J. Leland Gourley

Inducted: 1980

J. LELAND GOURLEY (1919-2013) achieved national prominence as editor and publisher of the Henryetta Daily Free-Lance. The paper won sweepstakes of the Oklahoma Press Association thirteen years as the best small city newspaper in the state. He was the first columnist to win the Best Editorial of the Year award two years in a row (1954-55) in OPA competition. He led the crusade that exposed Wagoner County election scandals and was the first to expose corruption in the Supreme Court. In 1974 he launched a new suburban newspaper, Friday, serving The Village and Nichols Hills. Within a year it was the largest paid circulation weekly newspaper in Oklahoma. It won two national awards and three OPA annual sweepstakes awards for large weekly newspapers.