BILOXI – The publisher of The Calhoun County Journal in Bruce was elected the 142nd president of the Mississippi Press Association during the newspaper trade group's annual meeting on the gulf coast.
Joel McNeece, 44, will serve as president of MPA and Mississippi Press Services, Inc., an affiliated advertising and marketing service.
McNeece and his wife, Lisa, and sister-in-law, Celia Hillhouse, own and operate the 5,000-circulation weekly newspaper. Lisa McNeece is a former president of MPA and her father, the late S. Gale Denley, is a past president and member of the MPA Hall of Fame.
McNeece has worked in the newspaper industry for more than 20 years during which time he has won numerous awards for writing in news, sports and his weekly column.
In 2009, McNeece was honored with the Dan Phillips Leadership Award from the National Newspaper Association. He currently serves as Mississippi state chairman for NNA.
McNeece has served multiple times as president of the Bruce Chamber of Commerce, three times been named Chamber Member of the Year and served 13 years on the organization's board of directors.
He is also a Paul Harris Fellow and past president of the Bruce Rotary Club. He has served as the chairman of the Bruce Museum Board of Directors since 2006 and twice been named Bruce Citizen of the Year.
McNeece and others were installed during ceremonies at a joint convention with the Louisiana Press Association.
Also elected to leadership positions were First Vice President Don Norman, publisher of the Starkville Daily News; Second Vice President Paul Keane, publisher of The Wayne County News in Waynesboro; and Treasurer Tracie Fowler, general manager of the Hattiesburg American.
Jim Prince, publisher of The Neshoba Democrat and president of Prince Newspaper Holdings, Inc., becomes Immediate Past President and Chairman of the MPA Education Foundation.
Elected to three-year terms as Directors were Stephanie Patton, editor and publisher of The Leland Progress, and Clay Foster, publisher and CEO of Journal, Inc., the parent company of the Daily Journal in Tupelo.
Established in 1866, MPA is the trade association for 120 member publications. Mississippi Press Services, founded in 1978, is a business subsidiary to MPA that provides advertising representation for member papers.