition.