CapitolBeatOK’s McGuigan designated one of America’s top political reporters

Patrick B. McGuigan – bureau chief for the network in Oklahoma City and editor of CapitolBeatOK — is designated one of the top three political reporters in Oklahoma, as part of a nationwide look at journalism.

McGuigan was among journalists recognized in the compilation of “best state-based political reporters, 2013 edition,” crafted by Chris Cillizza of “The Fix” – The Washington Post’s blog monitoring political journalism, among other things.

Cillizza compiled the national report in an attempt to identify and list “great political reporters, the one person that EVERY politico in the state reads.”

Jason Stverak, president of the Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity in Alexandria, Virginia, commented, “We are very proud of Pat and glad that the Washington Post recognizes his contributions to the taxpayers of Oklahoma. Pat’s hard work and years of experience are easy to see in his reporting. We’re very lucky to have him.”

McGuigan is also Associate Publisher for The City Sentinel newspaper, a frequent contributor to Perspective Magazine and weekly news analyst for KWTV News9′s “Capitol Report.” He worked for 12 years at the state’s largest newspaper, The Oklahoman, as editorial editor.

Robert Henry, president of Oklahoma City University, responded to news of McGuigan’s national recognition, saying, “McGuigan is a reporter, editorialist, photographer, essayist, polemicist, editor, and orator. He is also a medievalist, singer, linguist, historian, educator, critic, and partaker of all things Irish.

“And one cannot forget that he serves time as a parent and grandparent, and was a long-time Boy Scout and Girl Scout leader. He is an active Roman Catholic, and a civic evangelist. His accomplishments have been recognized with awards too numerous to mention in even a long resume, but include citations for journalism, teaching, writing, broadcasting, lecturing, and importantly, his wit and humor (which have caused him to lead the Oklahoma City Gridiron Club’s creative roasts for a couple of decades).”

Henry, formerly a member of the Tenth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and two-term attorney general of Oklahoma, said, “Pat McGuigan illustrates the veracity of Jefferson’s great observation that, ‘Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.’ Pat’s work in newspapers and online has changed his state and nation, and revitalized his community.”

Bill Bleakley, with whom McGuigan served as a founder of Project KIDS – precursor to the MAPS for Kids school infrastructure improvements approved by Oklahoma City voters in 2001 – said last week, “As experienced and thorough coverage of the State Capitol and its politics has shriveled at an alarming rate, Patrick McGuigan’s entry into the capital press pool was a breath of fresh air.”

Bleakley, president of Tierra Media Group and publisher of The Oklahoma Gazette, Oklahoma City’s alternative news weekly, continued, “After a lifetime of learning where and how to look for the political inside story, McGuigan provides unique insight into Oklahoma politics. Congratulations to Patrick on his recognition as a top three political reporter in Oklahoma by The Washington Post blog, ‘The Fix’.”

Also commenting was Brandon Dutcher, editor of Perspective Magazine, which regularly prints and posts McGuigan’s commentaries on public policy and other matters.

He said, “Pat’s designation as one of the top three political reporters in Oklahoma comes as no surprise whatsoever. The guy’s a political polymath — part historian, part policy analyst, part political scientist, part commentator, but with the soul of a reporter.”

Dutcher, vice president of policy at the Oklahoma Council for Public Affairs, Oklahoma’s leading free market “think tank,” continued, “Pat McGuigan has a knack for seeing the story that others don’t see, and then reporting it with fairness to liberal and conservative sources alike. Then add the fact that he flat outworks everyone in the press corps, and you’ve got a heckuva journalist.”

Two of McGuigan’s colleagues from the “Watchdog” network also made “the Fix” list: Joe Jordan of Nebraska Watchdog and Rob Port of the “Say Anything” blog in North Dakota.

A Franklin center posting celebrating designation of the trio included these words: “This is just the latest evidence that the team at Watchdog is making a difference. Making a list populated by reporters from massive outlets like the Associated Press, LA Times, and Chicago Tribune speaks volumes about these reporters. They’ve become part of the broader conversation in their states. They’re standing up for freedom and faithfully shining the spotlight on government waste, fraud, and abuse – as the press ought to do.”

Two other Oklahomans made the Post’s “Fix” list: M. Scott Carter of The Journal Record and Michael McNutt of The Oklahoman.

Managing Editor of The City Sentinel, Stacy Martin said,“It was an honor when Pat offered to hire me as editor of The City Sentinel four years ago. We had worked together many years at The Oklahoman, though in different departments. However, I — and the rest of the news staff — were well aware of Pat’s journalistic excellence and why his talent had prompted Edward L. Gaylord to recruit him from Washington, D.C.’s journalism corps.

“After nearly 30 years in the business, I thought I’d seen it all, knew it all. But once again, I find myself working alongside a mentor who teaches me by example, with his boundless wealth of knowledge, commitment and experience. His recognition as a top journalist nationally came as no surprise whatsoever to me.”

NOTE: Billie Rodely, a veteran radio journalist and member of the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame, writes occasionally for CapitolBeatOK.