BILOXI – The North Mississippi Herald won seven awards – including two for first place – in the 2008 Better Newspaper Contest sponsored by the Mississippi Press Association.
The awards were announced this weekend at the 143rd annual MPA convention in Biloxi.
The Herald staff took first place in the Special Section category for the Complete Guide to the 39th Annual Watermelon Carnival published last July. The judges praised the layout of the issue and added that it had an excellent cover photo.
The staff took third in the same category for the Sesquicentennial issue published in April 2008 in honor of Water Valley’s 150th birthday.
Herald contributing writer Jessie Gurner took third place in the General Interest Column category. She won for her “Street Talk” columns that were written while she was Main Street Director.
The Herald’s other first place award was in the Best General News Photograph category. It was awarded to Jack Gurner for his photo of two young girls sitting on the walking track during the Relay for Life last April.
The judges said that the entry jumped off the page and was “easily the strongest photo in the category.”
Gurner also won a second place award in the Best Pictorial Series for a photo layout titled, “Playing T-Ball Means Everybody Is A Winner.”
And, he won a second place for Best Spot News Story for his article “Fowl Play” about a runaway peacock that thwarted capture by police and animal control for several hours last July.
The judges said the story was “A fun break from the typical ‘crash of the day’ entries.”
Lastly, Gurner won a third place in the Best Feature Photograph category for “Local Thespians,” a photo of youngsters auditioning last November for parts in a children’s production of the Robinson Crusoe story.
Gurner first placed in MPA competition 35 years ago when he won a third place award in 1973 for a picture of flooding in Grenada. The next year he took first place for an image of an auto crash and in 1975 he took second place for a photo of President Richard Nixon speaking in Jackson.