McNeece elected MPA-MPS president

The publisher of The Calhoun County Journal in Bruce was elected the 142nd president of the Mississippi Press Association during the newspaper trade group's annual meeting on the gulf coast.

Joel McNeece, 44, will serve as president of MPA and Mississippi Press Services, Inc., an affiliated advertising and marketing service.

McNeece and his wife, Lisa, and sister-in-law, Celia Hillhouse, own and operate the 5,000-circulation weekly newspaper. Lisa McNeece is a former president of MPA and her father, the late S. Gale Denley, is a past president and member of the MPA Hall of Fame.

McNeece has worked in the newspaper industry for more than 20 years during which time he has won numerous awards for writing in news, sports and his weekly column.

In 2009, McNeece was honored with the Dan Phillips Leadership Award from the National Newspaper Association. He currently serves as Mississippi state chairman for NNA.

McNeece has served multiple times as president of the Bruce Chamber of Commerce, three times been named Chamber Member of the Year and served 13 years on the organization's board of directors.

He is also a Paul Harris Fellow and past president of the Bruce Rotary Club. He has served as the chairman of the Bruce Museum Board of Directors since 2006 and twice been named Bruce Citizen of the Year.

McNeece and others were installed during ceremonies at a joint convention with the Louisiana Press Association.

Also elected to leadership positions were First Vice President Don Norman, publisher of the Starkville Daily News, and Second Vice President Paul Keane, publisher of The Wayne County News in Waynesboro.

Jim Prince, publisher of The Neshoba Democrat and president of Prince Newspaper Holdings, Inc., becomes Immediate Past President and Chairman of the MPA Education Foundation.

Elected to three-year terms as Directors were Stephanie Patton, editor and publisher of The Leland Progress, and Clay Foster, publisher and CEO of Journal, Inc., the parent company of the Daily Journal in Tupelo.

Six papers cited for General Excellence

Newspapers singled out for distinction in the annual Better Newspaper Contest during the MPA convention include The Clarion-Ledger of Jackson, the Hattiesburg American and The Greenwood Commonwealth, each chosen as first place winners in their respective circulation classes for General Excellence among daily publications. Non-dailies cited for excellence include The Northside Sun of Jackson, the Madison County Journal of Ridgeland and The Petal News.

Tim Kalich, publisher and editor of The Greenwood Commonwealth, was awarded the J. Oliver Emmerich Award for Editorial Excellence for a commentary piece written about Gov. Phil Bryant and the debate over Medicaid expansion in Mississippi. It was the third year in a row and fourth time overall Kalich took the honor, setting a record in the category.

The Emmerich Award, the highest honor presented annually by MPA, is named for the late publisher of the Enterprise-Journal in McComb. Kalich was originally hired in Greenville by the late John Emmerich, son of J. Oliver Emmerich.

Also singled out for distinction during the awards program:
  • Charlie Smith, publisher of the Enterprise-Tocsin in Indianola, won the Bill Minor Prize for General News Reporting;
  • Jerry Mitchell, a reporter for The Clarion-Ledger, won the Bill Minor Prize for Investigative Journalism for Daily Newspapers;
  • Wyatt Emmerich, publisher of The Northside Sun, won the Bill Minor Prize for Investigative Reporting for Non-Daily Newspapers.
  • Colin Krieger, publisher and editor of The Columbus Packet, was awarded Photo of the Year.

Redesigned MPA website debuts

A redesigned debuted Friday.

Executive Director Layne Bruce said the redesign was necessary following the acquisition of MPA's current website provider by YourMembership.Com.

"This change is a good one for the Association and our members," he said. "We believe the new design increases readability and accessibility for features on which member newspapers and the general public depend."

Newspaper listings are more prominently displayed on the new site, and e-commerce modules will be improved, including the introduction of online dues payments and easier-to-use conference registration features.

"There will be no changes to how members access advertising material for download," he said. "Nevertheless, the entire MPA staff will be ready to assist members in finding features they regularly use or answer any questions about the website."

If you have questions about the site or how to download advertising materials, contact MPA, 601-981-3060.


Leslie Hurst announced her retirement as president and publisher of The Clarion-Ledger Media Group. Hurst has been in Jackson for four years and with parent Gannett Co., Inc., for 27... Tracie Fowler has resigned as general manager of the Hattiesburg American. After 15 years with Gannett and the daily newspaper she is joining United Way of Southeast Mississippi. Fowler has served on the MPA Board of Directors for the past 18 months... Speaking of the American, the newspaper just relocated its offices from Main Street to Midtown.

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Newspaper offers friendly advice via data mapping

From Newspaper Association of America
The Columbia Daily Tribune is welcoming other newspapers to its data-mapping world. The Tribune, based in Columbia, Missouri, aims to share its expertise about OpenBlock software, which it uses for its Neighborhoods site, with other newspapers. The free hyperlocal news site aggregates data from public and private sources and puts it on a map.

Ole Miss J-school students learn the audience biz

From NetNewsCheck
“Hotty Toddy” has long currency in Oxford as a football cheer and tribal greeting for those with ties to the University of Mississippi, but now it’s also a vehicle for the school’s journalism students to get their work in front of over 100,000 readers each month. Michael Depp explains.  

US consumers rank local news at top of list

From Marketing Charts
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