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Newspapers honored for editorial excellence

Monday, June 20, 2016   (0 Comments)
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BILOXI — Newspapers in Biloxi, Natchez, Oxford, Hattiesburg, Ridgeland and Charleston were singled out for excellence in their audience classes in awards handed out at the 150th Annual Convention of the Mississippi Press Association Saturday, June 25 on the Gulf Coast.

The Sun Herald of Biloxi, The Natchez Democrat, The Oxford Eagle, The Lamar Times in Hattiesburg, The Madison County Journal in Ridgeland and The Sun-Sentinel in Charleston won top honors for General Excellence in the annual Better Newspaper Contest Editorial Division.

Sam R. Hall, Executive Editor of The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, received the J. Oliver Emmerich Award for Editorial Excellence, the highest prize presented annually by the Association. Hall is a first-time winner of the award, named for the late Enterprise-Journal publisher J.O. Emmerich, considered the dean of Mississippi opinion writing. A graduate of Millsaps College and native of Tupelo, Hall is a longtime newspaperman who was named executive editor of the state’s largest newsroom in 2015.

Hall’s winning entry was an editorial that took to task the Jackson Public School District for hosting committee meetings in private, blocking access to the public and press.

Winners of the Bill Minor Prize for Investigative Journalism for Daily Newspapers are members of the Hattiesburg American newsroom for an editorial project examining the battle over incorporating the Bellevue community in Lamar County. The newsroom staff of The Lamar Times, also in Hattiesburg, was awarded the Minor Prize for Weekly Newspapers for in-depth reporting on the death police officers Liquori Tate and Benjamin Deen in the line of duty.

Zack Plair of The Commercial Dispatch was the winner of the Bill Minor Prize for General News Reporting for a story about municipal judges and city officials at odds over the role bond amounts should play in efforts to deter crime.

The investigative and general news prizes come with generous cash awards. Established in 1983, the Bill Minor Prizes are funded through an anonymous donation to the Community Foundation of Greater Jackson in honor of Minor’s long career as a reporter and columnist.

Tim Isbell of the Sun Herald in Biloxi won the Photo of the Year Award for a photo entitled “Field of Sparks,” taken during a pyrotechnics display prior to a University of Southern Mississippi home football game.

“We’re very proud of all winners in the 2015 contest,” said Layne Bruce, MPA executive director. “These award winners underscore the hard work men and women are doing every day at their newspapers, which are still the number one source for news and information in every county of the state.”

The 2015 Better Newspaper Contest was judged by volunteers from the Tennessee Press Association. Eighteen daily newspapers submitted 1,044 entries in the contest; 54 non-daily newspapers submitted 1,510 entries. Awards for advertising excellence will be handed out in January during MPA’s Mid-Winter Conference.

Founded in 1866 and celebrating its 150th anniversary in 2016, MPA is trade association representing Mississippi newspaper media.


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