MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Dispatch won first place in the General Excellence category for the second straight year at the annual Mississippi Press Association Better Newspaper Contest.
The newspaper tied with the Enterprise-Journal of McComb for top honors among multi-day publications based in cities with a population less than 30,000. It was among 23 total awards, including five total first-place honors, The Dispatch received at a ceremony Saturday afternoon for work it published in 2021.
The General Excellence category considers the entire newspaper product, including editorial content and design. The Dispatch’s advertising department has also won for General Excellence each of the last two years.
“The General Excellence award is a culmination of efforts from news, sports, opinion, lifestyles and our page layout employees,” Publisher Peter Imes said. “I’m really proud that our staff won it for the second year in a row.”
Other first place awards in this year’s contest included Slim Smith for General Interest Column, Theo DeRosa for Sports Game Story, former news editor Isabelle Altman for Investigative/In-Depth Story and former Mississippi State athletics beat reporter Ben Portnoy for Sports Feature.
Smith also took second place in General News, second and third place in Lede in the population division, as well as second and third place for Magazine Story among all multi-day publications.
DeRosa also earned second place for Sports Feature, while Altman placed second in Spot News.
Managing editor Zack Plair and photographer Austin Frayser took second place in News Package, while Plair also placed third in that category and earned an honorable mention for General Interest Column.
Page designer Matt Garner placed second for Front Page and shared a third-place honor with Anne Murphy for Design among all multi-day publications.
Lifestyles editor Nicole Bowman-Layton placed second among all multi-day publications for Lifestyles Page or Section. Publisher-Emeritus Birney Imes placed third in the population division for General Interest Column.
The Dispatch staff placed second in Community Service and third for the Daniel M. Phillips Freedom of Information Award among all newspapers. It placed third for both Special Section and Website among all multi-day publications.
Peter Imes was on Friday elected by the general MPA membership to serve as MPA board treasurer for the coming year.