MEMPHIS | The Baldwyn News earned five first-place awards and nine awards overall at the Mississippi Press Association’s 2021 Better Newspaper Contest awards presentation, held Saturday, June 25, 2022.
Included in the awards was first place for Overall Design, the sixth year in a row The News has won the award in its division. This year’s contest featured a reshuffling of competition divisions, pitting The News against more weekly newspapers than in years past – and increasing the degree of difficulty in earning awards.
“Competition classes for this year’s contest were revised to just two classes for weekly newspapers (based upon city population) instead of the normal three, which meant The News, the state’s smallest newspaper, had to compete against newspapers with vastly more resources in larger communities, but we still held our own,” News Publisher Jason Collum said. “It’s a testament to the quality newspaper we produce here for the Baldwyn community despite the odds and headwinds faced by our paper and all newspapers and newsrooms.”
The News also earned first place awards in the Sports Feature Story, Sports Action Photograph, Best Front Page, and Best Sports Page or Section.
A photograph of Baldwyn’s Jojo Christian going airborne during a football game last fall was judged the best in its class. The judge in that category noted in placing the photo first, “Nicely done capturing a peak action sports image.”
A feature story on Jason McKay taking over as Baldwyn’s boy’s basketball coach was judged as the best Sports Feature. The News’ front page design was also judged the best in its division. “This was a tough contest, but The Baldwyn News took it away with their front page content, use of pictures and overall design,” the judge wrote. Similarly The News’ sports page was deemed the best in its class, with the judge noting, “Great use of photos, and coverage of your local athletics. These entries showcase the excellent job your team does covering local athletes.”
The News earned second place honors for General News Story (A Hero’s Return, on Korean War veteran Pfc. Jimmy Rowland’s remains being identified and planning beginning for his return to Baldwyn) and for General News Photo (Preparing for Harvest, a drone photo of a cotton harvest in a field between Guntown and Baldwyn). The News also earned a third place award for General News Photo for an image of a worker looking into and moving a massive culvert on Southwest Avenue.
A series of Collum’s “Thinking Out Loud” columns earned honorable mention in the Commentary Column category.
The Baldwyn News competes in Class D, which includes all weekly newspapers in Mississippi in cities with 5,000 or fewer residents.
The 2021 Better Newspaper Contest was judged by volunteers from the South Carolina Press Association. Forty-four newsrooms submitted a total of 1,981 entries into this year’s editorial contest.
“We are so proud of all of the winners in this contest,” said MPA President Jack Ryan, publisher of the Enterprise-Journal. “The quality work recognized here exemplifies the excellent job Mississippi journalists are doing to cover their communities.”