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Holmes takes home three awards from Better Newspaper Contest

Holmes Community College won three awards in the 2022 Mississippi Press Association (MPA) Better Newspaper Contest. Callie Pope of Madison won first place in the Editorial Category for her piece, “Metal detectors in schools,” and Alek Dickerson of Biloxi won third in Editorials for “Remembrance for the Oxford victims.” The Growl newspaper came in third place for Overall General Excellence, as well. The awards were presented during the O.C. McDavid Journalism Conference held March 24 at the Mississippi Children’s Museum in Jackson.

Four Holmes journalism students were able to represent the college at the conference: Dickerson, Pope, Elijah Mangum of Florence and Dallon Sisco of Brandon. Sponsored annually by MPA, the conference is named after the late O.C. McDavid, who served as managing editor of the Jackson Daily News. This year’s conference began with a welcome by MPA Executive Director Layne Bruce. Next, veteran journalists Emily Wagster Pettus and Geoff Pender discussed their work covering the issues before the state legislature. Pettus covers Mississippi politics for The Associated Press and Pender serves as senior political reporter at Mississippi Today.

Following Pettus and Pender’s presentation, editorial cartoonist Ricky Nobile shared some of his favorite cartoons he has done over his 50 plus years career. Nobile also gave students valuable tips for working in journalism, including “tell the truth.” Conference attendees enjoyed a boxed lunch from Broadstreet Bakery as they listened to the keynote speaker, investigative reporter Jerry Mitchell.

Mitchell, best known for reporting and writing stories that helped put four Klansmen and an accused serial killer behind bars, shared highlights from his colorful career and words of wisdom to the aspiring college journalists. When asked if he was ever scared for his life when he pursued these interviews/investigations of dangerous people, he remarked that “living fearlessly is not living without fear, it is living beyond fear…I’m a man of faith and I believe that it’s important to live for things bigger and more important than just yourself.”

Following Mitchell’s presentation, Bruce announced the winners of the Better Newspaper Contest before dismissing everyone.

For more information about MPA, visit

For more information about student publications at Holmes, contact Mary Margaret Busby at


IN THIS PHOTO: Pictured are (left to right) Holmes Community College Growl newspaper staff members Elijah Mangum of Florence, Alek Dickerson of Biloxi, Callie Pope of Madison and Dallon Sisco of Brandon at the Mississippi Press Association Conference.

Equal Access/Equal Opportunity
Holmes Community College does not unlawfully discriminate on the basis of race, color, gender, sex, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, religion, national origin, citizenship, age, disability, veteran status, or genetic information. Employees, students, applicants for admission or employment, or other participants in Holmes Community College programs or activities who believe they have been discriminated against are entitled to seek relief through the Compliance Officer (662) 472-9429. Written inquiries may be e-mailed to: or sent to: Compliance Office, P.O. Box 369, Goodman, MS 39079.

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