January 27, 2018 10:16:36 PM
For the second time in five years, Dispatch sports reporter Scott Walters has been named the National Sports Media Association's Mississippi Sports Writer of the Year.
NSMA members in Mississippi selected Walters for the award. He, along with other state winners, will be honored during the 59th NSMA Awards Weekend June 23-25 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
Walters, who started writing for The Dispatch in 2011, first earned the state NSMA award in 2013.
At The Dispatch, Walters covers a variety of high school sports and has chronicled several teams' state championship journeys -- including West Point football's back-to-back titles, two of Starkville's football championships and three state football title teams in Noxubee County. He's also covered basketball state champion teams in Starkville and Columbus, championship baseball teams in New Hope and junior college national champion football teams at East Mississippi Community College.
Little compares to the atmosphere of a high school football game, Walters said.
"I'm deeply honored to have received this award for a second time. There are so many talented writers in this state," he said. "It is a tireless profession. However, I still have the same thrill on high school football Friday nights that I had 30 years ago when this writing career got started."
The Laurel native's sports writing career began as a sophomore in high school covering the high school football team for his local newspaper.
He earned a degree in communication with an emphasis in journalism at Mississippi State in 1993 and started his professional career later that year as the University of Southern Mississippi beat writer for the Meridian Star.
He later worked stints as the prep editor for the Hattiesburg American and assistant sports editor for the Laurel Leader-Call before joining The Dispatch. Between newspaper jobs, he served as the web director for the National Fastpitch Coaches Association.
Walters said he is passionate about writing, particularly when telling people's stories.
"Everyone has a story to tell," he said. "As a reporter, it is our job to find that story, to tell it accurately and to tell it in a way which will impact people."
Peter Imes, publisher for The Dispatch, said Walters' passion shines through in his work.
"Scott has done a great job of building sources with the teams he covers, and that's reflected in his reporting," Imes said. "I'm really proud of him for earning this statewide recognition for the second time."
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