The Mississippi Free Press will be a partner newsroom with ProPublica in 2023 after the New York-based nonprofit selected this publication and reporter Nick Judin for its Local Reporting Network initiative. He will continue to report for the Mississippi Free Press as its infrastructure reporter in collaboration with ProPublica starting in January.
Judin began reporting for the Jackson Free Press in 2019 and later became the Mississippi Free Press state reporter in 2020, where he has covered the Mississippi Legislature; public health and COVID-19; and infrastructure issues.
As ProPublica notes, Judin’s “award-winning reporting on the Jackson water crisis has developed an international following” and The Washington Post identified him “as one of Mississippi’s top political reporters” in 2022. This year, the University of Mississippi graduate served as a USC Annenberg Health Journalism Fellow investigating housing and evictions.
“Nick has done incredible work holding the powerful accountable and bringing attention to vital issues that affect not only Mississippi, but all Americans,” said Mississippi Free Press Senior Reporter Ashton Pittman. “His work on COVID-19 in Mississippi helped educate the nation during the pandemic’s first two years, and I have no doubt that his reporting on the Jackson water crisis helped bring national attention to this long-neglected infrastructure issue in our capital city. We are ecstatic for the work Nick is going to do in collaboration with ProPublica through the Local Reporting Network next year.”
Of the five newsrooms and journalists ProPublica selected for its Local Reporting Network during this round, three are from Mississippi. In addition to the Mississippi Free Press’ Judin, ProPublica announced that the organization has also selected Mississippi Today health reporter Isabelle Taft and Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal investigative reporter Caleb Bedillion.
Taft “has covered abortion, maternal and infant health, mental health and the operations of the State Division of Medicaid” and Bedillion previously “exposed how missing search warrants across Mississippi prevented scrutiny of no-knock raids,” ProPublica noted in its announcement.
The other two newsrooms and reporters selected for the Local Reporting Network include Source New Mexico reporter Patrick Lohmann of New Mexico and freelance journalist Samantha Sunne with WVUE in Louisiana.
ProPublica launched the Local Reporting Network initiative in 2018 “to boost investigative journalism in local newsrooms” and has since worked with “nearly 60 news organizations,” the organization said in its announcement. The latest group of five journalists will begin working on their projects on Jan. 3, 2023.
The Mississippi Free Press is a Jackson-based, nonprofit digital newsroom that launched in Mississippi in March 2020 and is a project of the Mississippi Journalism and Education Group. In addition to welcoming Judin to his new role as infrastructure reporter, the Mississippi Free Press will also announce the addition of a new reporter next year in collaboration with Report for America next year.