Newspapers, journalists rewarded for their excellence

BILOXI, Miss. — The Tupelo, Columbus, Greenwood, Laurel, “and Charleston newspapers were honored for excellence in coverage and content at the annual meeting of the Mississippi Press Association.

The Daily Journal in Tupelo, The Commercial Dispatch of Columbus, The Greenwood Commonwealth, the Laurel Leader-Call, The Wayne County News and The Sun-Sentinel in Charleston were recognized for overall excellence in the annual Better Newspaper Media competition Contest awarded. Saturday in Biloxi.

Ray Mosby, editor and publisher of the Deer Creek Pilot at Rolling Fork, received the J. Oliver Emmerich Award for Editorial Excellence. A two-time recipient, Mosby was honored for his editorial comments addressing issues such as the ‘defund the police’ movement, the Covid-19 pandemic and a call to change the state flag of Mississippi.

The contest judges called his work “fearless”.

“And fearless victories,” the judges wrote.

The winner of the Bill Minor Prize for Investigative Journalism for Daily Newspapers was Isabelle Taft of the Sun Herald at Biloxi and Report for America. His winning work covered a Picayune murder case and social media rumors that persisted following it.

Jamie Patterson of the Yazoo Herald won the Minor Investigative Journalism Award for Weekly Newspapers for articles focusing on the Yazoo County Jail.

“This series demonstrates the journalist’s initiative and willingness to delve into a highly controversial subject,” the judges said.

It was the fourth time Patterson has won the minor award since 2010.

Alissa Zhu, a former Clarion-Ledger reporter in Jackson, won the Bill Minor Prize for General News among dailies for reporting on deaths at Parchman State Prison.

“An incredible and well-documented story, told from many angles,” the judges commented on Zhou’s work. “Great report.”

Jason Collum, editor of The Baldwyn News, received the minor award for general news reporting among weekly newspapers. He was honored for his look at how lower sales tax collections during the Covid-19 pandemic could potentially impact the city of Baldwyn budget and city programs.

The winners of the Minor Awards receive a generous cash prize from a fund established in 2003 by Mr. and Mrs. Tim Medley of Jackson in memory of Minor’s long career as a Mississippi reporter.

Jack Hammett of the Laurel Leader-Call received the 2020 Photo of the Year award (top right) for his coverage of the aftermath of the Jones County tornado.

Margaret Baker and Alyssa Newton of the Sun Herald received the Daniel M. Phillips Freedom of Information Award for reporting on body camera images and 911 audio linked to a domestic violence case involving a coast lawmaker of the Gulf.

“Fighting for the body camera footage and the recording of the 911 call in this case was a strong public service and hopefully set the tone for local lawmakers, public safety officials. and to the police that the newspaper will protect and defend the public’s right to know, ”the judges wrote.

Staff at The Greenwood Commonwealth received the Community Service Award for covering high electricity tariffs sold to residents of Itta Bena, an impoverished town in the Mississippi Delta. The series of articles eventually caught the attention of the Mississippi State Auditor, the Public Services Commission, and the National Media.

“Impressive and in-depth reporting on an important issue,” the judges said. “That’s what the newspapers are instructed to do.”

The 2020 Better Newspaper competition was judged by volunteers from the Georgia Press Association. Thirty-four newspapers submitted a total of 1,623 entries for this year’s editorial competition.

“We congratulate all of the winners of this year’s competition,” said MPA President Kevin Cooper, Senior Vice President of Boone Newspapers, Inc. “This demonstrates the very hard work they all have done over the course of this year. ‘a year full of extraordinary challenges for the community. ”

Advertising Excellence Awards will be presented in February at the MPA Mid-Winter Conference.

Founded in 1866 and now in its 155th year, the MPA is a professional association representing the Mississippi media.

SEE THE FULL LIST OF WINNERS

WATCH THE BNC AWARDS SLIDESHOW

DOWNLOAD THE BNC AWARDS WINNERS ‘BOOK

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