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Johnson, Nobile snare first-place honors in sports, cartoon divisions

MBJ takes home MPA Better Newspaper Contest awards

The Mississippi Business Journal was honored for its coverage of business news at the Mississippi Press Association annual conference held last week on the Gulf Coast.

MBJ contributing writer Bill Johnson Jr. of Meridian won first place for best sports story (weekly division A) in the 1999 Mississippi Press Association Better Newspaper Contest for his look at how Starkville and Oxford businesses profit from SEC football weekends.

The 1999 awards were announced during a luncheon banquet June 17 as part of the MPA’s annual gathering, which was held at the Biloxi Grand Casino Bayview.

Judges with the Kansas Press Association said that Johnson’s story offered “an outstanding inside view of a college football Saturday from a business standpoint both in Starkville and Oxford. Bill Johnson Jr. does a superb job of bringing us the flavor of the Southeastern Conference football experience through many sets of eyes on Game Day. Very relevant news to readers, giving them an appreciation of just how many peripheral businesses are positively affected when NCAA college football comes to town. A winner!”

Johnson, who has an extensive background in economic development and journalism, is an avid fan of college sports.

Cartoonist Ricky Nobile of Hattiesburg was also honored with a first place award, as well as a third place honor, for his work in the Mississippi Business Journal.

Competing against all weeklies, Nobile’s “Getting skinny” editorial cartoon gave readers an amusing and insightful look into the plight of many farmers as expenses rise and profits fall.

Contributing writer Lynne Wilbanks Jeter of Ridgeland, who was recently named Mississippi’s Business Journalist of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration, won two awards in the Better Newspaper Contest.

“Little magazine from Mississippi” took second place for best general news story (weekly division A). The judges said that the story about The Oxford American’s award-winning success was “well-written and interesting, but does not turn into an unintentional feature story. Good use of quotes and inclusion of relevant facts and information.”

Jeter also won a second-place award for a series of stories she wrote about the impact of the Balanced Budget Act of 1997’s impact on Mississippi health care.

Editor Jim Laird won a third-place award for editorial writing. In considering the MBJ’s submission in the best editorial category (weekly division A), the judges said, “Business editorials are often overlooked by readers because the subject matter is difficult/dull, but these editorials did not follow that pattern. Well-written and succinct, imparting information on issues that should be of interest to the public.”

“I’m pleased that we received this recognition from our peers,” said publisher Joe D. Jones, CPA. “It speaks well of our MBJ team.”

He added that “ultimately, we want our readers to be satisfied. If we can provide our readers with Mississippi’s essential business news, then we’ve succeeded.”

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