The Mississippi Association for Justice presented its Consumer Advocate of the Year Award to Meek School of Journalism and New Media Professor Joe Atkins at its convention at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in New Orleans on June 2.
MAJ Executive Director Ayres Haxton said the award is for Atkins’ journalistic work, including his book “Covering for the Bosses,” which deals with the labor movement in the South and the struggle of southern workers to have a voice.
Atkins is passionate about raising awareness of the labor movement, which he sees as a continuation of the Civil Rights Movement. “It’s an issue that has been important to me for a long time,” Atkins said. “I come from a working-class family, and I think they get the raw end of the deal in the modern economy.”
Atkins also writes a monthly column about labor unions and labor laws for the Clarion-Ledger.
According to Atkins, conflicts between southern laborers and corporations are not given proper coverage. “Mainstream media is corporate-owned, so there’s no real incentive to cover labor issues,” said Atkins. “What we get is a great, yawning silence, and that silence is distorting the issue.”
The MAJ, formerly the Mississippi Trial Lawyers Association, has a record of “defending the little guy,” says Atkins. “I was very proud to get the award from them.”