President Brian Blansett

(right click the photo and save for printing purposes)

Brian Blansett elected OPA president

Brian Blansett was elected as president of the Oklahoma Press Association on June 9, 2017, during the OPA Convention in Oklahoma City.
Blansett, publisher of the Tri-County Herald in Meeker, will serve a one-year term, beginning July 1. He succeeds Dayva Spitzer, co-publisher of The Sayre Record & Beckham County Democrat, who will serve a one-year term as past president.
Other officers elected at the meeting were Ted Streuli, The Journal Record, as vice president; and Rusty Ferguson, The Cleveland American, as treasurer.
Alan Herzberger from The Oklahoman was elected to a three-year term as director, and John Denny Montgomery from The Purcell Register was re-elected to a three-year term. Elected to complete two years of a vacated three-year term was Zonelle Rainbolt, The Cordell Beacon.
"It's an honor to be president of the Oklahoma Press Association, but also humbling when you think of the leaders in journalism who have guided the association in the past," said Blansett. "I hope to live up the legacy they have left."
Blansett said his main goal this year is to guide the board toward establishing a long-term plan that can be used to guide the association's activities for the next three to five years.
A native of Fitzhugh, Blansett graduated from Latta High School. He served in the U.S. Air Force and in Oklahoma's 45th Infantry, and graduated from East Central University in 1979 with a degree in history.
He started his newspaper career as a part-time sports reporter for the Stratford Star while in college and worked at the Ada Evening News, the Sulphur Times-Democrat, The Daily Ardmoreite, the Waco Tribune-Herald in Texas, the Oklahoma Press Association and the Shawnee News-Star. After a brief retirement, he bought the Tri-County Herald, the local newspaper for Meeker, McLoud, Dale and North Rock Creek.
Blansett has the curious distinction of winning the OPA/ONG column contest at five different newspapers.
As the city editor of the Waco Tribune-Herald, he directed the newspaper's coverage of the assault by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco Firearms on the Branch Davidian compound in 1993 and the resultant siege. He edited an investigative series by reporters Mark England and Darlene McCormick on the Davidians that was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.
Blansett has won a variety of writing and photography awards from the Oklahoma Press Association, the Society of Professional Journalists and the Associated Press.
He has been active in local affairs, serving as president of the Shawnee Economic Development Foundation, the Shawnee Kiwanis Club and Shawnee's Youth and Family Resources, as well as serving several terms as an officer of the Greater Shawnee Chamber of Commerce. In 2016, he was appointed to the North Rock Board of Education.
He has taught journalism and communications as an adjunct professor at Baylor University and Oklahoma Baptist University.
Blansett lives in the North Rock Creek community between Meeker and Shawnee. He is a member of Wesley United Methodist Church in Shawnee.
He has three grown children - Brooke, Brice and Brittany ­ and two grandchildren, Ruby and Bennett.
Dianna, his wife of 32 years, died in 2014.