Tupelo, Lee County took direct hit – A large twister moves across north Tupelo near the Mall at Barnes Crossing Monday. The storm caused widespread damage to residential areas (below) and the main business district at crosstown. Photos by Thomas Wells/Daily Journal

Newspapers cover major tornado outbreak

Reporters scrambled Monday night and Tuesday to cover a major outbreak of tornadoes across Mississippi that left as many as six people dead and caused major damage in Tupelo, Louisville, Brandon and other communities.

Publishers in affected communities said all of their staff members were safe following the outbreak. No property damage to newspaper facilities was reported.

The Tupelo area was one of the hardest hit during the Monday afternoon storms. Richard Crenshaw, advertising director for The Daily Journal, said some staffers had damage at their homes but that everyone was safe.

Jim Clark, publisher of the Lee County Courier, said Tuesday morning his co-workers are safe and the office undamaged.

Personnel at WTVA, the Tupelo NBC affiliate, evacuated the studio during live on-the-air coverage of the strike.

Attention has turned to storm coverage even as Mississippi braced for another round of potentially severe weather Tuesday afternoon.

"It was really wild," said Clarion-Ledger Executive Editor Brian Tolley. "I've been through a hurricane, but never an storms like this."

Joseph McCain, publisher and editor of the Winston County Journal, said the worst damage in Louisville was at the local hospital. The facility is located on Main Street just to the east of the main business district.

"It was close, but all of our people are OK and our office didn't have any damage," he said Monday night.

McCain, like many other reporters, was sending constant updates out through Twitter (@wcjournal). The social media site has become a vital tool to share warnings, storm predictions and coverage of breaking news in real time.

People in homes or businesses without electricity during the height of the storms were still able to keep up to date on mobile devices via Twitter and other social media updates from newspapers, local media and agencies such as MEMA and the National Weather Service.

Emergency response officials encourage donations to either the Red Cross or Salvation Army to assist with recovery efforts.

Newseum exec is keynote speaker for joint convention

The chief operating officer of the Newseum Institute is the scheduled keynote speaker for the 2014 MPA-LPA Joint Convention in Biloxi.

Gene Policinski, a veteran journalist, is Chief Operating Officer of the Newseum Institute. He oversees the education and outreach programs associated with the institute and its initiatives at Ole Miss and other universities.

He co-authors the weekly syndicated column "Inside the First Amendment" and is host and executive producer of the institute's new digital program on the news media, "Journalism/Works."

Policinski's address will kick off the joint convention June 20 at the IP Casino Resort.

Registration for the convention is now open.

Program highlights include a panel discussion on the 50th Anniversary of Mississippi's Freedom Summer, the historic 1964 movement to register African American voters. Other editorial topics include sessions on multimedia journalism, Freedom of Information, and a presentation by Larry McCormack, photojournalist for The Tennessean in Nashville.

Events will culminate June 21 at noon with the annual presentation of the Better Newspaper Contest Editorial Division awards.

For more information on the convention, contact member services manager Monica Gilmer, 601-981-3060.

Better Newspaper Contest goes online in 2015

The advertising and editorial contests administered by MPA will move online in 2015 for both entry submission and judging.

The MPA Board of Directors voted at its April meeting in Oxford to join neighboring states of Louisiana, Tennessee and Alabama in moving the Better Newspaper Contest to an online platform. Dozens of other press associations have also made the switch in recent years.

"This move is a long time in coming but we believe it will ultimately make the process of entering the contest much easier for our members," said Layne Bruce, MPA-MPS executive director.

The first zmpS contest to move online will be the 2014 BNC Editorial Division deadlining in March 2015.

"We hope that by giving everyone plenty of advance notice that we can work through many growing pains early and properly address concerns of our members," Bruce said.

The next cycle of the BNC Advertising Division deadlining this October will still be administered "the old fashioned way," Bruce said.

Training webinars will be scheduled for later this year, he said, and two workshops will be available at the Mid-Winter Conference in January for members who want first-hand experience with the new system before entering.

MPA has entered into an agreement with Inois Press Association to use its proprietary ICES contest platform. MPA members will submit PDF entries online now to enter the editorial and advertising contests in lieu of standard tearsheets. Bruce said judging will also take place online by volunteer members of other state press associations.

"Many of our members already have some experience with these platforms by judging other state contests," Bruce said. "The systems have advanced a lot in recent years and are now much more user friendly."

Bruce added that not all contest categories will immediately be judged online. "Some of the more involved categories like General Excellence and certain special sections will still be judged as physical entries."

For more information on the contest changes, contact Bruce, 601-981-3060.

Starkville event to honor longtime professor

The longtime director of the Stennis institute of Government at Mississippi State will be honored with a tribute dinner April 22 marking his retirement.

Dr. Marty Wiseman, a longtime professor and frequent associate of MPA, will be honored with a special dinner and scholarship endowment. The event will be held at the Hilton Garden Inn in Starkville from 6-9 pm. Tickets are $35. Contributions are also being solicited for scholarship endowment that will be established in Wiseman's honor.

Click here for more information on the event.


Stacia King has been named director of sales and marketing for The Clarion-Ledger and related products. She has been overseeing sales operations at LSJ Media for Gannett Michigan. In Jackson, she succeeds Roland Weeks Jr. ... Jonece Dunigan, a recent graduate of Ole Miss' School of Journalism and a recent participant in the National Newspaper Association Foundation News Fellows program, has been named a staff reporter for the Decatur (Ala.) Daily ... A North Lee County Water Association's outside maintenance supervisor said he was fired for what he called retaliation for sharing a public document with the Daily Journal in Tupelo. 

Read more here: http://www.sunherald.com/2013/08/26/4900783/ole-miss-project-wins-rfk-journalism.html#storylink=cpy

May 9       Webinar – Taming the Email Beast
May 15     Webinar – Selling the Digital Value Proposition
May 26     Memorial Day. MPA office closed
June 19    MPA Education Foundation Board Meeting, IP Casino Spa Resort, Biloxi
June 19    MPA-LPA Joint Convention, IP Casino Spa Resort, Biloxi
June 20    MPA-MPS Board Meeting, IP Casino Spa Resort, Biloxi

Click here to visit the MPA Calendar

Fewer English majors but more journalism majors

From The Washington Post

College is still generally a good investment, when you compare the job prospects of those with and without bachelor’s degrees. But if college students really want to maximize their earnings, they might make some different choices about what they study.

A year later, Bezos deal leads to WaPo resurgence

From USA Today
What a difference a billionaire makes. It wasn't that long ago that The Washington Post was reeling, shedding staff and trimming ambitions as ad revenue plummeted. Then last summer the Graham family, which owned it and loved it, decided the iconic news organization would have better prospects in the hands (and with the deep pockets) of Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos.

Disney wanted Buzzfeed, but price was too high

From CNNMoney
The Walt Disney Co. was in talks to acquire online content juggernaut BuzzFeed earlier this year, Fortune has learned. Talks apparently broke down over price -- with BuzzFeed said to have sought upwards of $1 billion -- and are not believed to still be active.