Mid-Winter Conference next week

A full slate of programs on newspaper topics is scheduled for next week's Mid-Winter Conference, Feb. 7-9 in downtown Jackson. Registration remains open through the end of the day Friday.

The event kicks off Thursday evening with MPA's annual legislative reception and the 2012 MPA Education Foundation Roast of BancorpSouth Chairman Aubrey Patterson. The event will be held at the Jackson Marriott. The reception begins at 6; dinner and the roast at 8 pm. Roastmaster will be MPA Past President Sid Salter and panelists include Gov. Phil Bryant, IHL Commissioner Dr. Hank Bounds, MEC President and CEO Blake Wilson, Tupelo-Lee County Community Development Foundation CEO David Rumbarger and Clarion-Ledger Editorial Cartoonist Marshall Ramsey.

Friday and Saturday Mid-Winter events will be held at the King Edward Hilton Garden Inn on Capitol Street, site of the 2011 conference. Sessions begin Friday with an introductory presentation by former college and pro football player Paul Lacoste, whose Fit for Change program has brought fitness and tremendous weight loss to members of the Mississippi Legislature in recent years. The address sets the stage for a day's worth of programming on embracing change and shaping up after a period of adversity.

Tony Casale of American Opinion Research, a national firm recently retained to conduct MPA's 2013 statewide readership survey, will lead a general session on industry trends and what can be done to improve the public's perception of newspapers.

Other speakers include perennial favorites Lisa Griffin of Boone Newspapers and "Mr. Magazine" Dr. Samir Husni of the Meek School of Journalism and New Media. Session topics include "What Advertisers Need from Newspapers," "Strategies for Competing in the Digital Age," and "Why Publishers Need Print in the Digital Age." Griffin will lead sessions on popular software programs Photoshop and InDesign. A roundtable for publishers and general managers and a separate one for ad managers and sales reps will wind down Friday afternoon, covering common goals and challenges for member papers.

The event again comes to a close with the annual Better Newspaper Contest Awards Luncheon. Emcees for the event will be Stephanie Patton, publisher and editor, of The Leland Progress and Marshall Ramsey of The Clarion-Ledger.

More details at the Mid-Winter webpage.

Gun permits bill blazes through House

The Mississippi House voted Tuesday to exempt conceal-carry gun permits from the Open Records Act. The move came after a quick review in committee and a vote of 101-18 on the House floor.

MPA objected to HB 485, stating any added exemptions to open records in Mississippi sets bad precedent.

"Keeping an eye on government is essential," said MPA President Jim Prince, president of Prince Newspaper Holdings and publisher of The Neshoba Democrat in Philadelphia and Madison County Journal in Ridgeland. "If government insists on keeping records on gun owners, citizens should be able to view those records."

"The general public has a right to know that the person down the street or around the corner has a permit to carry concealed weapons," Democratic Rep. David Myers of McComb told the Associated Press.

The bill now heads to the Senate and consideration in the Senate Judiciary A committee, chaired by Sen. Briggs Hopson of Vicksburg. Members who have senators from their area serving on the committee are urged to reach out and express their opinion on the bill.

Click here to see a list of Senate committees and who serves on Judiciary A.
Click here for contact information for your local senator.

Deadline for editorial contest entries is March 5

Criteria and entry packets are now available for the 2012 Better Newspaper Contest. Entry deadline is Tuesday, March 5 at 5 p.m.

Winners will be presented during the 147th Annual Convention, Saturday, June 22 at the Beau Rivage Resort in Biloxi.

There have been some important changes to the contest this cycle; please read through the entry packets thoroughly and let contest coordinator Monica Gilmer know if you need additional information. Here is a brief summary of what is new this year...
  • Magazine Periodical – A new Magazine Periodical category has been added for newspapers who publish general interest slick-glossy publications that are distributed separately from the newspaper (magazines that are distributed separately but also are inserted into the newspaper are also eligible). This category is modeled after a similar one in the advertising division that has proved to be very popular.
  • Personality Portrait – The Personality Portrait photo category has been revived after being eliminated from the contest about five years ago.
  • Best Lede – Patterned after the "Best Headline" category, this new addition will recognize clever and well-written ledes in news reporting (general, sports, feature).
  • Additional entry allowed per category – Most entry limits have been upped from three to four in each of the reporting, commentary and visual categories. This means you and your newspaper have more chances to win.
  • Bill Minor Prize for Investigative Reporting – Thanks to the generosity of an anonymous benefactor, there will be two winners chosen for the Bill Minor Prize for Investigative Journalism – one each from a daily and weekly newspaper.
In the meantime, volunteers from MPA are needed to assist in judging the editorial and advertising contests of the Hoosier State Press Association. All judging will be conducted online; no travel will be necessary to Jackson or other venues. Contact Monica Gilmer at MPA if you are interested in assisting. Reciprocal judging is very important in the conducting of state contests.

Job Bank highlights

Recent job postings listed with MPA include a general assignment reporter with The Daily Leader in Brookhaven, photojournalist with the Daily Journal in Tupelo, and Starkville bureau reporter for The Commercial Dispatch. Find out more on these jobs and many others at the MPA Job Bank.

Have a posting for the Job Bank? Email member services coordinator Monica Gilmer. It's a free listing for MPA member newspapers or professionals seeking employment in-state.


Feb. 7              MPA-MPS Board Meetings
Feb. 7              MPAEF Board Meeting
Feb. 7              MPAEF Benefit Roast
Feb. 7-9           MId-Winter Conference
March 28         O.C. McDavid Journalism Conference
Click here to visit the MPA Calendar


Ohio paper adopts innovative print technology

From International Business Times
“I’m old-school,” Benjamin Marrison, editor of the Columbus Dispatch, said, affirming his love for the printed word at a time when the printed word is facing unprecedented challenges. The affirmation was made during a phone interview less than 36 hours before Ohio’s third-largest newspaper was set to become the first in the country to debut an innovative new printing technology. The technology, dubbed “three-around printing,” has been in development for several years, but newspaper companies have been apprehensive about being the first to try it.

How mobile devices empower journalists

From Poynter
The good news for reporters today is that the advent of smartphones has made it possible for them to do part of their job with nothing more than a phone. The bad news is, the practice of “mobile reporting” is still so much in its infancy that there are limited resources and experts out there for guidance.

Internet influences print newspaper design

From Neiman Journalism Lab

If you picked up a print copy of The New York Times recently you would have seen a little note from the editor on the first page of the Science Times section addressing a larger, subtle print redesign for the Times’ features pages. The sections were created in the 1970s under Abe Rosenthal and haven’t undergone a full redesign since then. But unlike with some newsprint reboots, the Times wouldn’t mind if you didn’t notice the change.