RIVER CITY EXPEDITION – Vicksburg Post publisher Tim Reeves, left) and Dean Will Norton of the Meek School of Journalism and New Media at Ole Miss talk shop during a recent visit. Norton, along with MPA President Joel McNeece, publisher of The Calhoun County Journal, and Executive Director Layne Bruce recently paid a visit to newspapers in Vicksburg, Brandon, Port Gibson, Woodville, Collins, Hattiesburg and Columbia.

Sunshine Week is March 15-21

Sunshine Week, an annual observance of access to public information and what it means to local communities, will be held March 15-21. 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.

Additionally, MPA, in collaboration with the Mississippi Center for Freedom of Information, will make state-relevant columns available to members by March 11. Reporters will be notified by email when the material is available for download.

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.

McDavid Conference to focus on FOI issues

Collegiate journalists will gather in Ridgeland March 26 for the annual O.C. McDavid Conference. The event will be held at the Mississippi Craft Center and is sponsored by the MPA Education Foundation.

Leonard Van Slyke, attorney for the Mississippi Center for Freedom of Information, will present a program on the Mississippi Open Meetings and Public Records Acts, engaging students in drills and case studies on Mississippi law. Van Slyke, an attorney with the Brunini firm in Jackson, is one of the leading experts on Sunshine Laws in the state and regularly acts as a FOI consultant for MPA and its members.

The event honors the journalism and artistic career of the late O.C. McDavid, former editor of the Jackson Daily News. About 75 journalism and communications students and educators are expected to attend. Admission is free through a grant from the MPA Education Foundation.

Lunch will be served at the event, which culminates with the presentation of the 2014 Better Newspaper Contest Student Division Awards.

For more information or to register for the event, email Foundation coordinator Beth Boone.

Editorial contest deadline is March 24

Criteria for the 2014 Better Newspaper Contest is now available at MPA's contest website. The deadline to enter the contest is Tuesday, March 24.

This will be the first contest cycle where members will enter using an online submission process for most categories. Complete instructions for the new process are available on the web and with the downloadable criteria. MPA staff members are available by phone or email to help members work through the upload and registration process.

Judging for this year’s contest will be handled by the North Carolina Press Association. Awards will be handed out June 20 at the Louisiana-Mississippi Joint Convention in New Orleans.

For more details on the contest and entry process, contact member services manager Monica Gilmer, 601-981-3060.

Women's Council on Philanthropy to honor Overby

The Ole Miss Women's Council for Philanthropy will honor Charles Overby, a champion of the First Amendment and the free press, with the 2015 Legacy Award this spring at the University of Mississippi.

Overby will receive the Legacy Award, presented by C Spire, at a dinner April 18 at Carrier House, home of Chancellor Dan and Lydia Jones on the Oxford campus.


'Innovate 2015' conference at UM to focus on new media

The Meek School of Journalism and New Media will be hosting the 2nd annual New Media Conference, INNOVATE 2015 on April 9th.

INNOVATE 2015 will be held in Farley and Overby Center in the Meek School of Journalism and New Media on the University’s campus. The conference will start off Thursday morning with keynote speaker Lewis D’Vorkin, Chief Product Officer at Forbes Media, and Samir Husni, Professor Meek School of Journalism and New Media.

Other speakers at the conference will include Hank Price, General Manager, Hearst Corporation, Fred Anklam, Senior Editor, USA Today, Deb Wenger, Professor of Journalism Meek School of Journalism, RJ Morgan, Assistant Professor of the Meek School of Journalism and Jay Leveton, Chief Executive Officer, Penn Schoen Berland.


Why the Brian Williams 'story' matters

Years ago, I made an egregious, very painful error in reporting a breaking news story for a small daily paper. (We called it “spot news” back then.)

The Internet was just a nascent plaything at the time and this story, about a tragic automobile accident, ended up being committed to print on the front page of the paper the next morning.

In the story, I had transposed the names of the individual who had been killed in the wreck and that of the driver of the other car.  To make an already remarkably sloppy error even more regrettable, the two drivers involved were both young men with, as they say, their lives ahead of them.

So the paper – in point of fact, I – had misreported the identity of the victim and the other involved party.

None the wiser to my error, I sauntered into the newsroom the next morning to begin what would ultimately become the worst day of my professional life.

I should have been fired.


Read the winter edition of the Fourth Estate
The winter edition of the 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.


Luke Horton has been named publisher of the Daily Leader and president of Brookhaven NewsMedia. He has been serving as publisher of the Newton County Appeal in Union. In Brookhaven, he succeeds Otis RaybonStephanie Patton, publisher of The Leland Progress, is the 2015 chair of Leadership Mississippi, an annual program of the Mississippi Economic Council. She is a prior graduate of the program and a member of the MPA-MPS Board of Directors…Warren Kulo,  a reporter for The Mississippi Press in Pascagoula, received Warren Willams Award, from the American Psychiatric Association Assembly, an elected representation of psychiatrists all across the US and Canada. Kulo was nominated for coverage over a three year period on the the refusal of the City of Ocean Spring to grant a use permit for Psycamore Psychiatric Programs... John Dilmore has been named publisher of The Daily Progress in Claremore, Okla. He is a graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi and started his newspaper career in the Magnolia State.

March 24     BNC Editorial Division entry deadline
March 26     McDavid Journalism Conference, Mississippi Craft Center, Ridgeland
March 26     Webinar – Successful Interviewing in Emotional Situations
April 9          INNOVATE 2015 New Media Conference, Meek School of Journalism, Ole Miss
April 10        MPA-MPS Board Meeting, Overby Center, Ole Miss
June 18-20  Joint LPA-MPA Convention, Loews Hotel, New Orleans

Fox News, O'Reilly circle wagons in onslaught

From The New York Times

Hours after the news broke that Brian Williams had misrepresented his account of a helicopter trip in Iraq, he issued an on-air apology. NBC News started an investigation, and within days had suspended Mr. Williams, calling his actions “wrong and completely inappropriate.” When the magazine Mother Jones reported that Bill O’Reilly had engaged in self-aggrandizing rhetoric about his coverage of the Falklands war, he called one of the authors of the article “an irresponsible guttersnipe” and used his nightly show to fight back against his accusers. His bosses at Fox News, including the chief executive, Roger Ailes, rallied to his defense.

McClatchy Co. plans reorganization, increased focus on digital

From NAA

mcclatchy logoThe McClatchy Company has announced plans to reorganize its corporate operations, including expanding its sales and marketing efforts and integrating McClatchy Interactive, the company's digital hub, into the rest of the company.

"[The] announcement is another step forward in our digital transformation," said Pat Talamantes, McClatchy's president and CEO.

Scottish trade group launches newspaper campaign

From The Courier (Scotland)

Leading business figures have signed up to a major show of support for the Scottish newspaper industry. Property tycoon Donald Trump and retail manager Anne Ledgerwood are among the list of 100 to recognise the sector’s continued importance. They added their names to the document celebrating the key role newspapers play as a means of communication as part of a new campaign launched by the Scottish Newspaper Society (SNS).

Publishers move to Facebook as de facto CMS

From The AWL

Facebook’s chief product officer recently told Re/code that the social media company is talking with publishers about a way to host publishers’ content. The offer is explained as a way for publishers to deliver a better mobile content experience, reach more people, and share in the Facebook revenue. John Herrman explains why some publishers might go for this and ignore concerns about uploading whole articles. “That worry can be rationalized away … and publishers can begin to think of Facebook, if it helps, as something like a new version of WordPress with a money plugin.”