November 21, 2017  

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Mississippi Humanities Council Partners with Southern Miss and Overby Center to Celebrate Pulitzer Centennial

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To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the most prestigious award in journalism, The University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Park Campus will host several Pulitzer Prize winners for a panel discussion on Jan. 21 at 5 p.m. in the Hardy Hall Ballroom.

The free program is part of a series entitled “The Pulitzer Prize and Mississippi Journalism,” presented by the Mississippi Humanities Council in partnership with the Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics at the University of Mississippi and the Pulitzer Board.

“The College of Arts & Letters at Southern Miss is excited to join the Mississippi Humanities Council and other sponsors in hosting this important event,” said Dr. Maureen Ryan, interim dean of the College of Arts & Letters. “The Pulitzer Prizes are the gold standard in the acknowledgement of timely, powerful journalism, and this event’s focus on Mississippi newspapers’ award-winning stories makes this a particularly relevant program.” 

The session, entitled “The Pulitzer Prize in Mississippi: Responding to Natural Disasters,” will feature Stan Tiner, former editor of the Sun Herald - winner of the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for its coverage of Hurricane Katrina; Natasha Trethewey, Gulfport native - winner of the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry and 2012-14 United States Poet Laureate; and Charlie Mitchell, professor of journalism at the University of Mississippi and former editor of the TheVicksburg Post, which won a Pulitzer in 1954 for its coverage after a devastating tornado.

Charles Overby, former executive editor of the The Clarion-Ledger, which won a Pulitzer for its coverage of education reform in 1983, and former director of the Newseum in Washington, D.C., will moderate the discussion, which will be followed by a reception.

“We are very excited to honor the well-deserved Pulitzer Prizes won by these Mississippi newspapers for service to their communities in times of crisis. This panel will allow us to examine the important role that newspapers play during natural disasters. They not only report the news, but they help bind their community together,” said Stuart Rockoff, executive director of the Mississippi Humanities Council. “We are especially excited to bring Pulitzer Prize winning poet Natasha Trethewey back to the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Her poignant work Beyond Katrina explores the impact of the storm on her family and her hometown.”

The panel discussion, which is free and open to the public, is the first event in a series of Pulitzer Campfire Initiative programs planned for Mississippi in 2016. To mark the centennial of the Pulitzer Prizes, the Pulitzer Board announced the Campfires Initiative, which aims to ignite broad engagement with the journalistic, literary, and artistic values the Prizes represent.

“The University of Southern Mississippi is honored to be hosting this outstanding event, which brings prestigious Pulitzer Prize winners to our campus for both the Southern Miss community and the Mississippi Gulf Coast community to enjoy,” said Dr. Deanne Stephens Nuwer, associate dean and associate professor in the College of Arts & Letters, Gulf Park campus. 

Support comes from grants from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Ford Foundation, Carnegie Corporation of New York, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, and the Pulitzer Prize Board. To inspire year-long programming throughout Mississippi, the board has partnered with the Mississippi Humanities Council.