This year saw no shortage of news in Mississippi. It began with a pandemic still raging, and summer saw our home state become the focal point of a national conversation about abortion access. From text messages pulled from the state’s largest embezzlement scandal in history to a water crisis that left the capital city without running water, there was a lot to write about.
Through it all, our journalists were there.
This year we kicked off “The Backchannel,” Anna Wolfe’s investigative series which revealed former Gov. Phil Bryant’s role in the state’s sprawling welfare scandal, which continues to put pressure on the state’s power players.
When a Mississippi law became the center of a landmark legal case about the constitutional right to abortion, our team was there to help Mississippians make sense of it. Our reporters rode in vehicles with one of the last doctors performing abortions in the state days ahead of the Dobbs decision. We published an extended Q&A on the day the decision came down with the author of the 2018 bill that led to the fall of abortion access for much of the nation.
The news never relented as the year unfolded.
In September as the Jackson water crisis worsened, our reporters sprang to action, even while most of them lived through it themselves. Every Mississippi Today staffer played a role in covering the crisis, from getting answers to commonly asked questions from you, our readers, and writing stories — so many stories — to document what was happening across the city. Our coverage spanned the gamut, from why immigrants were scared to go to water distribution sites to a profile about how local activists were frustrated with media coverage, both local and national. Our staff wrote countless stories with information to help Jacksonians navigate the crisis.
This fall, we launched a new project to squarely confront Mississippi’s health care crisis. Our stories probed the concept of Medicaid expansion — what it would do and what our leaders have to say about why they won’t embrace it — and seek to define the extent of the health care crisis in Mississippian’s hospitals, homes and lives. This work will continue.
Our stories provided readers with insight into what is actually happening in the state’s only critical race theory course. A monthslong investigation gave voice to Black Delta farmworkers who faced discrimination at the hands of their employers. We spoke to students in school districts where books are being banned to ask them how it feels to have representation taken away.
Not all our stories were about politics and policy either. Rick Cleveland covered the Ole Miss miracle in college baseball this summer, plus the state’s college coaching madness from all angles: Deion Sanders’ journey at JSU, all the way to the story’s end. The will-he-or-won’t he saga of Lane Kiffin at Ole Miss. The death of an icon at Mississippi State.
As always, thank you for reading and engaging with us this year. We know that 2023 will be just as full of stories to tell, and welcome you to reach out with your ideas and suggestions. We are proud to report to you.