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Mississippi Today reporters chosen for The New York Times Local Investigative Fellowship

Brian Howey and Nate Rosenfield, investigative reporters for the Mississippi Center for Investigative Reporting at Mississippi Today, have been selected for 2024 New York Times Local Investigations Fellowship.

The program, led by Dean Baquet, a former executive editor of The New York Times, gives journalists the opportunity to produce signature investigative work focused on the state or region they’re reporting from. Mississippi Today’s 2023 reporting in partnership with the Local Investigations Fellowship has been named as a finalist for the 2024 Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting.

“It has been so rewarding to help reporters turn their ideas into stories, and to produce work that has a huge local impact,” said Baquet. “It has also been exciting to work closely with newsrooms across the country, to see how many of them are doing great coverage sometimes against the odds.”

Mississippi Today and The New York Times’ yearlong examination of abuses by sheriffs departments in Mississippi is the most comprehensive examination of law enforcement misconduct in these communities to date. This series led to legislation that would require sheriffs and deputies, for the first time, to get law enforcement training and would give the licensing board the power to investigate law enforcement misconduct. Officers involved in the abuse have been indicted in state and federal court. 

READ MORE: The complete “Unfettered Power: Mississippi Sheriffs” series

Howey and Rosenfield will build on the high impact of the 2023 investigation of Mississippi sheriffs, delving deeper into law enforcement issues in Mississippi through the 2024 New York Times Local Investigations Fellowship.

“Brian and Nate getting to keep reporting here is invaluable to Mississippians’ understanding of one of the most important stories of our time,” said Adam Ganucheau, Mississippi Today’s editor-in-chief. “This innovative partnership with the Times has made their reporting so much more impactful. We’re proving that strong investigative journalism is so necessary at the local level.”

The work produced by fellows will be primarily edited by Dean Baquet; Chris Davis, deputy for the Local Investigative Reporting Fellowship; Kathleen McGrory, investigations editor; Adam Playford, data and investigations editor; and Rebecca Corbett, a senior investigative editor at The Times. 

To support the data work of the fellows, Big Local News, a data-sharing journalism lab based at Stanford University, will be working with the fellows on obtaining and analyzing data for their projects and providing ongoing training on investigative data techniques.

The fellowship was introduced to help develop the next generation of reporters to produce accountability journalism at the local level. In addition to producing signature investigative work, fellows will receive frequent training opportunities to learn investigative reporting techniques, make trips to the Times’ New York offices and attend conferences for additional training and mentorship. 

Brian Howey has a master’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley, Graduate School of Journalism and has written about policing, homelessness and conservation issues for local and national publications. 

Nate Rosenfield was recently awarded a grant by the Brown Institute for Media Innovation to design a tool using large language models that will help reporters gain new insights into the regulatory process. 

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