The Oxford Eagle wins top honors, more than 20 editorial awards in Mississippi Press Association contest

Published 9:15 pm Sunday, July 9, 2017

The Oxford Eagle was one of three daily Mississippi newspapers recognized for general excellence by the Mississippi Press Association Saturday, taking home more than 20 awards across several categories.

Six newspapers (three dailies and three weeklies) won top editorial honors in the MPA’s annual Better Newspaper Contest, including the Eagle, The Clarion-Ledger, Hattiesburg American, The Lamar Times, Hattiesburg Post and Mississippi Business Journal.

The editorial staff took home 24 additional awards, including nine first-place wins, and placed second statewide in community service journalism for its coverage of Oxford’s affordable housing problem.

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“I couldn’t be more proud of the staff for their tireless work ethic and commitment to producing good community journalism,” said Editor in Chief Alex McDaniel. “Not everyone understands what it takes to produce a daily newspaper, particularly with a smaller staff, so to see that work recognized among some of the best papers in Mississippi is an honor for all of us.”

  • Senior Writer Alyssa Schnugg won five awards total in feature writing, photo-story combination, lede writing and planned series. Reporter Andy Belt won third place in general news writing for his piece on Oxford’s “running Santa” and those who helped him in a time of need.
  • Ole Miss beat writer Davis Potter placed first in sports news for his coverage of Coach Hugh Freeze’s coordinator picks, Phil Longo and Wesley McGriff, and first-place sports feature writing honors for his piece about former Ole Miss defensive end John Youngblood enduring his senior season in the wake of his father’s death. He won second place in the Sports Column category and shared another first-place win with high school sports reporter Jake Thompson for best sports section.
  • Photographer Bruce Newman took home 10 awards, including four first-place wins. Newman swept the Sports Action Photograph category with entries placing first, second and third.
  • Publisher David Magee placed first in the Commentary Column category for a moving column about his late son, William. Editor in Chief Alex McDaniel and Managing Editor Rob Sigler won first place for Best Front Page. Magee and McDaniel shared a second-place win for a series of editorials about the Mississippi state flag.

McDaniel joined Oxford Newsmedia in August 2016 shortly following Magee’s arrival. Under their leadership, the Eagle’s print and digital readership has grown steadily.

“From the beginning, we said we aren’t out to win awards—we’re out to win readers,” Magee said. “It’s an honor to be recognized by the Mississippi Press Association for that effort and to see our hard-working editorial staff get the credit they deserve for making the Eagle a strong community newspaper.”

Read the full list of winners.