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Wilson, Norton to be inducted into MPA Hall of Fame

Tuesday, June 13, 2017   (0 Comments)
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The longtime chief executive of the state newspaper trade group and a veteran educator and journalist will be inducted into the Mississippi Press Association Hall of Fame July 8 in Biloxi.

Carolyn Wilson of Sandy Hook, who served as executive director of the Association for 22 years, and Will Norton Jr. of Oxford, dean of the Meek School of Journalism and New Media, will join the hall of honorees, which was established in 1986 to recognize service to journalism and newspapers.


Wilson was one of only two employees when she joined the Association staff in 1982. She was promoted to executive director in 1985. Under her leadership, the organization grew to a peak of a dozen employees and handled over $5 million in advertising placements for its member papers through its business subsidiary, Mississippi Press Services.

An Arkansas native, Wilson worked on behalf of newspaper members on such cornerstone issues as open records and sunshine laws, as well as internships for journalism students and continuing education for member employees. She was also key in the purchase of two headquarters locations for MPA in 1987 and 2002.

She retired in 2007 but continued to consult with MPA on contract through 2009.

“Those years of Carolyn’s hard work, along with the leadership of board members through the decades, has ensured MPA continues to be in a strong position to serve its members during an age of rapid change in our industry,” said MPA Executive Director Layne Bruce. “She certainly deserves this honor, and we couldn’t be happier for her.”

Norton returned to Mississippi and Ole Miss in 2009 as dean of the Meek School. He holds a Ph.D. in Mass Communications from the University of Iowa and a Master of Arts in Journalism from Indiana University.

A partner in The South Reporter in Holly Springs, Norton previously served as chair of the Department of Journalism at Ole Miss from 1977-1990. He later served as dean of the College of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Since his return to Ole Miss, the Meek School has experienced tremendous growth in enrollment and in scholarship dollars earned by its students.

He has been an active member both for MPA and the Nebraska Press Association, where he was inducted into the Journalism Hall of Fame in 2009.

Norton has been key in establishing newspaper “reporting expeditions” to member papers. Funded by the MPA Education Foundation, the trips allow a team of journalism majors to work over the course of several days on assignment for member newspapers.

“Will is a tremendous advocate for excellence in both the curriculum and practice of journalism,” Bruce said. “He’s also has been invaluable in strengthening the relationship between Ole Miss and our member newspapers.”

The pair will be inducted during the closing luncheon of the MPA-LPA Joint Convention at the Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino. Information on tickets or registration can be found here.

Inductees into the Hall of Fame are chosen by a committee comprised of past honorees and past presidents of MPA. Details on the Hall of Fame and a complete list of past inductees can be found at the MPA website.

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