Mary Margaret White
Chief Executive Officer
Mary Margaret White, a Mississippi Delta native, manages the business and development side of our nonprofit newsroom as CEO. She works closely with foundations and donors to ensure reporters have the financial support needed to do their work. She also collaborates closely with our marketing and engagement teams to make sure all outreach and promotion aligns with our mission of public service journalism. Mary Margaret began working for Mississippi Today August 2017 as the organization’s marketing and branding manager, was named executive director May 2018 and CEO in February 2020. She is a fellow in the 2020 Online News Association’s Women’s Leadership Accelerator.
Mary Margaret has a bachelor’s in English and journalism and a master’s in Southern Studies from the University of Mississippi. She previously worked as Tourism Development Director at Visit Mississippi and as Folk & Traditional Arts Director at Mississippi Arts Commission. Her work has appeared in The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture, Delta Magazine, Living Blues Magazine and The 'Sip Magazine.
She currently serves on the board of the Craftsmen’s Guild of Mississippi and is an advisory board member for the Center for the Study of Southern Culture.
“Journalism like ours — in-depth, multi-sourced with a human face — is essential to a positive trajectory for our state...The work we do at Mississippi Today serves our state in the most essential way: by ensuring citizens have the best information to make good decisions for their families and communities.”
Adam Ganucheau, named Mississippi Today's editor-in-chief April 2020, has covered politics and state government for Mississippi Today since February 2016. As interim editor-in-chief, Adam oversees the newsroom and works with the editorial team to produce high-quality journalism in the public interest.
A native of Hazlehurst, Adam has worked as a staff reporter for AL.com, The Birmingham News and The Clarion-Ledger and his work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post and Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Adam earned his bachelor’s in journalism from the University of Mississippi and was a 2016 finalist for the Investigative Reporters & Editors (IRE) Breaking News Investigations.
He is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists, Investigative Reporters & Editors and Leadership Greater Jackson.
“I believe Mississippians deserve to know how their elected officials and candidates asking for their votes are truly representing them. Questions about how public officials spend taxpayer money, how they apply their personal values to a broader community they serve, and how they leverage their positions of power are too often ignored in this state.”
Kayleigh Skinner joined the Mississippi Today staff in January 2017 as an education reporter and has advanced to a senior staff member in her three years with the company. Skinner most recently served as deputy managing editor before assuming the role of managing editor.
Skinner, a native of Canada, earned her bachelor’s in journalism from the University of Mississippi and has covered education in the South for six years. At Mississippi Today, she has focused on education and politics and how they intersect to impact the lives of people in Mississippi. She has been recognized as a member of the 2018 class of the ProPublica and Ida B. Wells Society Data Institute and a member of the 2016 Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Journalism Award-winning team. She is also a member of Investigative Reporters and Editors, the Education Writers Association and the National Association of Black Journalists.
Before joining the Mississippi Today editorial team January 2017, Kayleigh worked for The Hechinger Report, The (Memphis) Commercial Appeal and Chalkbeat Tennessee. Her work has also appeared on PBS NewsHour.
“Education is one of those broad issues that affects everyone. The quality of education and its accessibility touches so many aspects of our lives, like the preparedness of our workforce, types of industry we attract, and how much money we make. I'm happy to have a job that takes me inside classrooms, board rooms and the like so I can write stories about what's happening in schools across the state and why what is happening matters.”
Audience Development Director
is Mississippi Today's Audience Development Director. A former newspaper reporter and magazine editor/publisher, Lauchlin served as web manager for Mississippi Today before the site launched in 2016, a role she maintained until joining the team full-time as web editor August 2017.
Lauchlin spearheaded the 2019 rebranding and website redesign, an initiative that, in part, led to almost 150% readership growth that year. In her previous role as web and engagement editor, she and her team created a suite of niche newsletter products that provide curated content on topics ranging from education to arts and culture.
Lauchlin’s focus on audience development and reader experience is a cornerstone in Mississippi Today’s growth strategy. She saw the need to bring together the editorial and marketing teams at Mississippi Today, resulting in the formation of a cross-departmental Engagement Team that worked to create reader resources through audience-first initiatives. She now leads a dedicated Audience Team and works closely with all staff to foster an audience engagement mindset across the newsroom.
Lauchlin has a bachelor’s in Southern Studies from the University of Mississippi and lives in Vicksburg with her wife Olivia and their two sons.
“I am passionate about creating engagement around the high quality journalism our staff produces so we can effectively tell the stories that matter to Mississippians. By using tools to engage our audience and grow readership, our staff has a unique opportunity to empower readers and enact positive change in a place often misunderstood and misrepresented.”
Marshall Ramsey, a nationally recognized editorial cartoonist, shares his cartoons and travels the state as Mississippi Today’s Editor-At-Large. Marshall can often be found in communities across Mississippi, promoting public conversations about the news and inspiring audiences to engage in civic life. He’s also host of a weekly statewide radio program and a television program on Mississippi Public Broadcasting and is the author of several books.
Marshall is a graduate of the University of Tennessee with a degree in business administration and marketing. His cartoons have appeared in the Clarion Ledger, where he worked for 22 years, as well as USA Today, CNN, Fox News, The Today Show, The New York Times, Time Magazine, Newsweek Magazine and 300 newspapers around the United States. He is a two-time Pulitzer Finalist and was named a top 100 employee of Gannett. He has received numerous MPA awards and the John Locher Memorial Award, which is given to nation's top collegiate cartoonist.
“As journalism evolves and faces challenges, the people of Mississippi need a solid, in-depth and reliable source of news so they can make the decisions required to take Mississippi into the future.”
Donor Relations Director
Michelle Alexander joins the staff of Mississippi Today as the Donor Relations Director following a successful 15-year not-for-profit fundraising career. Michelle has held leadership positions with Children’s of Mississippi, the American Heart Association and JDRF where she was instrumental in philanthropic development as well as implementing mission related strategies. In addition, Michelle ran a successful fundraising consulting practice. Michelle has been responsible for securing over $14 million in gifts during her fundraising career and has earned a reputation for professionalism, engagement and an authentic passion for the missions of the organizations she has served.
Michelle is a 25-year resident of Jackson where she relocated after beginning her career in Memphis. She is both a Certified Public Accountant and a Certified Fund-Raising Executive.
“I have been fortunate to work in wonderful organizations that strive to improve the lives of others. The meaning I find in my work and the opportunity to match a donor’s desire to make a difference with an organizational mission and purpose is extremely important to me. I look forward to accomplishing that type of work at Mississippi Today as we approach journalism in a way that informs and inspires our citizens to expect and learn more in order to achieve progress and positive change.”
Linden Potts manages the business finances and operations at Mississippi Today. A native Jacksonian, Linden is a certified public accountant with an accounting certificate from Belhaven University and a bachelor’s in economics and finance from the University of Wyoming.
Linden worked as a senior auditor for Matthews, Cutrer, & Lindsay P.A., and as a real estate sales agent for Nix-Tann & Associates. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, as well as the Mississippi Society of Certified Public Accountants.
“I believe our collective effort to bring news stories to the public is important because educating Mississippians on issues is the first step in making positive changes in our state.”
Membership & Audience Manager
Elizabeth Hambuchen is Mississippi Today's Membership and Audience Manager. She manages our membership program, assists with audience development strategies and works with editorial staff to engage with our readers.
A native of Conway, Arkansas, Elizabeth earned a bachelor's degree in communications from Millsaps College. She started at Mississippi Today in June 2018 as an intern assisting with marketing and live events. In August 2018, she joined the team full-time as the business and marketing assistant and later served as the membership and marketing coordinator from August 2019 to August 2020.
In every role in which she has served at Mississippi Today, Elizabeth's focus has been on expanding our audience and engaging with readers in meaningful ways. As an inaugural member of the Audience Team at Mississippi Today, she works across the organization to improve reader experience and grow the organization.
"The work of Mississippi Today is important to the progress of the state because the reporting is about more than just getting a story. It's also about informing and inspiring communities to better engage in civic life. This local, on the ground, focused journalism is vital in a state like Mississippi, where many have not been allowed the information they need to hold their leaders accountable."
Kelsey Davis Betz is from Mobile, Ala., and currently lives in Cleveland, where she works as one of our Mississippi Delta-based reporters covering education and intersecting issues.
Kelsey has a dual degree in journalism and Spanish from Auburn University and worked as an editorial intern at Texas Monthly and a courts reporter at the Montgomery Advertiser. Prior to joining Mississippi Today August 2017, she won awards for her reporting on public housing and the life of a parolee re-entering society.
“The work we in the Delta bureau do is integral because this area has historically gone underreported on. As a result, issues central to the Delta haven’t been as much apart of statewide conversations. The ways that statewide policy specifically affects the Delta haven’t been as widely discussed. There is a critical need to elevate those conversations and our work aims to do that.”
Bobby Harrison, Mississippi Today’s senior capitol reporter, covers politics, government and the Mississippi State Legislature. He also writes a weekly analysis.
A native of Laurel, Bobby joined our team June 2018 after working for the North Mississippi Daily Journal in Tupelo since 1984. He also worked for his hometown Laurel Leader-Call.
Bobby has a bachelor's in American Studies from the University of Southern Mississippi and has received multiple awards from the Mississippi Press Association, including the Bill Minor Best Investigative/In-depth Reporting and Best Commentary Column. He was recognized for two consecutive years as "Advocate of the Year" for the North Mississippi Special Needs Arc.
He is president of the Mississippi Capitol Press Corps Association and works with the Mississippi State University Stennis Institute to arrange luncheons for newsmakers.
“Mississippi needs people to shine light on both its failures and its successes. Unfortunately, fewer and fewer traditional news outlets are able to shine that light. As a journalist, and perhaps more importantly as a native Mississippian, I am thankful there are other outlets -- namely nonprofits -- able and willing to fill the void.”
Erica Hensley, a native of Atlanta, has been working as an investigative reporter focused on Public Health for Mississippi Today since May 2018. She is a Knight Foundation fellow for our newsroom’s collaboration with local TV station WLBT and is a member of the engagement team and curates The Inform[H]er, our monthly women and girls’ newsletter.
Before joining our team, she was a freelance reporter and worked as a reporter for Georgia Health News and managing editor for Aesculapian. She also was a bookseller.
Her work has appeared on WebMD, WABE, Georgia Health News, Paste magazine and Rural Health Quarterly. She was also selected as a McGill Fellow for Journalistic Courage.
Erica received a bachelor’s in print journalism and political science from the University of Southern California Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism and a master’s in health and medical journalism from the University of Georgia Grady College for Journalism and Mass Communication.
She is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists and Investigative Reporters and Editors.
“A free and bold press is imperative to a functional and healthy democracy...Mississippi needs context. It is vastly over-simplified from the inside and out, and its people deserve their stories to be told with compassion, clarity and context.”
Geoff Pender serves as Senior Political Reporter, working closely with Mississippi Today leadership on editorial strategy and investigations.
Pender brings 30 years of political and government reporting experience to Mississippi Today. He most recently served as Politics and Investigative Editor at The Clarion Ledger, where he also penned a popular political column. While at The Clarion Ledger, Pender helped lead digital transformation for the legacy publication, while overseeing watchdog news teams and government reporting.
Over his 16 years with the Sun Herald, Pender’s investigations on the city and county level led to reform, prosecution and conviction. He went on to lead the capitol bureau as Political and Investigative Editor and was a member of the Pulitzer Prize-winning team for Hurricane Katrina coverage.
Originally from Florence, Miss., Pender is a journalism graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi. He has received numerous awards throughout his career, including multiple Mississippi Press Association and other regional and national awards for his reporting, columns and his freedom of information efforts.
Sales & Marketing Director
Candi Richardson joins the staff of Mississippi Today as Sales & Marketing Director after a combined 12-year career in digital marketing sales, corporate relationship development and social media management between The Clarion-Ledger Media Group and United Way of the Capital Area. As a top-performing professional, she has received numerous sales awards and distinctions.
Candi is from Greenville and has spent the last decade living in the Jackson Metro area. She holds a bachelor’s in Speech-Language Pathology & Audiology and a master’s in Communications, both from The University of Southern Mississippi.
“Throughout our nation’s history, the role of the press in achieving social, political and economic reform has been critical. Having the opportunity to work towards progress in my own state, supporting an institution that fights for a better Mississippi, is truly humbling.”
Kate Royals is a Jackson native and returned to Mississippi Today as the lead education reporter after serving in the same capacity from 2016 to 2018. Prior to that, she was a reporter for The Clarion-Ledger covering education and state government. She won awards for her investigative work, including stories about the state’s campaign finance laws and prison system. She was a news producer at MassLive in Springfield, Mass., after graduating from Louisiana State University’s Manship School of Mass Communications with a master’s degree in communications.
"Whether during a pandemic or 'normal' times, I can’t think of a more important topic to write about than the education of our children. Mississippi’s future is being shaped in the classroom, and I feel lucky to write about it. My goal is to write stories that reveal how the policies formed at the Capitol in Jackson affect educators and students in every corner of the state, for better or worse."
Alex Rozier, a native of New York City, is Mississippi Today’s data reporter. He analyzes data and creates visuals for numbers that inform our stories. He also reports on the environment, transportation and Mississippi culture and is a member of the engagement team.
Alex, whose work has appeared in the Boston Globe and Open Secrets, has a bachelor’s in journalism from Boston University. He began his career with Mississippi Today as an intern July 2017 and became a full-time reporter November 2017.
“As the old watchdog motto goes, it's important to hold our decision-makers accountable. But also specifically in Mississippi, which often isn't reflected in national news, it's important to tell stories of under-represented communities —the truths we tell are only as full as the sources we rely on.”
Anna Wolfe, a native of Tacoma, Wa., is an investigative reporter specifically reporting on poverty and economic justice and the intersection between beats.
Before joining the staff at Mississippi Today September 2018, Anna worked for three years at Clarion Ledger covering city, county and state government, politics and health care. She also worked as an investigative reporter for the Center for Public Integrity and Jackson Free Press.
Anna earned her associate’s degree from Pierce College in Lakewood, Wa., and her bachelor’s from Mississippi State University. She has received numerous awards and recognition for her work, including the Bill Minor Prize for Investigative Journalism June 2019 and June 2018; first place for in-depth investigative reporting from the Mississippi Press Association, June 2019 and June 2018; and being named a finalist for the Food Sustainability Media Award in Written Journalism, October 2018.
Her work has appeared in USA Today, Clarion Ledger, Sun Herald, Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, Seattle Times, Detroit Free Press and Jackson Free Press.
“Regardless of what beat I’m covering, I’ve found every good investigative story stems from the experience of a certain level of unfairness. Exposing inequity through the stories of everyday people — not government officials, but factory workers, cashiers, caretakers — can and will inspire change. That’s our mission.”
Aallyah Wright is a native of Clarksdale and a Mississippi Delta reporter covering education and local government. She is also a guest radio host for WROX Radio (97.5 FM) and was a playwright/reporter for "Beautiful Agitators," a 2017 project by StoryWorks/Reveal Labs from the Center for Investigative Reporting in partnership with Mississippi Today.
Aallyah has a bachelor’s in journalism with minors in communications and theater from Delta State University. Prior to joining Mississippi Today January 2017, she interned as a reporter for the Bolivar Commercial and was the project producer and community journalist for The Cleveland Yearbook, a project by The Center for Investigative Reporting and Delta Arts Alliance.
In 2018, Aallyah earned a fellowship with Hechinger Report to report on Mississippi’s teacher shortage and its effects. Her reporting with the Mississippi Today Education Team for "Behind the Headlines:Cleveland Central" received third-place at the 68th Annual Green Eyeshade Awards.
Her work has appeared in The Hechinger Report, The Daily Journal and Delta Magazine. She is a Community Advisory Board Member for Aspen Youth Leaders Fellowship Delta and a board member for Lower Mississippi River Foundation.
“The work I do here at Mississippi Today is important because there's not many who are dedicated to report from or committed to living in an area like the Delta. It's empowering for people from here to see someone who looks like them giving back to the community by amplifying their messages, providing them with additional resources and information to better inform their decisions. And, essentially, giving them diverse stories with being fair and factual.”
Rick Cleveland, a native of Hattiesburg and resident of Jackson, has been Mississippi Today’s sports columnist since 2016.
A graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi with a bachelor’s in journalism, Rick has worked for the Monroe (La.) News Star World, Jackson Daily News and Clarion Ledger. He was sports editor of Hattiesburg American, executive director of the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame. His work as a syndicated columnist and celebrated sports writer has appeared in numerous magazines, periodicals and newspapers.
Rick has been recognized 12 times as Mississippi Sports Writer of the Year. He was inducted into the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame in 2016 and into the Hattiesburg Hall of Fame in 2018. He received the Richard Wright Award for Literary Excellence in 2011 and was inducted into the University of Southern Mississippi Communications Hall of Fame in 2018. In 2000, he was honored with the Distinguished Mississippian Award from Mississippi Press Association. He has received numerous state, regional and national awards for his column writing and reporting.
“As traditional newspaper staffs and newspapers themselves have diminished, the traditional role of journalism as a watchdog has been threatened. Thorough news coverage is critical to the well-being of a democracy. I believe we are seeing nonprofit news begin to fill that role. I believe we will see that increase.”