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Sidney L. "Sid" Salter, a Mississippi State graduate and longtime syndicated columnist, returns to his alma mater March 1 as journalist-in-residence.
Reporting to Dean of Libraries Frances N. Coleman, the new position is designed to strengthen MSU's existing collections and to help develop a speaker series and other initiatives to enable MSU students to interact with leading U.S. journalists. Classroom instruction primarily for communication and political science majors will be among other duties.
The university's 2004 alumnus of the year, Salter was a John C. Stennis Scholar in Political Science as a student. At age 24, he became publisher and editor of the Scott County Times in Forest. He continued in that role for many years before leaving the weekly newspaper to become Perspective editor at the Jackson Clarion-Ledger, his current position.
In addition to duties at the state's largest newspaper, Salter served as weekday host for a statewide radio talk show covering politics and other current issues. "On Deadline with Sid Salter" aired in the 3-6 p.m. time slot on the Super Talk Mississippi Radio Network.
He was the first to hold the Kelly Gene Cook Chair of Journalism at the University of Mississippi, in residence at the university 1996-97. As one of the state's most respected journalists, he has covered politics from the court house to the state house to the White House.
"We are excited that Sid will help bolster our efforts to highlight the works of some of our state and nation's most outstanding journalists," Coleman said. "He is held in high regard within the profession, and he will bring a new level of visibility and exposure to Mitchell Memorial Library's collections, while helping introduce a new generation of students to the practice of journalism."
Salter is a two-time winner of the J. Oliver Emmerich Award, considered the premier annual honor of the Mississippi Press Association. The award is a memorial to another MSU alumnus who was longtime publisher and editor of the McComb Enterprise-Journal. Salter and Emmerich's collections are among those housed at the library.
Professional and personal files of other Mississippians in Mitchell's Special Collections include Pulitzer-Prize winner Hodding Carter, former editor of the Delta Democrat-Times in Greenville; former New York Times executive editor and Mississippi A&M (now MSU) graduate Turner Catledge; veteran political columnist Bill Minor of Jackson; and Norma Fields of Tupelo's Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, the first female in the state to head a capitol news bureau.
A Philadelphia native, Salter is a member of the hall of fame of the state press association, the nation's sixth oldest--it was founded in 1866--and whose files also are part of MSU's Special Collections.
"Because of Sid's unique background in both politics and journalism, we will be drawing on his talents to secure additional works in our Congressional and Political Research Center, as well as contributing to projects that highlight that collection," Coleman added.
For some time, Salter has served on the advisory board of MSU's John C. Stennis Institute of Government, where he now will work closely with executive director Marty Wiseman and his staff on a variety of political and public policy issues. (The Stennis Institute is located opposite the library along Hardy Road.)
President Mark E. Keenum said Salter's experience and background will "greatly benefit both the university and its students, especially those pursuing careers in journalism, public service and politics."
"We are placing increasing emphasis on our library as a cornerstone of the academic experience, and we know that Sid's energies, intellect and professional background will contribute significantly to these efforts," Keenum said.