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Newspapers honored for editorial excellence

Tuesday, June 23, 2015   (0 Comments)
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NEW ORLEANS – Newspapers in Jackson, Meridian, Natchez, Hattiesburg, and Columbia were recognized as Best in Show in awards handed out June 20 at the annual Mississippi Press Association convention.

The Clarion-Ledger, The Natchez Democrat, The Meridian Star, The Lamar Times, The Columbian-Progress, and the Mississippi Business Journal won top honors for General Excellence in their audience classes during the Better Newspaper Contest Editorial Division Awards Luncheon held at Loews New Orleans Hotel during the 2015 Joint LPA-MPA Convention.

Kevin Cooper,
publisher of The Natchez Democrat, received the J. Oliver Emmerich Award for Editorial Excellence, the highest prize presented annually by the Association. Cooper, who was also singled out for excellence in column writing, is a first-time winner of the award, named for the longtime Enterprise-Journal publisher Oliver Emmerich. A graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi, Cooper has been publisher of the Adams County daily since 2006.

Cooper’s winning editorial focused on a local legislator and her record of absenteeism in the Mississippi Legislature. The piece took Sen. Melanie Sojourner (R-Natchez) to task for missing votes and her time spent on running the U.S. Senate campaign of fellow state Sen. Chris McDaniel (R-Ellisville).

Winners of the Bill Minor Prize for Investigative Journalism for Daily Newspapers were Jerry Mitchell, Kate Royals and Emily Le Coz of The Clarion-Ledger. The trio was singled out for a long series of articles into Mississippi’s corrections system. Michael Simmons, associate editor and publisher of the Madison County Journal, won the prize for non-daily newspapers for a series of articles on planning and proposals for a new local airport.

Jesse Wright, editor of the Clarksdale Press Register, was the recipient of the Bill Minor Prize for General News Reporting. He was recognized for an article on the sentencing of a man convicted in the home invasion and assault of a local nun in 2012.

Established in 2003, the Bill Minor Prizes are funded through an anonymous donation via the Community Foundation of Greater Jackson in honor of Minor’s career as a reporter and columnist.

Joel McNeece, publisher of The Calhoun County Journal in Bruce, was presented the Photo of the Year Award for coverage of a house fire in Calhoun City.


"There is an outstanding assortment of entries and winners in this year's contest," said Layne Bruce, executive director of the press association. "In a time when audience attention is fragmented among print, digital and broadcast, community newspapers continue to provide the best source of local news and information for a over a million readers in Mississippi."

The 2014 Better Newspaper Contest was judged this spring by volunteers from the North Carolina Press Association. Fourteen daily newspapers and 43 non-daily newspapers submitted 2,704 entries in this year’s judging. Awards for excellence in advertising will be handed out in January during MPA’s Mid-Winter Conference, Jan. 30, at the Hilton Jackson.

Established in 1866, MPA is the trade association for 110 member publications and will mark its 150th anniversary in 2016. Mississippi Press Services, founded in 1978, is a business subsidiary to MPA that provides advertising representation for member papers.

Read a complete list of winners

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