MFP’s Systemic Reporting Prototype ‘BWC Project’ Wins National Award

AUSTIN, Texas—Friday night in the capital city of Texas, the Mississippi Free Press got a shout-out from the stage for its substantive explanatory welfare/TANF scandal timeline and concise explanatory coverage as the 2022 Lion Publishers Awards opened. MFP would then win first place for community engagement (medium/large revenue tier) for our systemic-reporting prototype project in Lion’s annual journalism contest at the Independent News Sustainability Summit.

Publisher Kimberly Griffin accepted the award on behalf of the “(In)Equity and Resilience: Black Women, Systemic Barriers and COVID-19 Project” team, which also includes DeAnna Tisdale Johnson, publisher of the Jackson Advocate, Mississippi’s oldest Black newspaper.

MFP Publisher and co-founder Kimberly Griffin and Jackson Advocate Publisher DeAnna Tisdale Johnson both write and facilitate solution circles including for the BWC Project.

“I’m very impressed with this project, how it was created, the focus and the potential impact,” one Lion Awards judge wrote. “With a thorough and organized approach, the Mississippi Free Press has been able to build trust with the community and then offer a platform for them to share the specific challenges they face every day.”

‘Systemic Reporting’ and ‘Solution Circles’

What the MFP/JA team calls the “BWC Project” for short is a prototype of MFP’s approach to what our editor has long referred to as “systemic reporting.” That is, we dig deeply into the historic causes of today’s inequities in specific Mississippi counties across a variety of “Mapping Mississippi” focuses.

Over time, after reporting the causes and specifics of the embedded inequities that create barriers to progress in discriminated-against communities, our team reports out potential solutions  after deep listening about what the community wants and needs, both in interviews and in solution circles.

Ongoing Preventing Violence solution circles are some of the solution circles that engage Mississippians in causes and solutions for crime. Graphic by Kristin Brenemen

The BWC Project approach includes in-depth reporting by mostly Black women journalists to explain the roots of today’s inequities to a diverse readership, believing that understanding of the actual causes is the only way to inspire real and lasting solutions across divides.

The BWC Project team has

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