The Oklahoman’s Watchdog team is a dedicated group of journalists here to expose corruption in Oklahoma. If you have any information about possible fraud, waste or abuse click on the Whistle Blower link or call (405) 475-3322 and let us know.
The Watchdog team blog keeps you up to date with new developments, upcoming stories and important information about fraud, waste or abuse. Get behind-the-scenes information about stories and follow the team members.
Mark Hutchison – Watchdog editor
Mark Hutchison has been in Oklahoma newspapers since 1986, first at the Enid Morning News & Eagle. He joined The Oklahoman in 1989 in the Lawton Bureau and has been a reporter and editor since. He has won several state and regional reporting awards for investigative, breaking news and feature stories. Among them are coverage of an American Indian chief who was indicted and imprisoned; malfeasance that led to the resignation and firings of public officials and problems within the state juvenile justice system. A journalism graduate from the University of Kansas, he has three daughters.
Ann Kelley has been an Oklahoma journalist for 10 years. She was a reporter for The Ada Evening News and The Shawnee News-Star before joining The Oklahoman in 2002. Kelley has received numerous awards for breaking news, investigative and government reporting. In 1999, she was an Associated Press sweepstakes winner for her stories about two wrongfully convicted men. Her work is featured in John Grisham’s bestselling book, “The Innocent Man,” and used as a source in “Actual Innocence,” co-authored by attorney Berry Scheck, founder of the Innocence Project.Kelley is a graduate of Fresno State University. Prior to her career in jounalism, she worked as a social worker and as a legal assistant.
Paul Monies is the Database Editor for The Oklahoman. He’s in charge of maintaining the newsroom’s databases for everything from voter information and state finances to inspections and campaign finance. Paul has worked at newspapers in Texas and Missouri and spent five years as an award-winning business reporter for The Oklahoman. He is a native of Scotland who graduated from Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas, and has a master’s degree from the University of Missouri School of Journalism.
Vallery Brown Brown joined The Oklahoman in 2008 covering health and medical news before joining the watchdog team, where her work has aided in the prosecution of criminals, business reform and government accountability. Vallery previously wrote for Oklahoma Today magazine and covered issues and people across the state. She has a journalism degree from the University of Central Oklahoma and is working toward a master’s degree from the University of Oklahoma. Born in Montana, Brown is an accomplished vocalist. In 2010 she received a fellowship from the Institute of Justice in Journalism to cover immigration issues.
For the past 26 years, staff writer Randy Ellis has exposed public corruption and government mismanagement in news articles. Ellis has investigated problems in Oklahoma’s higher education institutions and wrote stories that ultimately led to two college presidents being sentenced to prison and a former chancellor being forced to resign. He has written about abuses of Oklahoma’s workers compensation system, corruption in the state’s municipal bond industry, bid-rigging by county officials, self-dealing by state housing officials, misconduct involving state legislators and a variety of other topics. Ellis, 52, has won more than 80 state, regional and national awards for journalistic excellence. Prior to joining The Oklahoman in 1982, Ellis worked at Arkansas newspapers. He is a 1977 graduate of Kansas State University.
Michael Baker is a senior staff writer. He has served in that position since March 2010. Before, Michael was Local Editor at The Oklahoman.
Michael believes it is the journalist’s responsibility to be a tenacious watchdog of public officials and government institutions, as well as seek to help those who are powerless.
Michael was born in Edmond, went to Edmond High School and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Oklahoma. He obtained a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Southern California.
Michael worked as a journalist in California for about 10 years before returning to his Oklahoma roots in 2003.
John Estus is a staff writer at The Oklahoman, where he focuses on investigative public affairs reporting and inventive uses of new technology in reporting. Estus entered the news business at age 16 and studied journalism at Oklahoma State University, where he won awards for investigative work. He joined The Oklahoman in 2006 and has since produced award-winning government reporting that has prompted changes in public policy. He’s also covered political corruption, religious scandals, high-profile crimes, natural disasters and the sports industry. A proud music geek who once managed artists and a record store, his writing on music in Oklahoma has been published worldwide. He lives in Oklahoma City.