Democrat wins top editorial awards

Published 12:12 am Sunday, June 26, 2016

BILOXI — The Natchez Democrat staff won 31 total awards, including nine first-place awards and first in the overall General Excellence category, at the Mississippi Press Association conference Saturday.

In most categories, The Democrat competes against other Mississippi newspapers with a similar circulation size — between 9,000 and 15,000 daily — including The Hattiesburg American, The Vicksburg Post, 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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Fifty-four newspapers submitted a total of 2,554 entries to the contest.

First-place awards were:

-General Excellence.

-Commentary column — Ben Hillyer.

-Feature photo — Hillyer, “First day of school done.”

-Sports action photo — Sam Gause.

-Pictorial series — Hillyer, “Echoes of football past: Nature takes final victory at former Margaret Martin Stadium.”

-Photo-story combination — Gause, “Her turn to take care.”

-Graphics — Hillyer, “Taking a slice.”

-Lifestyles section.

-Magazine — Natchez the Magazine.

-Headline — Hillyer, “A blonde walks in a bar.”

Second-place awards were:

-General news story — Lindsey Shelton, “Locals remember horrors of Parchman roundup.”

-Sports game story — Jake Martin, “Mission accomplished.”

-Commentary column — Kevin Cooper.

-General news photo — Gause, “Back to the books.”

-Sports action photo — Gause.

-Spot news photo — Gause, “Fire destroys Ridgecrest house.”

-Pictorial series — Gause, “Step in time.”

-Graphics — Hillyer, “Sure signs of spring.”

-Editorial page.

-Special section — 150 years of The Democrat.


-Community service — “Please fix/You asked.”

-Freedom of Information Award — Vershal Hogan, “Square on Carter.”

-Website —

Third-place awards were:

-In-depth/investigative reporting — Hogan, “How much from hydro?”

-Sports feature story — Sarah Cook, “822 pounds: Natchez men break state gator record.”

-General interest column — Cooper.

-Sports feature photo — Gause, “Learning curve.”

-General news photo — Gause, “Praise and prayer.”

-Photo-story combination — Gause, “Karate kids.”

-Personality portrait — Gause, “Gunslinger.”

-Graphics — staff, “From your phone.”

Awards were announced at the annual Mississippi Press Association Convention in Biloxi.