The Columbian-Progress won top honors in the annual Mississippi Press Association contest today, being recognized as the best newspaper in its class.
The C-P won the General Excellence award for the sixth time in its 85-year history.
The paper won 32 overall awards, including 11 first place, in the annual Better Newspaper Contest. Staff members Susan Amundson, Joshua Campbell and Charlie Smith all won various first place awards in writing, photography and design categories.
"These recognitions encapsulate the hard work that our staff does day in and day out to report the news in Columbia and Marion County," Editor and Publisher Charlie Smith said. "Josh and Susan both had particularly strong showings this year, and I'm very proud of what they've accomplished. I've always said that a newspaper belongs to its community, not any individual, so this victory is also shared by our readers and advertisers who support the important journalism that we do."
The winners are usually named during the annual state newspaper convention on the Coast, but the coronavirus pandemic cancelled the event so the honors were announced during a live Zoom video conference this afternoon.
The paper previously won General Excellence in 1946, 1948, 1950, 1982 and 2014. Winners should "exemplify excellence in all aspects of newspaper publication, including mechanical excellence, editorial content, advertising, layout and general appearance," according to the guidelines.
The C-P competes in Class E, which is comprised of medium-sized weeklies. Journalists from the Alabama Press Association judged this year's contest.
Specific awards included:
- First place, General Excellence, Staff
- First place, Spot News Story, Smith and Amundson
- First place, Sports Column, Campbell
- First place, Game Story, Campbell
- First place, General Interest Column, Amundson
- First place, General News Photo, Amundson
- First place, Sports Page, Campbell
- First & Third places, Sports Feature, Campbell
- First & Second places, Sports Feature Photo, Campbell
- First & Second places, Feature Photo, Smith
- First place, Design, Staff
- Second place, Photo Series, Amundson
- Second place, Front Page, Staff
- Second place, Editorial Page, Smith
- Second place, Editorials, Smith
- Second place, Spot News Photo, Campbell
- Second place, In-Depth or Investigative Coverage, Smith and Amundson
- Second & Third places, Feature Story, Amundson
- Second place, Lede, Smith
- Second place, Special Section, Staff
- Third place, Spot News Photo, Smith
- Third place, Sports Action Photo, Campbell
- Third place, News Package, Smith and Amundson
- Third place, Personality Portrait, Campbell
- Third place, Lifestyles, Staff
- Third place, Headline, Smith
- Third place, Lede, Amundson
- Third place, Community Service Award, Staff
Wyatt Emmerich, who owns the C-P as well as other papers and is editor and publisher of The Northside Sun in Jackson, was honored with the J. Oliver Emmerich Award for Editorial Excellence — his second win of this special award named in memory of his grandfather.
The Emmerich Award was established in 1976 to honor the late Enterprise-Journal publisher, considered the dean of Mississippi opinion writing. It recognizes what judges consider the best example of opinion writing in the state each year and is considered the top overall prize in Mississippi journalism.
Winners of General Excellence in other circulation classes included The Daily Journal of Tupelo, The Vicksburg Post, The Meridian Star, The Monroe Journal in Amory and The Sun-Sentinel in Charleston.