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‘A Beacon of Hope’: Mississippi Free Press Wins Robert G. McGruder Award for Diversity Leadership in First Poynter Prizes 

The Mississippi Free Press is pleased to announce that it was honored in April with the inaugural Robert G. McGruder Award for Diversity Leadership prize. The Poynter Institute presented the award in an online announcement for the first Poynter Prizes. The Poynter Institute, based in St. Petersburg, Fla., is a global nonprofit that strengthens democracy by improving journalism’s relevance, ethical practice and value.

“There are so many nonprofit newsrooms that have launched and do not take into account diversity and how to build trust in communities that have felt ignored. The Mississippi Free Press built its newsroom with the community and its diversity in mind. They are a beacon of hope in our industry and a true example to follow for other news organizations,” The Poynter Institute said in its April 23, 2024, Poynter Prize announcement.

The Mississippi Free Press meets vital information needs across the state and bridges coverage gaps in urban, suburban and rural areas. Central to this commitment is ensuring that equity and inclusion are fundamental principles guiding both our content creation and the composition of our newsroom. The MFP cultivates a media environment and trains a diverse pipeline of team members that authentically represent our audience’s diverse viewpoints and life experiences by prioritizing these values. Our journalists and writers actively engage with Mississippians across 82 counties through initiatives like our solutions circles convened across the state, amplifying and learning from underrepresented Mississippians’ voices and perspectives.

“We’re so excited about winning this award,” Kimberly Griffin, co-founder and publisher, said. “We believe that a free and open press helps protect democracy, and core to that mission is media that reflect the communities they serve. We’ve intentionally created a newsroom that looks like Mississippi, which is why we’re Mississippi’s most inclusive newsroom. Over the next few months, we’ll add more team members from more communities around Mississippi.”

Griffin added that an inclusive newsroom and coverage helped grow their inclusive donor base. “Our coverage invites people to join our community at whatever level they are comfortable with,” she said.” “It’s not my job to decide if someone can or can’t

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