“[A]s the invaluable Mississippi Free Press tells us, the Lost Cause is still making mischief.

– Esquire Magazine

MFP Impact, Awards and Media Coverage – 2023

(See 2020, 2021 and 2022 Impact) Since the Mississippi Free Press launched on March 15, 2020, just as COVID-19 was hitting the state, the team’s journalism has had a significant impact, as well as drawn consistent attention from other media. Following is a reverse timeline of impact, media collaborations, and international, national, and state media mentions and pickups.

November 19, 2023

The Starkville Daily News reprinted MFP reporter Heather Harrison’s story about Democrat De’Keither Stamps’ election to the Mississippi Public Service Commission. 

November 9, 2023

GulfLive referenced reporting by MFP News Editor Ashton Pittman in their story about the investigation into Lexington, Miss. police over accusations of racism and abuse.

November 8, 2023

NewsOne referenced MFP News Editor Ashton Pittman and William Pittman’s  investigation into precinct voting location changes in their story about reports of voter suppression in the gubernatorial election.

Meanwhile, Newsweek and Daily Kos featured Ashton’s tweets in their stories about multiple Hines County precincts running out of ballots.

October 26, 2023

NewsOnyx and Atlanta Black Star used reporting by MFP News Editor Ashton Pittman in their stories about a Jackson mother who searched for her missing son for months only to find that he had been killed and buried by Jackson police.

October 17, 2023

Delta News TV reported on MFP News editor Ashton Pittman’s factcheck of Governor Tate Reeves accusation that  Representative Bennie Thompson of supporting Hamas.

Daily Kos  and NewsOne also referenced the piece, through coverage of Ashton’s tweets, in their stories about racist tropes used in  Reeve’s gubernatorial campaign. 

October 11, 2023

Yardbarker cited the extensive timeline of the Mississippi Welfare Fraud Scandal constructed by MFP News Editor Ashton Pittman and contributor William Pittman in their piece on the continued involvement of Hall of Fame Quarterback Bret Favre in the story.

October 5, 2023

The Institute for Nonprofit News  (INN) highlighted a six-part series cooperative journalism series from the Rural News Network, a project of INN with support from the Walton Family Foundation. The series looks at the unique challenges facing communities of color around the United States. MFP, as one of six participating newsrooms from around the country, contributed an in-depth piece by Christian Middleton detailing the struggles of a Black family seeking justice for their murdered relative.

October 3, 2023

Reporting by MFP New Editor Ashton Pittman was cited in stories by Bleacher Report and NewsOne about Bret Favre’s upcoming deposition about his involvement in the Mississippi Welfare Fraud Scandal.

September 25, 2023

The Starkville Daily News reprinted MFP reporter Heather Harrison’s culture piece about the Cotton District Arts Festival.

September 22, 2023

The Atlanta Black Star drew from reporting by MFP News Editor Ashton Pittman for their story detailing the Mississippi Supreme Court ruling that found part of House Bill 1020 unconstitutional.

September 12, 2023

The Magnolia Tribune posted a story, which was then reprinted in the Kosciusko Star-Herald, about MFP’s appeal of a ruling late last year of the Mississippi Ethics Commission which stated that a meeting of the state legislature’s House Republican Caucus is not a “public body” and therefore is not in violation of the Open Meetings Act when it meets behind closed doors.

September 10, 2023

The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal reprinted MFP Education Reporter Torsheta Jackson’s story about the firing of several Jackson Public Schools employees over testing irregularities.

September 2, 2023

The Tennessee Tribute reprinted MFP Reporter Heather Harrison’s story about the struggle of a Mississippi hospital to remain open. Delta News TV also referenced Heather’s story in their piece on the status of the hospital.    

August 31, 2023

PinkNews used reporting by MFP News Editor Ashton Pittman in their story about the election of Mississippi’s first openly gay lawmaker, Fabian Nelson.

August 30, 2023

The Poynter Institute, a world leader in providing training for and fostering diversity in journalism, has selected MFP Deputy Editor for Voices and Systemic Reporting, Azia Wiggins, to be a member of the cohort for their upcoming Leadership Academy for Women in Media. Congratulations, Azia!

August 22, 2023

Outlets such as LGBTQNation, Metro Weekly and the Miami Herald have referenced MFP News Editor Ashton Pittman’s reporting in their stories about the restriction of the “Heartstopper” young adult graphic novels to the adult section of the Marion County Public Library. The books were temporarily removed from circulation following a complaint about the presence of the books, which feature a romance between two teenage boys. Upon review by the library’s board, the decision was made to shelve the books in the adult section, where minors can access them only with parental permission.

August 21, 2023

The North Mississippi Daily Journal  and the Starkville Daily News republished MFP reporter Heather Harrison’s piece about the work that a team of cultural anthropology researchers from Mississippi State University is doing on an historic Black cemetery in Starkville.

The Lion drew on reporting by MFP Education Reporter Torsheta Jackson for their story about JPS’s investigation into testing gains.

August 17, 2023

The Washington Post and BET both relied on reporting by MFP News Editor Ashton Pittman in their stories covering a mistrial declared in the case of a white father and son accused of shooting at a Black FedEx driver as he attempted to make deliveries.

August 16, 2023

The Daily Yonder published a version of MFP Reporter Heather Harrison’s in-depth story on the aftermath of the tornado that hit the city of Rolling Fork in March of this year.

August 14, 2023

The Institute for Nonprofit News (INN) published an in-depth story about the MFP. The piece is a case study of the development of the organization from its earlier-than-planned pandemic launch into the nationally recognized  newsroom that it is today. 

August 11, 2023

The Meridian Star reprinted MFP Education Reporter Torsheta Jackson’s story describing new rules that Mississippi Schools are putting in place to protect student athletes from the dangers of extreme heat.

August 4, 2023

The New York Daily News referenced two stories by MFP News Editor Ashton Pittman in their story about a Mississippi appeals court’s ruling that a Jim Crow-era voting law is unconstitutional.

The Commercial Dispatch reprinted MFP News Editor Ashton Pittman’s story about Mississippi State Senator Chris McDaniels’ response to voter fraud allegations related to his place of residence.

July 31, 2023

Wonkette featured MFP Reporter Heather Harrison’s story covering Miss. Governor Tate Reeves’ Neshoba County Fair speech, in which he advised Mississippians who wanted health care to get better jobs, in their Morning News Roundup. They continued their coverage the next day with an original story on the topic of healthcare in Mississippi that references Heather’s story.

July 26, 2023

Milwaukee Community Journal referenced reporting by MFP News Editor Ashton Pittman in their story about a federal court’s blocking Mississippi’s recently passed law, SB 2558, that makes voting more difficult for citizens with disabilities.

July 20, 2023

MFP News Editor Ashton Pittman’s story about a Mississippi state senator who was accused of being a “groomer” because of photos of him wearing a pink tutu to raise funds for breast cancer research was referenced in stories by outlets across the nation including Newsweek,  Raw Story and LGBTQ Nation.

July 18, 2023

MFP News Editor Ashton Pittman’s story revealing the existence of a letter signed by the attorneys general of 19 states to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra calling on him to drop a proposed rule change that would prevent states from obtaining private health information from persons who travel across state lines to access reproductive health care drew the attention of numerous outlets such as the Magnolia Reporter, the Chattanooga Times Free Press, Wonkette  and Cobalt Advocates.

July 13, 2023

Daily Kos featured MFP News Editor Ashton Pittman’s story about the complaint filed by the Department of Justice against Mississippi House Bill 1020 in its “Abbreviated Daily  Pundit.”  H.B. 1020 gives the chief justice of the Mississippi Supreme Court the power to appoint unelected judges to serve in majority-Black Hinds County.

July 8, 2023

The Oxford Eagle drew from reporting by freelance contributor Hayden Wiggs for MFP in their story looking at the legacy  of University of Mississippi student Jay Lee one year after his disappearance.

July 7, 2023

Starkville Daily News  reprinted MFP Reporter Heather Harrison’s story about Starkville Alderman and Vice Mayor Roy Perkins.

Nossaman LLC, included in their “Compliance Notes” a story by  MFP News Editor Ashton Pittman revealing that the Mississippi Democratic Party could receive ethics penalties due to their failure to report campaign spending.

July 6, 2023

The Daily Beast cited work by MFP News Editor Ashton Pittman in their story about Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves’ practice of giving influential government positions to his largest donors.

July 7, 2023

The Arkansas Leader profiled MFP Reporter Nick Judin, the winner of the Garrick Feldman Award for Community Coverage awarded by the Society of Professional Journalists, Arkansas Professional Chapter. The community journalism award fas established in memory of Feldman, the founding editor and publisher of The Leader.

June 29, 2023

Black Enterprise referenced the work of MFP Reporter Heather Harrison in their story about five Rankin County Deputies who were fired after being accused of assaulting two Black men and shooting one of them.

June 27, 2023

The American Journalism Online Awards, presented by New York University’s American Journalism Online Master’s Program of NYU’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute, gave MFP News Editor Ashton Pittman the award for Best News-Based Twitter Thread for his thread explaining the timeline of the Bret Favre/Mississippi Welfare Scandal. LION Publishers recognized the award and congratulated Ashton in their newsletter.

June 25, 2023

The North Mississippi Daily Journal reprinted MFP reporter Heather Harrison’s story about the closure of St. Dominic Hospital ‘s mental health unit.

June 22, 2023

MFP News Editor Ashton Pittman’s story about a Mississippi State Senator’s call for the return of the old state flag has been reprinted and referenced in numerous articles from both in-state and national outlets. Reprints were published in Mississippi outlets NEMiss.news, New Albany Gazette and the Daily Journal. Raw Story, Daily Kos, Independent, BET, BoingBoing and Mississippi Today are among the outlets referencing Ashton’s work.

June 19, 2023

MFP News Editor Ashton Pittman’s story reporting on Mississippi’s observance of Confederate Memorial Day while declining to observe Juneteenth was referenced by author Annette Gordon-Reed in an interview on MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show.

June 14, 2023

The Police Tribune drew from reporting by MFP’s Ashton Pittman in their report on the suspension of the Mississippi police officer who shot an 11-year-old boy.

June 13, 2023

Sportskeeda referenced MFP News Editor Ashton Pittman’s work in their story on the arrest of Jill Collen Jefferson, a civil rights attorney arrested in Lexington, Miss. for filming a traffic stop.

June 8, 2023

The International Ombuds Association republished MFP News Editor Ashton Pittman’s story about the University of Mississippi Ombuds who fought to Protect Employees’ Confidentiality After UM Emails Series.

May 26, 2023

The Starkville Daily News reprinted a story by MFP reporter Heather Harrison about an Oktibbeha County woman’s struggles with State Farm over payment of her storm damage claims.

May 23, 2023

The Columbus, Miss. Commercial Dispatch reprinted MFP reporter Heather Harrison’s story about a Mississippi man convicted for his role in the January 6 insurrection.

May 19, 2023

Reuters, California Examiner,  Inside EditionFBC News, Ruetir, Comic Sands and Economic Times are among the outlets that have referenced or reprinted MFP News Editor Ashton Pittman’s stories about a Mississippi trans girl who missed her high school graduation after her school district insisted that she dress  as a male.  

SuperTalk Mississippi Media referenced reporting by MFP reporter Heather Harrison in their story about a Mississippi man convicted of assaulting a police officer during the January 6 Capitol Riot.

May 18, 2023

The Mississippi Free Press hosted nearly 30 journalists and publishers from across the Deep South when they gathered in Jackson, Miss. for the LION Publishers’ Deep South News Sustainability Meetup on May 18. Attendees from Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, Georgia, Arkansas and Tennessee met to discuss issues related to community-centered independent news organizations.

Delta News relied on reporting by MFP News Editor Ashton Pittman for their story, “TANF for TANF,” describing the use of the welfare funds to pay attorneys tasked with recovering welfare funds misspent in the recent Mississippi Welfare Scandal.

May 14, 2023

The Chattanooga Times Free Press, in their story about Tennessee’s license plates, referenced MFP News Editor Ashton Pittman’s story about the absence of the motto “In God We Trust” on Mississippi’s new version. 

May 10, 2023 

The History News Network republished Jonathan Odell’s opinion piece, “Black History Can Save White Folks, Too,” which first appeared in the Mississippi Free Press.

May 5, 2023

Following the release of Bryant’s texts, outlets such as  Total Pro Sports, Sportskeeda, Yardbarker, The Spun and BroBible published stories referencing MFP News Editor Ashton Pittman’s reporting of a new twist in the already twisted welfare scandal saga. Text messages included among those Bryant released revealed that Brett Favre, along with a partner, had sought help from then-President Donald Trump to acquire funding to launch a new concussion drug.

May 4, 2023

In response to a court filing by MFP, along with Mississippi Today and the Daily Journal, former Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant released hundreds of text messages and other documents related to the welfare scandal that came to light last year. Included among the documents released were text messages exchanged with former NFL quarterback Brett Favre, indicted nonprofit operator Nancy New and others. News outlets such as the Daily Journal, the Scott County Times, and the Associated Press reported on the story.

May 1, 2023

Diane Ravitch’s Blog reprinted Donna Ladd’s editorial introducing MFP ‘s new Report for America Corps reporter, Torsheta Jackson.

Apr. 27, 2023

The Park Center for Independent Media at Ithaca College formally presented the 15th Annual Izzy Awards at a virtual ceremony. The Mississippi Free Press was one of four recipients–two news organizations and two individual journalists–to be honored with the national award for outstanding achievement in independent media named for pioneering journalist I.F. Stone.

Apr. 26, 2023

As we announced here last December, Report for America named Mississippi Free Press as one of its partner newsrooms for 2023-24. Today we are thrilled that we can officially announce that our RFA Corps member is Torsheta Jackson! Torsheta will join our reporting staff in July as our new education reporter. Welcome, Torsheta, we’re so happy to have you on the team!

Apr. 19, 2023

People’s Tribune reprinted MFP News Editor Ashton Pittman’s story “What Happens in Mississippi Never Stops in Mississippi.”

WDAM, a television station in south Mississippi, referenced MFP senior reporter Kayode Crown’s reporting in their story about a free expungement clinic offered in Hattiesburg recently.

Apr. 17, 2023

Waste Dive referenced two stories reported by Kayode Crown in their recent story covering Richard’s Disposal’s lawsuit against the city of Jackson. 

Apr. 11, 2023

The People’s Dispatch article “‘Plantation Politics’ to Blame for Jackson, Mississippi Water Crisis” drew from MFP stories by reporter Nick Judin, as well as MFP Voices contributor Jason Coker. This piece was reprinted in Consortium News.

Apr. 7, 2023

Advocate drew heavily from Ashton Pittman’s MFP story for their piece on Miss Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith’s block of President Biden’s choice for a federal judgeship over the issue of trans rights.

Apr. 6, 2023

Diane Ravitch featured MFP Editor and CEO Donna Ladd’s piece on the Noxubee County, Miss. schools on her education blog.

The authors of the scholarly article “Boil water alerts and their impact on the unexcused absence rate in public schools in Jackson, Mississippi,” published in the journal Nature Water, referenced work by MFP deputy editor Azia Wiggins and freelance writer Malcolm Morrow.

Apr. 5, 2023

MFP News Editor Ashton Pittman’s story “Gov. Reeves Declares Confederated Heritage Month, A 30-Year-Old Mississippi Tradition” has been quoted, highlighted and reprinted in outlets such as Who What Why, Wonkette, Fark, Daily Kos, and Lipstick Alley.

The Institute for Nonprofit News used an example from the MFP’s fundraising campaign in their report on the  success of their 2022 NewsMatch campaign. The example featured MFP donor organization The James and Madeleine McMullan Foundation and their reasons for supporting MFP.

Mar. 30, 2023

The Park Center for Independent Media at Ithaca College has chosen the Mississippi Free Press as one of four 2023 recipient of the Izzy Award for outstanding achievement in independent media for exposing corruption and giving voice to marginalized communities. The Izzy is named for dissident journalist I.F. Stone, known for questioning McCarthyism, the Vietnam War, racial injustice, and government deceit. The Izzy Awards will be presented at a ceremony on April 27, at 6:30 p.m., EDT on Zoom. Democracy Now reported on the awards.

Mar. 28, 2023

PRX, a public media company specializing in audio journalism and storytelling, has chosen a team from the Mississippi Free Press to participate as part of its central region cohort in the PRX Journalism Podcast Accelerator. The 12-week podcast training and development program is conducted by  PRX and is sponsored by the John S. and James L Knight Foundation.

Feb. 27, 2023

The Daily Yonder republished Ashton Pittman’s story reporting on the current number of rural hospitals at risk of closure in Mississippi.

The Daily Beast referenced reporting by MFP’s Kayode Crown and Ashton Pittman, among other sources, in their piece titled “Jim Crow is Resurrected in Mississippi.”

Feb. 23, 2023

Mother Jones referenced a report from the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation published by MFP in their story “A Mississippi Police Officer Who Shot a Black 15-Year-Old in the Head Won’t Face Criminal Charges.

Feb. 22, 2023

SCOTUS Blog featured Ashton Pittman’s story about the high court’s dismissal of Buck v. Reeves, a case alleging racially-motivated gerrymandering of the states congressional districts in its Morning Read.  Election Law Blog also highlighted the story.

Feb. 21, 2023

The New Republic and Jezebel both featured stories that drew from MFP reporter Kayode Crown’s reporting on the passage of the REAP Act, legislation designed to prevent access to gender-affirming care for Mississippians under the age of 18, by the state senate.

Feb. 20, 2023

The People’s Tribune reprinted MFP reporter Kayode Crown’s story reporting the abuse of two Black men by deputies from the Rankin County Sheriff’s Department.

Feb. 17, 2023

It’s a big day for awards at MFP! Two of our own have been chosen for highly prestigious honors, and we couldn’t be prouder of them!

Editor and Publisher has named MFP News Editor Ashton Pittman to its “25 Under 35” Class of 2023.

And our Co-founder, Publisher and Chief Revenue Officer Kimberly Griffin was selected as one of the Mississippi Business Journal’s 50 Distinguished Leading Business Women. She was further honored today at the annual luncheon when she was chosen as one of the top ten finalists to Business Woman of the Year! 

Congratulations Ashton and Kimberly!

Feb. 16, 2023

Shine My Crown, a digital platform representing the Black and Brown experience, drew from MFP contributor Leo Carney’s reporting in their story about the death of a Black trans woman in a Mississippi jail.

Feb. 15, 2023

The Guardian referenced reporting by MFP’s Kayode Crown in their story about a proposed new judicial district in Jackson.

Feb. 3, 2023

MFP Reporter Nick Judin’s first story as a ProPublica local journalist dug into proposed legislation that many fear will divert funds approved by Congress for repair of Jackson’s water system. The in-depth piece was a co-publication of ProPublica and the Mississippi Free Press. The story was then republished by national outlets such as  Raw Story, Talking Points Memo, Popular Resistance, Portside, and Newsbreak.

Jan. 27, 2023

The impact of  the MFP and reporter Nick Judin’s legal complaint accusing the Mississippi House of Representatives of failing to abide by the Mississippi Open Meetings Act,  and the subsequent rejection by the Mississippi Ethics Commission of a recommendation affirming the House as a “public body” and therefore subject to the act, continues to make headlines, as seen in these stories published by the Associated Press, the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal and  the Kosciusko Star-Herald. (See the 2022 Impact page for more.)

Jan. 25, 2023

BET and Newsone relied on the reporting of MFP reporter Kayode Crown to tell the story of Black FedEx driver D’Monterrio Gibson’s lawsuit in response to the attack on him and its aftermath.

Jan. 24, 2023

LGBTQ+ news outlet Them drew from reporting by MFP reporters Kayode Crown and Ashton Pittman for their story on anti-trans bills before the Mississippi legislature.

Jan. 20, 2023

MLK50 republished Donna Ladd’s editorial “White theft: The audacity of co-opting Dr. King.”

Jan. 19, 2023

Nonprofit public policy organization The Brookings Institute referenced two MFP stories about Jackson’s water crisis, and another written by our reporter Kayode Crown for the Jackson Free Press, in their essay “Why state and local relationships matter to national prosperity: A case for economic collaboration.”

Jan. 10, 2023

History News Network republished freelance writer Zach Borenstein’s story detailing his reasons for vandalizing a confederate statue on the campus of the University of Mississippi. Borenstein’s piece was originally published as an MFP Voices story.