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Bill Minor Documentary to be Screened at Overby Center

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The remarkable 68-year career of Mississippi journalist Bill Minor is the subject of a new documentary that will be shown twice next week at the Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics at Ole Miss.

The hour-long film, produced by Ellen Ann Fentress of Jackson, is to be featured first at an Overby Center program at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 9, which will include a panel discussion with Fentress, Joe Atkins, an Ole Miss journalism professor who was a reporter for the Jackson Daily News and later wrote a column for the Clarion-Ledger, and the Rev. David Elliott, an Episcopal minister familiar with Minor’s impact in the state.

The documentary will be screened again at 2:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 10, in a special presentation for students.

Both events are free and open to the public and will be held in the Overby Center Auditorium.

“Bill Minor has had the most extraordinary career of any Mississippi journalist in history,” said Charles Overby, chairman of the center. “The documentary and discussion will give participants a chance to examine the life and actions of one of Mississippi’s most exceptional citizens.”

The film’s title, “Eyes on Mississippi,” is based on the name of a political column Minor started writing more than a half-century ago.

The 93-year-old Minor, a native of Louisiana, began as a newspaper reporter assigned to cover Mississippi for the Times-Picayune of New Orleans in 1947. After his regional position was discontinued by the paper in 1976, Minor bought and began publishing the Capitol Reporter, an independent weekly based in Jackson, that kept his aggressive reporting and commentary in print until it went out of business a few years later. Today, Minor continues to contribute a weekly column that is syndicated in Mississippi newspapers.

Minor won praise early in his career for his coverage of the civil rights movement. He received a Louis Lyons Award for Conscience and Integrity in Journalism in 1966 and won the first John Chancellor Award for Excellence in Journalism in 1997.

Fentress worked with Minor at the Capitol Reporter and spent several years developing the documentary to recognize a man she called “a reporter’s reporter” who was respected by journalists across the country.

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