- ABOUT US
Karlie Tipton, Editorial Assistant
Photo by JOHN JERNIGAN
By Karlie Tipton
November 8, 2012
From eating fried chicken in Okarche to being dubbed “The Worst Oklahoman,” my two-plus years as Oklahoma Today’s editorial assistant have been quite an adventure. In no particular order, here are my ten favorite moments in my personal Oklahoma Today history.
Interviewing Ken Burns. I love documentaries. They teach you new things, like books, but require no reading, unlike books. So, naturally, I love Ken Burns. There are a lot of brilliant documentary filmmakers out there, but how many of them can say they have their own effect? I have probably never been more nervous to interview anyone in my entire life, but I still felt like I learned a lot about the Dust Bowl—the subject of his latest documentary—and about his process. My interview with the director appears in the current November/December 2012 issue, which is available now.
Factchecking Jim Thorpe. Fortunately, I did learn about Thorpe at some point in my Oklahoma education. Unfortunately, it was something to the effect of “Jim Thorpe was a really good native American athlete. The end.” In reality, Jim Thorpe led a remarkable and complex life. His performance in the 1912 Olympics earned him multiple gold medals, but they were quickly taken away due to arbitrarily applied regulations. He played professional football, baseball, and basketball, and while he reached unsurpassed heights, he also experienced terrible lows. After his death, his third wife Patricia sold his body to the highest bidder—a town he had never been to in Pennsylvania—where it remains to this day.
My first Oklahoma Today Christmas party. I had been working at OKT for six months at this point, so I was comfortable with the editorial team, but not so much with everyone else. This was really the first time I was able to talk with the ad staff, get to know how cool Colleen and Bethany are, and see our publisher, Joan Henderson, let her hair down—so to speak. Between the delicious food, the cozy surroundings of Joan’s beautiful Mesta Park house, and the craziness that always ensues during Dirty Santa, I realized those people down the hall were not so bad.
Steffie’s ascension to Editor. I liked Steffie from the time I began my internship at Oklahoma Today. She was always wise, friendly, and a little silly (in a good way). When she officially became editor in May 2011, I couldn’t have imagined anything better for the magazine. Steffie’s passion for doing right by our readers is apparent in everything she does. Apparently, I’m not the only one who feels this way—we’ve taken home best magazine from IRMA, the Great Plains Journalism Awards, and the Oklahoma Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. As our near-perfect November/December issue demonstrates, Oklahoma Today will continue to accomplish amazing things under Steffie’s leadership.
Megan’s return from safety training. Not only am I happy that our Oklahoma Today team is safe in the event of a fire, flood, or sniper attack, I have another reason to love this semiannual event: I receive a new piece of original Megan Rossman art for my desk based on the day’s lesson.
Factchecking Kate Barnard. I have lived in Oklahoma my entire life, taken multiple Oklahoma history classes, and never heard of this woman. She was the first woman elected to statewide office in the entire United States, a decade before her gender could vote. She fought tirelessly to help people that no one else cared about. And she never thought to apologize for being a powerful woman in a world of men. This quote from a stump speech pretty well sums her up: “If you farmers vote for child labor in this state, I hope that in the fall of the year when the sap goes out of your cornstalks and leaves the stalks dry and dead and rasping and bare that God will turn your cornstalks into the skeletons of little children and shake their dry bones at you.”
Nathan’s first day. Within his first few hours of becoming managing editor on August 10, 2011, Nathan hugged me. And not the “I am strong and therefore do not cross me” kind of bear hug, but an “I am a warm, kind, loving human being and I am happy to work with you” type of hug. I pretty much knew I loved him right then.
Writing about the Chickasaw Cultural Center. If you haven’t been to this interactive experience in Sulphur, you need to go. You can read about it in the May/June 2011 issue, but it is more than worth the drive.
Writing my first events guide. It wasn’t so much writing the events guide that I enjoyed. In fact, I probably ran out of four-letter words to use that first day of working on it. But seeing my first byline in the September/October 2010 issue in that beautiful glossy paper was a pretty amazing moment.
Getting hired. Seeing as how this began my OKT journey, I feel it should be included, although I was inexperienced and scared and had no idea what I was getting myself in to. I still can’t believe Steffie and Megan took a chance on an intern who hadn’t even graduated from journalism school yet, but I’m eternally grateful they did.