R.J. Morgan, executive director of the Mississippi Scholastic Press Association and "Farley." Morgan will demonstrate the use of drones newsgathering March 24 at the annual O.C. McDavid Journalism Conference.

Drones to fly over McDavid Conference

Drones, a hot topic now in newsrooms and First Amendment debates, will fly over the annual O.C. McDavid Journalism Conference in Jackson this month.

Collegiate journalists will gather in at the Mississippi Children’s Museum  for the annual event sponsored by the MPA Education Foundation.

R.J. Morgan, director of the Mississippi Scholastic Press Association, will demonstrate the use of drones and talk with students about the use of the devices in newsgathering.

The conference honors the journalism and artistic career of the late O.C. McDavid, former editor of the Jackson Daily News. About 65 journalism and communications students and educators are expected to attend. Admission is free through a grant from MPAEF.

Lunch will be served at the event, which culminates with the presentation of the 2015 Better Newspaper Contest Student Division Awards.

For more information or to register for the event, email Member Services Manager Monica Gilmer.

Sunshine Week is March 13-19

Sunshine Week, an annual observance of access to public information and what it means to local communities, will be held March 13-19. The event is coordinated by the American Society of News Editors and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.

Toolkits for newspaper editors can be accessed at the Sunshine Week website.

With an inaugural grant from John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, which has continued to support the effort, Sunshine Week was launched by the ASNE in March 2005. This non-partisan, non-profit initiative is celebrated in mid-March each year to coincide with James Madison’s birthday on March 16.

In 2011, the RCFP joined ASNE as a national co-coordinator of Sunshine Week, enabling the organizations to join forces and resources to produce toolkit materials for participants and keep the website and social media sites engaged.

MPA to host Day at Capitol April 7

As part of its sesquicentennial year observance, MPA will host a Day at the Capitol Thursday, April 7, for members and associates.

"This is the first time in many years the Association has coordinated a day where members are invited to come to the Capitol and show the strength of our membership," said MPA President Joel McNeece, publisher of The Calhoun County Journal. "It will be an important opportunity to show how far reaching our industry is in the state of Mississippi."

As part of the observance, there will be a special display of newspaper front pages representing all of MPA's 110 members.

"We hope it becomes an annual event," McNeece said. "But it's definitely important to us to have members show up in great numbers during our anniversary year to remind legislators of the impact and resilience of newspapers."

A continental breakfast will be served in the first floor of the rotunda where the newspaper exhibit will be on display beginning at 8 AM.

Publishers and editors will be encouraged to visit with their local legislators during the half-day event, as well as sit in on hearings and in the galleries of the Senate and House chambers, and to visit the Capitol press corps newsroom.

More information on the event will be coming to members later in March.

Summer internship program open for applications

Applications to participate in the annual MPA Education Foundation Internship Program are now available and due by April 15.

A criteria change this year to the program requires newspapers to identify an eligible intern before they apply to MPAEF for funding. Additionally, preference will be given to students pursuing a degree in journalism, communications or related fields. See the application and cover letter for full details.

“These changes were made by the MPAEF Board to better focus the program on helping students who are the best prospects to end up in a newspaper or related journalism career,” said MPA Executive Director Layne Bruce.

Applying newspapers will be notified of their acceptance in the program by April 29.

While newspapers are responsible for selecting their own interns, MPA will keep profiles of interested student candidates on file. Contact Member Services Manager Monica Gilmer to select to receive information on qualified candidates as it becomes available.

Postal rates expected to decline in April

Community newspapers face the classic good news-bad news scenario in an announcement that postage prices will decline April 10.

The good news is that the First Class Mail stamp price will fall to 47 cents and mailing classes used by newspapers will decline 3 percent to 5 percent.

The bad news is that the financial relief is temporary, and the consequences could be severe to the already-worrisome service levels.


PNRC opposes EPA request on eliminate public notices

The Public Notice Resource Center (PNRC) this week filed comments urging the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) not to deprive the public of newspaper notices relating to the approval of permits under the Clean Air Act (CAA). EPA is considering notifying the public about CAA permits only on a government website.

PNRC was joined in the comments by the 41 other organizations, including MPA, representing newspapers and journalists.


The Donald does not understand libel law

Donald Trump said today, "I'm gonna open up our libel laws, so when they write purposely negative and horrible, false articles, we can sue them and win lots of money." The specific media outlets he mentioned were the New York Times and The Washington Post.

The first thing to understand is that under the landmark Supreme Court case of New York Times vs. Sullivan, it was determined that news organizations could be found liable when they deliberately publish false information. The specific standard is "actual malice." So if Mr. Trump wants to address media organizations that "write purposely negative and horrible, false articles" then the law is already established as to his rights to do that.


Read the latest edition of Fourth Estate
The winter edition of Fourth Estate, MPA's quarterly newspaper, is now available online. Printed copies were also mailed to all members. If you or your staff have news to share through the monthly eBulletin or Fourth Estate, let us know.


Longtime Oxford Eagle publisher and co-owner Jesse Phillips died Sunday after a lengthy illness. Funeral services will be Wednesday at First Baptist Church of Oxford. Mr. Phillips is a past president of MPA (1977) and member of the Association Hall of Fame (2000)… Dee Andrews, a former lifestyles reporter for the Picayune Item, died Feb. 16 in Lubbock, Texas. She was the wife of retired Picayune Item publisher and past MPA President Tom Andrews (2007)… Glen Nardi, publisher of the SunHerald since 2010, has announced his retirement effective the end of March. A search is underway for his successor… Columbia Journalism Review recently published a feature on noted author and journalist David Halberstam’s early and brief tenure at West Point’s Daily Times Leader.

March 1 » Better Newspaper Contest Editorial Division entry deadline
March 10 » Webinar — Using Excel As a Reporting Tool
March 16-18 » NNA Community Newspaper Leadership Summit and Printer’s Workshop
March 24  » O.C. McDavid Journalism Conference, Mississippi Craft Center, Ridgeland
March 25 » Webinar – Growing Your Digital Audience
June 16-18 » 150th Annual MPA Convention, Golden Nugget Hotel & Casino, Biloxi
» ‘Spotlight’ wins Best Picture Oscar » Adweek
» Who watches the watchers of state campaign finance? » The Clarion-Ledger
» Inserts hang on in the digital age » MediaLife Magazine
» Newspaper adviser fired after student scoop roils campus » The New York Times
» Is Donald Trump a threat to democracy? » The Washington Post
» Denver Post cuts back editorial pages » Columbia Journalism Review
» Smaller papers faring better in modern media landscape » MediaLife Magazine