The Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame’s 50th anniversary gala has been postponed to May 14, 2021, due to continuing concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic.
The hall of fame’s Executive Committee recently decided to postpone the gala from the rescheduled date of Oct. 9. Plans for the gala next May will continue at the Oklahoma History Center.
The committee also decided to postpone future hall of fame selections. While nominations will continue to be accepted this year and into 2021, the next class would not be selected and inducted until 2022.
“The Executive Committee felt that selecting a new hall of fame class would take away from the inductions of the regular and posthumous classes in 2020 as well as honoring the two Lifetime Achievement Award winners,” said hall of fame Director Joe Hight. “We regret that we had to take this action, but these are unprecedented times. We felt this was the most responsible action.”
The 2020 classes became members in April but have been unable to have a formal in-person ceremony because of the pandemic. Hight said the Executive Committee felt it was important to continue the tradition of an in-person induction instead of attempting a virtual one or even one with a small gathering. Hall of fame ceremonies usually attract nearly 300 people.
“We want to ensure not only to honor those who have been inducted in 2020 but the safety of those who attend the ceremony,” Hight said. “Many of our members and participants fall into the vulnerable category of those who should avoid large gatherings.”
Reservations already purchased for the 2020 gala will be honored for the 2021 event. New invitations will be sent later this year or early 2021.
The hall of fame also plans to redesign its website as well as convert its office in the University of Central Oklahoma Nigh Center into a minimuseum. Those plans were delayed because of issues with the pandemic, Hight said, but are now proceeding.
Despite the pandemic, the 210-page book “Our Greatest Journalists: Fifty Years of the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame” was published last spring. The book, which recently reached No. 1 on the Oklahoma Bestsellers list, is still for sale while supplies last. Copies were donated to every public library in Oklahoma.
If anyone has any questions or concerns, they can contact Joe Hight at (405) 974-5924 or firstname.lastname@example.org.