Ray Lokey Memorial Award for Excellence in Reporting

The Ray Lokey Memorial Award for Excellence in Reporting was established by readers of the Johnston County Capital-Democrat to honor its former publisher, John Raiford “Ray” Lokey.

2019 Ray Lokey Memorial Award for Excellence in Reporting – Rules and Info

with a plaque and recognition during the OPA Convention


The Ray Lokey Memorial Award for Excellence in Reporting honors an individual writer whose published work demonstrates a dedication to well researched, responsible and fact-driven journalism for the benefit of their community and the newspaper industry.


  • Entries must be written by a staff member at an OPA business member newspaper and articles must include the writer’s byline.
  • Writers should submit three to six articles published between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2019.
  • Any corrections or clarifications that were published as a result of the articles must be submitted.
  • UPLOAD ENTRIES AT http://betternewspapercontest.com/opa 
    When submitting an entry, the Division is “Special Awards” and category
    is “Ray Lokey Memorial Award.” Submit full-page tearsheets. Indicate the
    articles/columns to be judged by typing the headlines in the Headline field.
  • A letter explaining why the nominated writer(s) is deserving of the award is allowed but not required.
  • DEADLINE: All entries must be submitted by Monday, Feb. 3, 2020.
  • THERE IS NO ENTRY FEE to enter this contest.



A third-generation publisher, John Raiford “Ray” Lokey published the Johnston County Capital-Democrat in Tishomingo from 1990 until his death in 2017.
He served as president of the Oklahoma Press Association in 2003-2004, and received OPA’s highest honor, the Milt Phillips Award, in 2014. He also served on the Oklahoma Newspaper Foundation Board of Trustees for more than a decade, serving as president from 2014 to 2016.
In 2007 he received ONF’s Beachy Musselman Award for his outstanding reporting and community involvement.
He began as a newspaper boy on his 11th birthday. After being editor of the high school newspaper, he entered the University of Oklahoma as a McMahon Scholar, earning a B.A. in journalism in 1977.
He earned his M.A. in education/English from Southeastern Oklahoma State University in 1983, where he also served as news editor for The Southeastern.
He then taught English at Marietta High School and was public information officer at Murray State College where he advised The Aggielite.
As a youth, Lokey earned the rank of Eagle Scout and remained active in the Boy Scouts throughout his life. In 2017 he received the Arbuckle Area Council’s Golden Eagle Award. He also was a Vigil Honor member of the Order of the Arrow and served as Lodge Chief of Wisawanik Lodge No. 190.
An active member of his community, Lokey served on numerous boards in Tishomingo and was presented the 2002 “Citizen of the Year” award by the Johnston County Chamber of Commerce.


Lokey accepts the Milt Phillips Award in 2014. The award is the highest honor presented 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.


Lokey accepts the 2015 OGE Photo of the Year award for the weekly newspaper division from Randy Swanson, OGE Energy Corp. You can view Ray's photo here.