Bob Lobsinger Wins Beachy
For Research Of Narconon Facility Near Newkirk
The Oklahoma Publisher
Bob Lobsinger, editor and publisher of the Newkirk Herald-Journal, was the 1993 recipient of the annual Beachy Musselman Award.
The award was presented at the OPA (Oklahoma Press Association) Mid-Winter Convention, Feb. 4-7, in Oklahoma City.
Lobsinger has owned the Herald-Journal since 1978.
For three years he reported on the Church of Scientology and Narconon. His relentless research turned up ties between the church and Narconon, a drug rehabilitation facility that developed a drug treatment facility at the nearby old Chilocco Indian School.
The facility, which had been a residential school for Indians for many years, had fallen into disuse. The Chilocco Development Authority, composed of representatives of four (sic - actually five) area Indian tribes, leased the school site to Narconon in 1989.
As Narconon fought to obtain a state license for the center, Lobsinger reported extensively on the center and its connections to the Church of Scientology in the Herald-Journal.
In February 1992, Narconon attorneys were granted a request to take depositions from Lobsinger on his interviews with state Mental Health Board members about the center.
He was then served with a subpoena asking for three years of phone records, all contacts, all correspondence, videotapes and notes.
Lobsinger refused to give the deposition, citing the shield law.
An Oklahoma County district judge upheld the motion, but said Narconon attorneys could ask Lobsinger about the interviews with the state Mental health Board members. The judge then indicated Lobsinger could be held responsible for the costs and fees because Narconon's attorneys were not told before the deposition that he would decline to answer questions. On June 9, 1992, Lobsinger was ordered to pay $2,150.32 in attorney fees for Narconon. (When Lobsinger refused to pay) Community residents supported Lobsinger's position and raised money to pay his fine.
In 1991, he received the Leo J. Ryan Award from the Cult Awareness Network for his coverage of the Narconon Center.
A 1962 graduate of Enid (Memorial) High School, Lobsinger attended Phillips University; the University of Georgia; University of Maryland; Oklahoma State University, and Northern Oklahoma College at Tonkawa (sic - not entirely accurate).
After being discharged from the U.S. Army as a staff sergeant, he worked for several Florida newspapers, the Enid News and Eagle, Atlanta (Ga.) Journal Constitution and the Ponca City News. (sic - chronology not accurate)
He and his wife Susan have four children: Michael Robert, Judy Sue, John Allen and Steven Richard.
The Beach Musselman Award is presented annually by the Oklahoma Newspaper Foundation from a gift in memory of the late Norman Beachy Musselman, publisher of the Shawnee News-Star from 1945 to 1963 and president of OPA in 1962.
The $750 award, donated by N. Burkey Musselman, son of the newspaperman, is now in its 19th year.