The Democrat staff earns editorial awards

Published 12:10 am Sunday, June 22, 2014

BILOXI — The Natchez Democrat staff won 42 total awards, including 11 first-place awards and first in the statewide community service category Saturday, at the Mississippi Press Association conference and Louisiana-Mississippi Associated Press Managing Editors annual contest.

In most categories in the MPA conference, The Democrat competes against other Mississippi newspapers with a similar circulation size — between 9,000 and 15,000 daily — including The Hattiesburg American, The Commercial Dispatch (Columbus), The Meridian Star, The (McComb) Enterprise-Journal and others.

In a few categories, The Democrat competed against all daily newspapers in the state.

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MPA first-place awards for work completed in 2013 were:

• Community service — “You Asked / Please Fix.”

• Sports feature photo — “It’s a stretch to text” by Ben Hillyer.

• Photo series — “Step by step” by Hillyer.

• Feature photo — “Photo finish” by Jay Sowers.

• Lifestyles page.

• Best lead — “Vidalia man killed in shooting” by Josh Bergeron.

• Website —

Second place awards were:

• General excellence — The Natchez Democrat.

• Sports news story — “Tightening wallets” by Michael Kerekes.

• General interest column —Hillyer.

• Commentary column — Kevin Cooper.

• General news photo — “St. Joseph Honors” by Justin Sellers.

• Feature photo — “100 and counting” by Hillyer.

• Personality portrait — “Meet the browns” by Hillyer.

• Front page.

• Editorial page.

• Magazine periodical — Natchez the Magazine.

• Design.

• Phillips Freedom of Information Award — “Public meeting.”

Third place awards were:

• Planned series — “Let me tell you about Natchez” by Lindsey Shelton.

• General interest column —Cooper.

• Commentary column —Hillyer.

• General news photo — “Black Friday sales” by Brittney Lohmiller.

• Feature photo — “A great-great party” by Hillyer.

• Spot news photo — “Fire destroys house” by Sowers.

• Photo series — “Co-Lin cooks” by Hillyer.

• Personality portrait — “Mud warrior” by Hillyer.

• Graphic — “Bumper crops” by Hillyer.

• Editorials — Cooper.

• Sports page or section.

• Headline — “Hurdling challenges” by Rod Guajardo.

The contest entries in the AP contest were from newspapers from both Mississippi and Louisiana and were published in 2013. The winners were announced during a banquet in Biloxi.

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

First-place awards in the AP contest were:

• Spot news — “Parish, county residents deluged by storm” by staff.

• General news — “Jackson Street resident credits dog with survival” by Vershal Hogan.

• Photo general news — “Black Friday buggy bargains” by Lohmiller.

• Photo feature — “Photo finish” by Sowers.

• Headlines

Second-place awards were:

• Features — “Restaurant owner godsend, friend for Tony Gamberi” by Kerekes.

• Continuing coverage — Natchez Regional Medical Center by Hogan.

• Photo features — “Pass it on” by Hillyer.

Third-place awards were:

• General news — “Woman reaches out to help heal graduates loss” by Guajardo.

• Photo general news — “Hungry and healthy” by Sowers.

• Photo features — “Chariots of aisle 6” by Sowers.