They said we couldn’t do it. Or keep doing it.
The under-estimation of Free Press journalism in Mississippi goes back to Jackson Free Press days for Publisher Kimberly Griffin and me. Then-Mayor Frank Melton shouted across Hal & Mal’s back in 2006 that “I’ll put you out of business in a year!” due to our reporting that no other media outlet dared to do about him. (Our journalism put him on trial … twice and got kids out of his dangerous, gun- and alcohol-filled North Jackson home.)
Work by my team and me was pivotal to sending a Klansman to prison decades later after other prominent reporters declared James Ford Seale dead and the civil rights cold-case era “over.”
Person after person has told us over two decades that the powerful would figure out how to destroy the Free Press in Mississippi due to our “daring” and ongoing coverage from a Lake development scheme that has delayed a Pearl River flood solution for decades, to what political figures and their appointees were and are actually doing in Mississippi.
Even now, people try to tell donors like you that the MFP is “extremist” because we report the hard facts of our race history and its impacts, as well as solutions. What is actually true is that we do not shape our reporting to support a particular candidate or party, and we report the truth and allow the contextual chips to fall where they may, left, right or wherever.
The point is: Free Press journalism is here, it is statewide (and nationally read and quoted), it is stronger, more trusted and more determined than ever since the JFP started back in 2002 on a kitchen table on Fortification Street in Jackson. Our dedicated team is more inclusive and paid better than ever, and it is growing in 2023 (thrilling news on that ahead). In fact, we haven’t had any staff turnover since our March 2020 launch.
We’ve become this powerful and respected independent David to over-confident chain- and corporate-media Goliaths because of you: your readership, your testimonials about our work and, now more than ever, your financial support. Those $2 gifts from a tiny Mississippi town are as meaningful to us as the $20,000 donations that help sustain us. And your comments on our donation page mean the world to us and help keep us going.
Please give now to help us close out our $100,000 November goal at the mid-point of our year-end NewsMatch campaign. This money will help support, sustain and grow our multi-award-winning team—because the Free Press team loves Mississippi dearly and believes in our potential for excellence.
Thank you for getting our backs and believing in Mississippi’s potential.
This MFP Voices essay does not necessarily represent the views of the Mississippi Free Press, its staff or board members. To submit an opinion for the MFP Voices section, send up to 1,200 words and sources fact-checking the included information to [email protected]. We welcome a wide variety of viewpoints.