Members of the panel at the 2016 Celebrity Roast of Congressman Gregg Harper rise to salute the honoree. Pictured are Gov. Phil Bryant (from left), Jere Nash, Holly Wagner, emcee Sid Salter and Harper.

Nearly $40K raised for MPAEF at Harper roast

Good humor and a gracious honoree mixed well to make the annual MPA Education Foundation Roast of Congressman Gregg Harper one of the most successful fundraisers in the event’s 26-year history.

Nearly $40,000 was raised through sponsorships and ticket sales at the Jan. 28 event. Proceeds will benefit the scholarship, internship and grant programs of MPAEF.

“This was the largest crowd we have ever had in attendance,” said MPA Executive Director Layne Bruce. “We couldn’t be more pleased nor could we be more grateful to the Congressman for his support of the event.”

Harper was honored at the outset of the annual Mid-Winter Conference. Roast panelists included Gov. Phil Bryant, authors and political consultants Andy Taggart and Jere Nash, and Mississippi Speaker Pro Tempore Greg Snowden. Longtime political columnist and MPA Past President Sid Salter emceed the event.

Bruce said the 2011 Roast of Mississippi State University President Dr. Mark Keenum took in slightly more than $41,000 and retains the record as the most financially successful.

BlueCross BlueShield of Mississippi served as Diamond Sponsor for the event. Gold sponsors included AT&T, C Spire, Nucor Steel and the Mississippi Economic Council.

Founded in 1983, MPAEF provides financial assistance and internships for students of journalism or communications attending Mississippi institutions of higher learning. MPAEF also provides grants to in-state schools for the instruction of journalism.

» Click here for a photo album from the event.

Newspapers lauded for advertising excellence

Five newspapers have been singled out for general excellence in the 2015 Better Newspaper Contest Advertising Division awards handed out Saturday at the annual Mid-Winter Conference in Jackson.

The Natchez Democrat, The Oxford Eagle, The Northside Sun of Jackson, The Magee Courier and The Clarksdale Press Register each took home Advertising Excellence honors in their respective circulation classes.

LeAnne Hughes of the Delta Democrat Times captured the Advertisement of the Year honors (photo right) for a full color ad for Kellebrew Farm Services. The award comes with a $500 cash prize for Hughes. She was presented the award by MPA President Joel McNeece of The Calhoun County Journal.

The weekly Columbian-Progress and daily Natchez Democrat both won the Silver Dollar Idea Award for a Class of 2027 special section and annual Profile edition, respectively.

» Click here to see a complete list of winners in the contest.

Awards for editorial excellence will be handed out in June during the 150th Annual Convention at the Golden Nugget Casino in Biloxi. The deadline for entries into the contest is March 1 and criteria and entry instructions can be found here.

» Click here for photos from the awards ceremony

GAC agenda includes bill on special meetings notice

A bill that will improve the notice time for special called meetings of public bodies leads the MPA legislative agenda for 2016.

The Government Affairs Committee met Jan. 30 to discuss legislation that would improve notice times for special meetings of city, county, school and other boards over existing requirements. Current law only mandates a public body post a notice about a special called meeting within 60 minutes of choosing to meet.

A bill will be filed that would call for 24 hours notice before special meetings and a provision local media is alerted.

Also on the agenda this session is legislation to allow for the advertisement of liquor sales in newspapers statewide, regardless of the wet or dry status of a particular county or municipality.

Additionally, a bill will be filed to remove the ban and criminal penalties for the advertisement of lotteries.

The first major date on the legislative calendar arrives Feb. 18 and is the deadline for making requests for general bills to be drafted.

Much has changed in 10 years, but not everything

My first day on the job with MPA was a Monday 10 years ago. It was the Monday before that year’s Mid-Winter Conference, actually.

In retrospect, that doesn’t seem like the best time to start a new gig. There’s a special kind of craziness that goes on around this office on the week of meetings. But our Member Services Manager Monica Gilmer reminded me it could be worse: She started a few days prior to Hurricane Katrina’s landfall in 2005. The ensuing weeks are a time period of which the long-timers around here are not very fond.

Nevertheless, my first few days, weeks and months here were unlike any of my previous – and numerous – work experiences. For one, I had always worked at newspapers. Starting at my hometown paper, my days and weeks had been a steady stream of deadlines. Some big. Some small. All important.


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.


Alexander Gould has been named publisher of The Meridian Star. He most recently was integrated sales director for M. Roberts Media in Texas. He succeeds Tim HolderLinda Gilmore has returned to the Picayune Item as publisher. She previously spent four years in charge of the daily newspaper… Former Clarion-Ledger publisher Jason Taylor has been replaced as chief executive of The Las Vegas Review Journal by a former publisher of USA Today.

Feb. 12 » Webinar — Social Journalism: The keys to connecting with your audience
Feb. 25 » Webinar — Resisting Regurgitation: Proactive storytelling for today’s readers
Feb. 26 » Webinar — Personalizing the Customer Experience
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
June 16-18 » 150th Annual MPA Convention, Golden Nugget Hotel & Casino, Biloxi
» Fired by his family, Hederman makes NY Book Review his second act » Global Journalism
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» State of alternative newsweeklies: Grim » MediaLife Magazine
» Final front page of Canadian paper nearly perfect »