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Our Journalism Puts People First, Helps the Public Keep An Eye On Power

January is almost over, as unbelievable as that sounds. For me, that means my first month as news editor for the Mississippi Free Press will soon be in the books. After serving as Mississippi’s senior reporter for almost three years, I’m grateful to continue working in a new capacity as part of this incredible team that is inviting the nation to share in a kind of journalism that has been too rare in this state’s history.

Last week was very busy, and so was our new senior reporter, Kayode Crown. Earlier last week, he reported on a lawsuit that D’Monterrio Gibson—the Black FedEx driver who alleges that two white men chased and shot at him while he was making deliveries in Brookhaven, Miss., one year ago—filed this month.

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Then, in keeping the stories of Mississippians at the forefront, he reported on a pilot program for mental-health courts while emphasizing the case of Marvin Pernell, a Mississippi veteran who spent 18 months in jail without trial waiting for a mental-health evaluation.

Of course, there’s also the Legislature. When I told Kayode last Thursday about a controversial bill that critics say would allow white State officials to diminish Black political and legal power in Jackson, he headed straight to the Capitol that afternoon. He kept working until he turned in a nearly 3,000-word story sometime after 10 p.m. As a member of this team, Kayode knows that it’s more important to get a story right—with proper context and diligence—than to get it first.

In this role, I’ve also been working with reporter Nick Judin, who is working on a collaborative project with ProPublica’s Local News Network this year. Nick’s in-depth stories and investigations on issues like COVID-19 and the Jackson water crisis have helped drive national headlines in recent years, and I have no doubt that the work he’s doing between MFP and ProPublica will shed light on important issues that otherwise

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