The Star wins six awards in press competition
from staff reports
June 23, 2002
BILOXI The Meridian Star won six awards Saturday for writing and photography published during 2001, including chief photographer Paula Merritt's first place for best sports action photo.
The awards came in the annual Better Newspaper Contest sponsored by the Mississippi Press Association in which The Star competes in a category with the state's largest daily newspapers.
Editor Buddy Bynum won a second place award in the best editorials category, while staff writer Fredie Carmichael won a second place in the best feature story category and a third place in the best game story category. Managing Editor Suzanne Monk and The Meridian Star newsroom won third place in the best special section category for "Profile 2001: By the People," and Merritt also received an honorable mention in the best sports action photo category.
Merritt's April 14, 2001, photo, captioned "He's out!" depicted an umpire making a call at home plate during a regional baseball playoff game between Jones Junior College and Bossier Parish, La., Community College. In awarding the first place, judges said Merritt's photo was "well balanced" and captured a "great moment" and "peak action." They noted the "great expression" on the umpire's face.
Merritt, a photographer for The Meridian Star since 1990, also won an honorable mention in the best sports action photo category for a photo published July 9, 2001, which captured action in a girls under-10 Junior Olympic Amateur Softball Association playoff game.
Bynum's editorial, "Musgrove collects another scalp," published Oct. 7, 2001, commented on the governor's firing of J.C. Burns, a Batesville banker who headed the Mississippi Development Authority. Judges said the editorial "details the governor's vindictive ways" when he comes to view people he's hired even close friends such as Burns as political liabilities.
Carmichael's second place in the best features category, "Weidmann's: Meridian landmark in transition," was published on July 15, 2001, and chronicled the historic downtown restaurant's change of ownership. Judges said they were pulled in by the story's lead and that "an ordinary story was told in an interesting manner … the local color added an emotional tie to the story."
Carmichael's third place in the best game story category, "Lady Eagles deck Wallace," was published on Jan. 23, 2001. The story was about the Meridian Community College Lady Eagles rallying in the second half to win a basketball game.
Third place in the best special sections category was awarded to Monk, project leader of The Meridian Star's 2001 Profile edition in which, for the first time, the newspaper pursued the idea of publishing readers' stories in their own words. Monk managed production of the special section, which carried about 150 reader bylines and quoted more than 350 people from the community.