MSU event to spotlight unflinching ‘eyes’ of famed state journalist

Contact: Heath Fisackerly

Eyes on Mississippi flyer featuring a photo of Bill Minor

STARKVILLE, Miss.—“Eyes on Mississippi,” a 2015 documentary about the late Mississippi journalist Wilson F. “Bill” Minor, again will be screened at Mississippi State University.

To begin at 6 p.m. Tuesday [Oct. 17] in the recently opened Old Main Academic Center, the free public program features independent journalist Ellen Ann Fentress, the film’s producer, director and, with Lida Gibson, co-writer. Gibson also edited the nearly hour-long production.

Now of Jackson, Fentress is a Greenwood native and alumna of Vermont’s Bennington College. Her early career included work with The Capitol Reporter—Minor’s alternative weekly.

Before he died in late March at age 94, Minor spent a lifetime exposing racial discrimination and corruption in the Magnolia State. His personal and professional papers are among some 30 in the Mississippi Journalism Collection of MSU’s Mitchell Memorial Library. 

“Eyes” first was shown on the Starkville campus two years ago, not long after its public release. The title is shared with Minor’s long-running newspaper column and later book.

The College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Communication, Department of Political Science and Public Administration, and the campus chapter of Lambda Pi Eta national communication honor society, along with the the university's Gender Studies Program, are co-sponsoring the event.

Pete Smith, associate professor of communication, said the program will showcase “a filmmaker with Mississippi roots” and “help celebrate the extraordinary career of Bill Minor.”

Joining Fentress as speakers will be Donna Ladd of Jackson, co-owner and editor of the weekly Jackson Free Press, and W. Martin “Marty” Wiseman of Starkville, executive director emeritus of the John C. Stennis Institute of Government and Community Development. Both are MSU political science graduates who knew Minor well.

The forum is expected to last two and a half hours, which should give audience members ample opportunities to share thoughts about Minor’s overall impact, Smith said.

More Minor biographical information is found at; Fentress, at

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