Democrat wins Freedom of Information award

Published 12:03 am Sunday, April 8, 2012

NEW ORLEANS — The Natchez Democrat won 25 total awards including nine first-place awards and the statewide freedom of information award Saturday at the Louisiana-Mississippi Associated Press Managing Editors annual contest.

The contest entries were from newspapers from both Mississippi and Louisiana and were published in 2011. The winners were announced Saturday during a banquet in New Orleans.

The Democrat competes in the small daily newspaper division for the majority of the contest categories.

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The newspaper’s investigative coverage tracking the cell phone bills of Adams County employees — a report done by Emily Lane — earned the Margaret Dixon Freedom of Information Award. The award is given only to one newspaper in the state of Mississippi each year and is not awarded by size category.

Other awards The Democrat’s staff won include:

First place

– Continuing coverage — “Mississippi River flood,” by staff

– Headlines — Julie Cooper

– Layout and design — Ben Hillyer

– Spot news photo — Eric Shelton

– General news photo — Hillyer

– Sports feature photo — Shelton

– Photo illustration — Hillyer

– Multipicture — Hillyer

– Portrait — Hillyer

Second place

– Spot news story — “Be prepared, don’t panic,” by Lane, Julie Cooper and Kevin Cooper

– Feature story — “Off to War,” by Lane

– Community service story — “Age of Anxiety,” Julie Cooper and Lane

– Investigative story — “Justice served?” by Lane

– Sports columns — Michael Kerekes

– Editorials — Julie Cooper

– General news photo — Shelton

– Photo illustration — Hillyer

– Multipicture — Hillyer

– Portrait — Shelton

Third place

– Investigative story — “Candidates of unpaid taxes, judgments,” by Hannah Mask

– Sports feature story — “Real Ropin,” by Michael Kerekes

– Personal columns — Julie Cooper

– Sports feature photo — Shelton

– Portrait — Shelton