Veteran journalist W. Kevin Armstrong founded OKJ2 – Oklahoma Journalists for Justice in June 2013 and serves as the nonprofit organization’s executive director. Journalism and community service have defined this native Oklahoman’s career.
Armstrong was born in Tulsa in 1962 but spent most of his childhood in Columbus, Ohio. At age 10, he started and published a neighborhood newspaper, The Allview News, which he sold door to door to his neighbors. At age 17, he started a student newspaper, The Patriot, at his high school.
Armstrong returned to the Sooner state in 1980 to attend Oral Roberts University for two years before transferring to the University of Missouri to earn his bachelor of journalism degree at the nation’s oldest and most prestigious journalism school.
In 1984, he began his full-time career at The Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk, Va., serving first as a layout and copy editor before working his way to city editor in Virginia Beach, the state’s largest city. He remained at The Virginian-Pilot for 24 years, working in a variety of editing and management positions. During his time in Southeastern Virginia, Armstrong became active in the community in many roles, including Special Olympics coach, president of the Virginia Beach Forum lecture series, Rotary Club member, Sunday School teacher and men’s ministry leader at his church.
Armstrong began teaching journalism in 2005 as an adjunct professor in the Graduate School of Communication Arts at Regent University in Virginia Beach. It proved to be the path back to his beloved Sooner state. In 2008, he accepted a full-time job as instructor and Student Publications director at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa. He held that position for five years, teaching journalism classes and serving as faculty adviser to the student newspaper and yearbook, before resigning in January 2013. A few months later, the Oklahoma chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists named Armstrong the state’s 2013 Teacher of the Year.
It was through his work with the Tulsa Press Club, Oklahoma College Media Association, Oklahoma Press Association and College Media Advisers that Armstrong identified the need for journalists in Oklahoma to investigate cases of prisoners who potentially might have been wrongfully convicted. He incorporated OKJ2 in June 2013 and now works full time for the investigative journalism organization.
Armstrong lives in Broken Arrow with his wife, Marcy, and their son. Armstrong and his wife of 30 years also have two adult daughters and one son-in-law, all of whom live in Tulsa.