Post news staff wins 6 top awards in MPA contest|[06/29/08]

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 29, 2008

Port Gibson’s Crisler in Hall of Fame

The Vicksburg Post news staff brought home 19 awards from the 142nd annual Mississippi Press Association convention in Biloxi Saturday, including six first-place nods for its 2007 work.

The Post competed with other daily newspapers with a circulation of 9,000 to 20,000.

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Sports Editor Sean Murphy garnered two first-place awards. His story about the Mississippi State University baseball team’s advancement to the College World Series, “On to Omaha,” received first place in the best game story category. He took the second-place in the same category, while a column he wrote about former Grambling State football coach Eddie Robinson was awarded first place in the best sports column category.

Meredith Spencer received first place in the best spot news photograph category for a picture of rescue workers responding to a wreck on Interstate 20.

Joshua Corban topped the best sports news photography category for a scene he captured of a boy in his baseball uniform waiting out a rain delay near a flooded first base. Corban also received a second-place award for best general news photograph. A story about minor sports won Ben Gouldsmith a first-place award for best sports news story.

The newspaper received a first-place award for best editorial page, and second place in the general excellence category.

Executive editor Charlie Mitchell received second place in three categories: best editorial, best planned series of stories and best general interest column. Also in reporting and writing categories, Lauchlin Fields received second place in the best feature story category.

Presentation editor Marty Kittrell won second place for best graphic and shared a third-place award with managing editor Karen Gamble for best design. Gamble also took a third in the best headline category.

Third-place awards were also won by Brian Loden for best feature photograph, Ernest Bowker for best sports feature and Spencer for best sports action photograph and best feature photograph.

Fields and Loden received an honorable mention for best story and photo combination.

Longtime Port Gibson newspaperman Edgar Crisler Jr., former editor and publisher of the Port Gibson Reveille, was posthumously inducted into the MPA Hall of Fame at the convention.

Born in Vicksburg in 1935, Crisler moved to Port Gibson to help his parents run the weekly newspaper in 1969 after having served in the U.S. Navy and working as a reporter in the Helena office of The Commercial Appeal as well as the Vicksburg Evening Post. Crisler became editor of the Reveille in 1974 following the death of his father, Edgar Crisler Sr. He became publisher in 1985.

His wife, Emma Crisler, who has served as editor and publisher of the Reveille since Edgar’s death in August 1997, was at the induction to accept the honor on behalf of her late husband. She said her husband’s expertise in investigative reporting was among the qualities that made him a respected journalist. Among the numerous awards Crisler won was a 1981 top prize for best investigative reporting.

During his tenure at the Reveille, Crisler covered critical community events such as the NAACP boycott of local businesses in early 1970s and the building of the Grand Gulf Nuclear Power Plant a decade later. He also is credited with diversifying the content of his newspaper to include news stories relevant to residents of all races.

Along with Crisler, former editor and publisher of the Poplarville Democrat Murphy Weir was posthumously inducted into the Hall of Fame. Established in 1986, the Hall of Fame recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to journalism in Mississippi and elsewhere.

The Vicksburg Post staff also garnered nine Louisiana-Mississippi Associated Press awards for its 2007 coverage earlier this year, including three first-place accolades. Spencer received first place in the feature photo and multipicture categories, and a third place in the portrait and spot news photo categories. Corban also received first place in the sports feature photo category.

Murphy took a second in the sports enterprise/feature category and a third place in the personal column and sports column categories. Reporter Molly Mullen was awarded third place in the interpretive category.