January 10, 2014 10:28:50 AM
The Dispatch sports staff member Scott Walters was recognized Thursday as the state of Mississippi's National Sportscaster and Sportswriters (NSSA) Sportswriter of the Year.
This is the first time Walters, who has been with The Dispatch for more than two years in his second stint with the newspaper, has received the award.
"I have never been big on awards," Walters said. "However, this was a pleasant surprise and I am really humbled. The award is special because you are recognized by your peers."
Walters works primarily as a prep writer at The Dispatch. He also has covered the East Mississippi Community College football team for the past three seasons, and assists on Mississippi State and Ole Miss coverage.
This past season, Walters was instrumental in adding to The Dispatch's prep football coverage with a page that looked back on the past week and looked ahead to the next week.
"The best part of the job is still high school football," Walters said. "It is a thrill to go into a small community on a Friday night, cover a game, and know that 24 or 48 hours later they will be sitting at the gas station in that town talking about what you wrote."
Walters is a graduate of Laurel High School and MSU. He said MSU communications professors Hank Flick and Frances McDavid, who still work in that department, are his biggest influences.
Walters covered high school sports at The Dispatch while he attended MSU. He went on to become a Southern Mississippi beat writer for The Meridian Star, the prep editor at The Hattiesburg American, and an assistant sports editor at The Laurel Leader-Call.
Walters also has worked in the MSU athletic department for the past 10 years.
Mike "Doc" Emerick was named the NSSA National Sportscaster of the Year, while Sports Illustrated NFL writer Peter King was named NSSA National Sportswriter of the Year.
Marv Albert and Rick Reilly were elected to the NSSA Hall of Fame. Albert is a longtime network play-by-play announcer, while Reilly spent the bulk of his career at Sports Illustrated before moving to ESPN.
Finalists for the awards were nominated by NSSA members from mid-October to mid-November. Final balloting took place in December.
Follow Scott Walters on Twitter @dispatchscott.
Follow Dispatch sports editor Adam Minichino on Twitter @ctsportseditor.
Adam Minichino is the Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.
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