Award-winning journalist Hawkins named Journal editor


Scott C. Hawkins, who began his journalism career at the Madison County Journal nearly 30 years ago, has been named the editor and vice president for news at Prince Media Group where he will oversee and produce content for the company’s newspapers, websites and magazines, announced James E. Prince III, president and CEO of the Ridgeland-based media company.

Michael Simmons, who has led the news division for nearly a decade, will shift his focus to the digital marketing arm of the company that is experiencing exponential growth and remain associate publisher of the Journal, Prince said.

Hawkins, a Jackson native with more than 30 years of community newspaper experience, comes back to the Prince group from Natchez, where he had served as editor of The Natchez Democrat and Natchez The Magazine since 2018.

“Scott brings an unprecedented level of reporting experience and talent to our organization reinforcing our solid commitment to community newspapers,” Prince said. “We are glad to have Scott home.”

Hawkins holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Southern Mississippi and a master’s degree in English from Mississippi State University.

During his tenure in Natchez, Hawkins led The Natchez Democrat to numerous top Mississippi Press Association Better Newspaper Contest awards, including first-place for General Excellence and the Freedom of Information award for work in 2018.

Prior to moving to Natchez, Hawkins served as the sports and features editor for The Sun Herald on the Mississippi Gulf Coast where he had worked in various capacities for 16 years.

During his time at The Sun Herald, Hawkins was a member of the newspaper’s editing and reporting team that rode out Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Their work in the immediate aftermath of the storm and in the ensuing months helped earn the newspaper a 2006 Pulitzer Gold Medal for Public Service.

Prior to his time at The Sun Herald, Hawkins worked at newspapers throughout the Southeast, including stints at the Hattiesburg American, the Starkville Daily News and serving as editor of The Benton Courier in Benton, Arkansas, and The Andalusia Star News in Andalusia, Alabama.

Hawkins’ first full-time newspaper job after earning his bachelor’s degree from Southern Miss in 1992, however, was as a reporter at the Journal.

“I am excited to be back in Madison County where my newspaper career began so many years ago,” Hawkins said. “The experience I gained while working under Jim Prince at the Madison County Journal served me well throughout my various stops at newspapers throughout the Southeast. I am proud to join the great team here at Prince Media Group.”

Hawkins, who was born in Jackson, attended Madison Ridgeland Academy for a time while growing up, and his mother, Sarah Hawkins, and his brother Rusty Hawkins and his family all currently reside in Ridgeland.

In addition to the Journal and The Neshoba Democrat in Philadelphia, the Prince group publishes Madison County Magazine, Neshoba Magazine and the Kemper County Messenger in DeKalb along with websites for the news operations.

In addition to glossy magazines and community newspapers that have been published continuously for nearly a century and a half, Prince Media Group operates a full-service advertising and digital marketing firm based in Ridgeland serving clients from New York, metropolitan Boston and Washington, D.C., to California utilizing revolutionary digital advertising technology to craft specific audiences for streaming television and other platforms targeting customers or influencers, particularly on their desktop and mobile devices.

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