Sooner State journalism veteran oversees collaborative effective Jan. 11
(Jan. 12, 2021) — Rob Collins, a highly respected Oklahoma media veteran, joined LMA on Jan. 11 as the project lead for the Oklahoma Media Center, a journalism collaborative of 20 state newsrooms.
Collins worked most recently as executive editor of the Enid News & Eagle and editor of The Norman Transcript. Also serving as a regional editor for CNHI, he coordinated statewide content for all Oklahoma publications. A fifth-generation Oklahoma resident, Collins also managed CNHI Oklahoma’s Capitol coverage.
“Local leadership for the Oklahoma Media Center has been our goal from Day One,” said Nancy Lane, CEO, Local Media Association. “We found the perfect fit with Rob Collins. He is purpose-driven and well-respected by his peers in the state. I believe he will take the OMC to a new and exciting level.”
Collins received his bachelor’s degree in 1993 at the University of Oklahoma, where he taught media writing and served on its Publications Board as the Oklahoma Press Association representative.
“Quality journalism is more important than ever, and the daunting challenges to the industry are well-documented,” Collins said. “After working for decades in the for-profit publishing industry, I’m turning the page into the purpose-driven realm of nonprofit journalism. I’m eager to work with member news organizations throughout the state to build trust and find common ground for future collaborative journalism efforts. Through the Oklahoma Media Center, my goal is to help sustain and shape the future of Oklahoma’s media ecosystem.”
The Oklahoma Media Center was launched in the spring of 2020, with initial funding coming from Inasmuch Foundation and the Walton Family Foundation. Inasmuch — located in Oklahoma City — is the primary funder and one of the driving forces behind the center’s launch.
“Inasmuch Foundation is thrilled Rob Collins will be the Project Manager of the Oklahoma Media Center,” said Robert J. Ross, Chairman and CEO of Inasmuch Foundation. “His experience and relationships with media partners across the state will advance the center’s mission to foster a thriving and collaborative news ecosystem.”
Collins began his newspaper career at The Norman Transcript before serving as managing editor at The Edmond Sun and as editor-in-chief of the weekly Oklahoma Gazette. In Norman, his investigative journalism led to the location and dedication of the unmarked grave of Woody Guthrie’s mother. At the Gazette, his award-winning coverage spearheaded an effort to install artist Charles Banks Wilson’s portrait of Woody Guthrie at the state Capitol.
In 2012, Collins returned to his hometown of Enid where he lives with his wife Kim and their two children. He currently serves as president-elect of the Freedom of Information Oklahoma Board of Directors and will be president in 2022.
The OMC’s first effort — coverage of the impact of COVID-19 on the state’s K-12 educational system — has resulted in the publication and resharing of 34 stories across Oklahoma.