Morley Piper, a World War II veteran, at the 70th anniversary ceremonies of D-Day in Normandy last June. (Photo courtesy AP)

D-Day veteran to give convention keynote

A World War II veteran who as a young Army lieutenant was a survivor of the Allied invasion of Normandy will be the opening keynote speaker at the LPA-MPA Joint Convention in New Orleans.

Morley L. Piper, a retired newspaper executive, was 19 when he took part in the invasion on the beaches of Normandy. He returned to France last year to take part in 70th anniversary ceremonies marking the invasion.

“It does not seem possible now that it was 70 years ago,” Piper told members of the New England Newspaper and Press Association in a 2014 speech.

“The soldiers of the 29th Division, on that gray cold morning of June 6, 1944, came ashore in small boats in one of the most momentous military engagements in history, an epic battle that changed the course of the war. It was anything but easy.”

Piper retired as executive director of the New England Newspaper Association in 2009. He previously served as national accounts manager for The Boston Globe.

He will deliver the keynote address during the opening luncheon for the 2015 joint convention at noon June 19 at the Loews New Orleans Hotel.

Registration for the event is ongoing. Members can register online or download a registration form to return by fax or mail at

Room rates at the hotel are $149 nightly from June 17-20. The deadline to make reservations at the group rate is May 28. Members can make reservations online via a link at the convention website or call the hotel direct at 866-211-6411 and referencing the “Press Convention” to get the proper rate.

Other speakers on the agenda include editorial trainer Professor Robert Buckman, advertising expert and newspaper publisher Peter Wagner, and communications consultant Jan Hargave.

A limited number of passes to the World War II Museum will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. Information will be mailed to publishers the first week of May with complete details.

Information on the agenda and reservations can be found at the convention webpage.

Governor vetoes bill that affected public notice requirements

Gov. Phil Bryant struck down Senate Bill 2269 April 23 over concerns it decreased transparency in government.

Bryant issued the veto – one of only four handed down this session – after a request from MPA. The bill would have given local government more control over the Gulf Coast Coliseum Commission. But a late revision in conference committee deleted a requirement the commission publish notices of changes in a local newspaper in favor of government controlled websites.

“We objected because we felt it was improper to make a fundamental change like this without input from interested parties. It really is an issue of transparency in the process,” said MPA Executive Director Layne Bruce.

In his veto order, Bryant said he had no objections to the basic intent of the bill to place more responsibility for the coliseum oversight with local authorities.

“The troubling part of the bill pertains to changes in public notice requirements,” the vote order reads.

“I would support additional publication electronically, but eliminating the provision in current law that requires the commission to publish a notice in the newspaper raises transparency concerns and could possibly hinder participation in the process.”

Proponents of the bill said they would restore the newspaper notice provision in a future version of the bill that could be considered during an expected special session later this spring.

Conversion to online contest is very smooth

Nearly 50 newspapers submitted just over 2,700 entries in the first cycle of the Better Newspaper Contest Editorial Division to be conducted online.

There was only a modest decrease in the number of entries from last year’s contest – about 17 total.

Contest coordinator Monica Gilmer said many newspapers began uploading their entries as soon as the contest criteria was released in early February.

“It was very smooth. There were only a few problems other than what we expected for the first go-around,” Gilmer said. “We’ve learned from those issues and expect things to go even better for the next cycle.”

The judging process is in progress and also taking place mostly only online courtesy of volunteers from the North Carolina Press Association. A few categories such as special sections and general excellence are still being judged with physical copies of the newspapers.

Publishers will receive notices on winners at their newspapers in May. Winners in the editorial contest will be presented at the joint convention in New Orleans June 20.

The BNC Advertising Division criteria will be released in late summer with an early October deadline for entries. This will be the first cycle of the ad contest to be conducted online. Winners in that division will be announced during the Mid-Winter Conference in January 2016.

Bill increases transparency, but the fight continues

The first quarter was, as predicted, short of neither hills nor valleys for us at the Association.

We expected the legislative session to be relatively quiet as House and Senate members kept their eyes on re-election later this year rather than re-inventing the wheel at the Capitol.

Nevertheless, there were still challenges. An unexpected one was the resistance Senate Bill 2407 ran into in the House. The legislation was filed by Sen. Brice Wiggins of Jackson County and repealed the exemption publicly owned hospitals enjoyed from the Open Meetings Act.


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


Jim Gaines, previously a reporter for the Macon (Ga.) Telegraph, has been named managing editor of the Starkville Daily News. He succeeds Zack Plair… The Madison County Journal turned up the heat on State Treasurer Lynn Fitch for her failure to publish Unclaimed Property listings in 2012… The Mississippi Legislature honored longtime political reporter and columnist Bill Minor, 92, during a ceremony in early April at the Capitol.

May 7          Webinar – Data Driven In Depth Reporting
May 21         Webinar – Motivating and Organizing Your Sales Team
May 25         Memorial Day, MPA-MPS office closed
June 18        MPA-MPS-MPAEF Board Meetings, Loews Hotel, New Orleans
June 18-20   Joint LPA-MPA Convention, Loews Hotel, New Orleans

Front pages from Nepal's devastating earthquake

The number of dead keeps rising after the 7.8-magnitude earthquake that hit Nepal on Saturday. According to a report Monday morning from the BBC, that number is now up to 4,000. Here are 23 front pages from around the world that led with the news on Monday.

Internal probe finds serial embellishment by anchor

A months-long internal investigation of Brian Williams by NBC News has turned up 11 instances in which the anchorman publicly embellished details of his reporting exploits, according to a person familiar with details of the probe.

Coast to coast newspaper shuffle underway

From coast to coast, the spring scent of newspaper transactions hangs in the air. The big one — Apollo Global Management’s purchase of Digital First Media — is nearing completion. Meanwhile, sellers from New York City to southern California test the mettle (and wallets) of would-be buyers.

Berkshire Hathaway buys Oklahoma newspapers

Berkshire Hathaway Inc. announced that it is going to buy some small Oklahoma newspapers near Tulsa. The company’s share price has however declined post-announcement owing to broader market fundamentals.