Mississippi Today officially launched Monday evening at a public reception at The South Warehouse in Jackson.
The news organization, Mississippitoday.org, is a digital-only nonpartisan site that will aggressively and objectively cover state and local government affairs and community issues, as well as the state’s social culture. Access to Mississippi Today is free. Our stories are meant to be shared through social media and with other news organizations. The organization is committed to providing wide-ranging coverage presented by a diverse staff of journalists.
The news venture is co-edited by Fred Anklam Jr. and Dennis Moore, award-winning journalists with long ties to Mississippi who have returned home to help bring this innovative news coverage to the state.
Mississippi Today is the public arm of Mississippi News and Information Corp., a nonprofit corporation established in 2014. The launch of Mississippi Today was realized through grants from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Ford Foundation and through the generous support from individual donors, including founder Andrew Lack.
Lack, now chairman of NBC NEWS and MSNBC, chose Mississippi for the site of this innovative approach to news coverage largely because of his family ties to the state running back through several generations.
“All of us involved in this project have great aspirations for Mississippi’s future, and believe that competitive, world-class journalism is an essential piece of that puzzle,” Lack said.
The mission of Mississippi Today is to produce high-quality reporting to act as a government watchdog, support the functioning democracy and help shape the future of the state. Increasing citizen awareness, including how government action affects all people and all communities, may lead to greater civic engagement.
Mississippi Today will help develop the next generation of distinguished journalists who reflect the state’s diversity by recruiting exceptional graduates of journalism, communications and public policy programs and by working with current students in the state’s colleges and universities to develop skills that will prepare them for productive careers.
“The team at Mississippi Today is focused on informing residents about state and local government, education and poverty. Their journalism has the potential to increase civic engagement, by making Mississippians more aware of how government action or inaction affects their lives, ” said Karen Rundlet, program officer for journalism at Knight Foundation, the nation’s leading funder of journalism and media innovation.
Support for continued operation of Mississippi Today comes from sponsors, donors, advertising and Mississippians Together, our annual fund that unites readers from different backgrounds who share an interest in meeting challenges facing the state.
Mississippi News and Information Corp. operates with a board of directors composed of Donna Barksdale, executive chair; Andrew Lack, founder; James Barksdale, former Netscape CEO and chairman of Barksdale Management Corp.; Toni Cooley, CEO of Systems Companies; Tiffany Graves, executive director of the Mississippi Access to Justice Commission; Tray Hairston, bond counsel at Butler Snow LLP; Will Norton Jr., dean of the University of Mississippi’s Meek School of Journalism and New Media; Charles Overby, former CEO of the Freedom Forum/Newseum and chairman of the Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics, and Tom Pittman, CEO of the Community Foundation of Northwest Mississippi.
Mississippi Today’s advisory board, whose members provide insight and encouragement to the news effort, include Ronnie Agnew, Mississippi Public Broadcasting executive director; Reuben Anderson, lawyer and former state Supreme Court Justice; Hope Bynum, Jackson-area community leader; Fred Carl, Viking Range founder; Bishop Ronnie C. Crudup Sr., administrative bishop for the Fellowship of International Churches; Eddie Fritts, former CEO of the National Association of Broadcasters and founder of the Fritts Group consulting firm, Lloyd Gray, former journalist and Phil Hardin Foundation executive director; Paul Hurst, former chief of staff to Governor Haley Barbour, Of Counsel at Butler Snow; Archie Manning, former Ole Miss and New Orleans Saints quarterback; Jon Meacham, author and Executive Editor at Random House; John Palmer, technology entrepreneur and former U.S. Ambassador to Portugal; Charles W. Pickering Sr., retired federal appeals and district court judge; Jack Reed Jr., businessman and former Tupelo mayor; Nan Sanders, arts advocate and Mississippi Arts Commission chair; Brian Sanderson, senior advisor, Republican Governors Association; and Billy Van Devender, CEO of Claw Forestry.