Measuring the impact of The Frontier

The Frontier has a mission to produce fearless, independent journalism with impact. We hold those in power accountable, give a voice to the powerless and tell stories that matter to Oklahomans.  We’re tracking the impact of the stories we publish on this page.

March 2024

Impact: One police department puts criminal cases on hold for moms who used medical marijuana during pregnancy

Ponca City made the decision to put cases on hold after The Frontier and The Marshall Project’s recent reporting on women charged with felony child neglect in connection with using medical marijuana during their pregnancies.

September 2023

Impact: Oklahoma Capitol hearing will focus on mothers criminally charged for substance use during pregnancy

The Frontier has documented dozens of cases of women in the state who were prosecuted even after giving birth to healthy babies.

August 2023

Impact: Frontier and partners named finalists for national investigative journalism award

The Frontier’s reporting was part of a national project in collaboration with the The Marshall Project, and The Washington Post about women who face criminal charges in connection with drug use during pregnancy.

June 2023

Oklahoma Press Association gives The Frontier top honors for digital media and other awards

The Frontier won first place in the digital media category at this year’s Oklahoma Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest Awards. 

May 2023

The Frontier and partners honored for collaborative reporting

The Frontier, Oklahoma Watch awarded First Amendment Award for investigative reporting.

Impact: Frontier publisher Bobby Lorton inducted into Great Plains Hall of Fame

The Frontier also won first-place honors for investigative reporting and other in-depth news coverage in Oklahoma.

December 2022

Impact: Appeals court affirms order to release video to The Frontier of Oklahoma man’s fatal struggle with detention officers

The Frontier sued Pottawatomie County jail officials after they withheld records related to the death of Ronald Gene Given in 2019.

Impact: A bill would restore oversight on spending after The Frontier’s reporting on the Swadley’s Foggy Bottom scandal

Legislation would restore the powers of a state board to oversee tourism and recreation.

October 2022

Impact: The Frontier wins Oklahoma Society of Professional Journalists honors

Statewide journalism contest names The Frontier ‘Best Website’ and recognizes staff writers Clifton Adcock and Kayla Branch for reporting.

September 2022

Impact: The Frontier to fact-check gubernatorial and Oklahoma County DA debates

In keeping with our mission of accountability journalism, we use interviews, public records and other reporting to fact-check candidates.

Impact: The Frontier participates in national reporting project to uncover prosecutions after pregnancy loss

More than 50 women have been prosecuted for child neglect or manslaughter in the United States since 1999 because they tested positive for drug use after a miscarriage or stillbirth, according to an investigation by The Marshall Project, The Frontier and that was co-edited and published in partnership with The Washington Post. 

June 2022

Impact: Lawmakers cite The Frontier’s reporting after overriding Stitt’s veto of appointee financial disclosure bill

The governor’s cabinet members and appointed agency heads will now have to file financial disclosure forms with the Oklahoma Ethics Commission.

February 2022

Oklahoma Attorney General drops obscenity investigation of school books

Attorney General John O’Connor said he will no longer investigate after The Frontier reported that dozens of titles were under review as part of a new wave of book challenges.

February 2022

State releases an audit that found pandemic spending violated the Oklahoma constitution

The state auditor released an investigation into questionable spending after The Frontier’s reporting.

November 2021

New bill seeks to speed access to treatment for people found incompetent to stand trial

A Frontier investigation earlier this year found that dozens of Oklahomans with severe mental illness waited months in county jails for treatment at a state hospital.

September 2021

A judge has ordered the release of video from a man’s fatal struggle with jailers after we sued

For more than a year, Pottawatomie County officials have denied access to the records in connection with the death of Ronald Gene Given.

August 2021

Lawmaker plans study on Oklahoma’s rape kit backlog

The time it takes state investigators to process tests has increased from an average 40 days to more than 300 over the past two years, The Frontier reported in June.

July 2021

Two lawmakers seek studies on reforming Oklahoma eviction law

One legislator said he’s examining the issue after The Frontier’s reporting on a lack of protections for renters.

January 2021

Health officials released COVID-19 death data to The Frontier

The release came after the state had previously denied The Frontier’s requests for the information, citing the patient privacy law known as HIPAA. For months, states including Texas, Arizona, Virginia and Florida had made such data publicly available. 

May 2020

Oklahoma released information about pandemic supply vendors after we wrote about a lack of transparency in state purchases

As Oklahoma scrambled to secure face masks and other life-saving equipment to respond to the coronavirus pandemic, the state issued orders totaling around $80 million to businesses, but refused to disclose to the public. The state released the information after our reporting .

April 2020

Health offcials released more information on COVID-19 in nursing homes after our reporting

The Oklahoma State Department of Health released information on COVID-19 cases at nursing homes after The Frontier pressed for more transparency.

“We are releasing this information on long term care facilities in the hope that is can provide relief for those with family members with loved ones who reside there,” a spokeswoman for the Oklahoma State Department of Health said.

November 2019

Oklahoma’s mental health agency reviewed training for police after our reporting

The Oklahoma State Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services said it would review all Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training on mental health prior to offering it to police officers. The change came following a story by The Frontier that showed CLEET’s mental health courses were reviewed by experts.

October 2019

Oklahoma’s law enforcement training agency removed a course on ‘Radical Islam’ and changed accreditation process

The changes came following The Frontier’s story that showed the Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training did not accredit classes it promoted to police officers.

April 2019

Construction on an exclusive housing development stopped after The Frontier reported on its sewage dumping

After The Frontier reported that the town of Carlton Landing had pumped millions of gallons of water from its sewage lagoons onto U.S. Army Corps of Engineers land and Lake Eufaula, federal officials ordered building projects to stop. The Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality also launched a criminal inquiry.

January 2019

Bill to change the name of a lake named for Tulsa Klansman introduced after our reporting

State officials first investigated changing the name of Lake Hudson after The Frontier reported on its namesake’s ties to the Ku Klux Klan. The bill would have changed the name of Lake Hudson in Mayes County to Lake Markham, in honor of a family that helped settle the area around the Grand River in the 1840s. But state lawmakers never gave the bill a hearing.

February 2018

Following accusations of domestic violence, interim OSDH director resigns

The resignation comes less than 24 hours after a report by The Frontier outlined an alleged 2012 incident where Doerflinger was accused of choking his wife twice during an argument.