Mississippi Today is pleased to announce two new members of the Mississippi Today team: Molly Minta, higher education reporter, and Candace Mckenzie, an emerging reporters fellow.

A Florida native, Minta joins Mississippi Today as the newest member of the education team. Her work will be in partnership with Open Campus, a nonprofit news organization focused on higher education, and the Woodward Hines Education Foundation, a Mississippi nonprofit that believes postsecondary degrees and credentials are vital in improving the lives of Mississippians, building communities, and strengthening our workforce. 

“Higher education in Mississippi is a sorely under-covered beat, and I can’t wait for Molly to start digging into complex and important issues facing Mississippians such as access to financial aid, declining state funding or how the pandemic has affected student learning,” said Managing Editor Kayleigh Skinner. “It’s incredibly important to have a reporter covering Mississippi’s higher education landscape, which plays a role in everything from our state workforce’s preparedness to residents’ earning potential and willingness to stay in Mississippi.”

Prior to joining Mississippi Today, Minta worked for The Nation and The Appeal. 

“I am so excited to be joining the talented team at Mississippi Today as the first reporter dedicated to covering higher education,” Minta said. “Between COVID-19 and the student-led protests for racial justice, this is a crucial time for higher education in Mississippi. There are so many stories to be told, and I can’t wait to get started.” 

Mckenzie, a Raymond native, will help bolster Mississippi Today’s public education and mental health coverage, and she’ll work closely with newsroom reporters on investigative projects.

“I am actually pretty honored to be working with Mississippi Today because I am a part of an organization that values so much of what I personally value, which is a vital aspect of my professional life,” she said. “Not only does Mississippi Today share many of the same values as I do, but its methodical approach to journalism for all Mississippians is something I am excited for as a growing journalist.”

She earned an associate’s degree from Hinds Community College before transferring to Millsaps College, where she will graduate this spring. During her time at Millsaps, Mckenzie served as editor-in-chief of The Purple and White student newspaper and collaborated with administration, alumni, students and several others to revive the defunct print paper to an online destination for campus news.

“I had the pleasure of working with Candace when I advised The Purple and White at Millsaps,” said Adam Ganucheau, editor-in-chief at Mississippi Today. “Every day I worked with her, she showed just how sharp and driven she was. She’s deeply curious about some of the state’s biggest problems, making her the perfect fit for us. She’s a tireless leader, and she’s earned the respect of everyone she’s worked with. I know she’ll bring that passion with her to Mississippi Today, and we can’t wait to learn from her.”

The Millsaps senior is also working with the Mississippi Center for Investigative Reporting on a comparative investigative report on domestic violence against women of color in Mississippi and Texas.