2019 Public Newsrooms

#9 The City of Truth, Clarksdale | Thursday, September 26, 2019

Do you care about the infrastructure of your public schools? What can you do about it?

Join Delta-based reporters Aallyah Wright and Kelsey Davis
for their 9th #PublicNewsroom as they present on the persistent
issues plaguing school buildings in Clarksdale, Coahoma
County and across the Mississippi Delta. We want to hear
directly from YOU on concerns affecting your schools.
We’ll be in the children’s sanctuary at The City of Truth church
in Clarksdale, 600 Yazoo Ave. from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. on
September 26.

View resources from the event.
#8 Crosstown Fellowship Church in Cleveland | Thursday, August 22, 2019

The state of school buildings has been a persistent issue for districts in the Mississippi Delta, but not a topic of public conversation. Leaking roofs, caving floors, and broken air conditioning units — to say the least — play a vital role in a district’s well-being as it affects student achievement and teacher recruitment.

In September, the Leland School District is trying to tackle this issue head on, asking taxpayers to vote on a $8.75 million bond issue to help repair its schools. But how did they get here? And what can other districts take away from this?

Read more about it here: Leland School District may ask voters for $8.75 million to fund renovations and upgrades

View more resources.
#7 Riverside United Baptist in Rosedale | Thursday, July 25, 2019

With primary elections right around the corner, we want to focus our efforts on the local elections here in the Delta. What are the issues in your neighborhood that you care about? And how does the role of the Board of Supervisors factor into the issues that matter to you?

Come find out more information about who’s running in your district, how to be more engaged in local elections and how to hold officials accountable once they’ve been elected. Join Delta based reporters Aallyah Wright and Kelsey Davis for a conversation about what social accountability can look like in the Delta, the importance of county elections and what stories need to be told about it.

#6 Crosstown Fellowship Church in Cleveland | Thursday, June 27, 2019

Voting rights violations have evolved throughout the years. From outright refusal of allowing African Americans to vote, to the enactment of voter ID laws, to the lack of educational resources on how to vote, roadblocks to casting ballots have been as prevalent as voting itself. The issue becomes especially poignant when considering the links between literacy and civic engagement, inadequate education funding, and the overall state of public education in the Delta.

What are the specific issues that prohibit people in the Delta from voting? Is there something in particular that makes it more difficult to vote here than in other places around the state? Do we know what modern day voting rights violations look like? Join Delta based reporters Aallyah Wright and Kelsey Davis for a conversation about what voting looks like here and what stories need to be told about it.

View the 2019 Voter Guide.
#5 Crosstown Fellowship Church in Cleveland | Thursday, May 24, 2019

As journalists, we’ve heard many times and from many Deltans that issues plaguing the region have long been overlooked by elected officials in Jackson. While covering the 2019 statewide and legislative elections, we want to make sure we ask candidates the questions you want answered. What issues and questions should we take to them? What have the state’s politicians done well in the past for the Delta? Perhaps more importantly, what haven’t they done that could have served you and why?

Join political reporter Adam Ganucheau, who closely covers the Capitol, along with Delta based reporters Aallyah Wright and Kelsey Davis for a conversation about what leaders have done, what they haven’t done, and what Deltans can do about it.

Help us start a conversation in Jackson and the rest of the state about how the Delta is overlooked on solving chronic crises like the state of roads and bridges, education, and employment opportunities. Whether you’re satisfied with legislative action, skeptical about how lawmakers in Jackson serve the Delta or unsure how to make sense of it all, we want to hear from you.

View the resource guide.
#4 The City of Truth Church in Clarksdale | Thursday, April 25, 2019

After the legislature approved a $1,500 raise for teachers, conversation about striking erupted. The Facebook group Pay Raise for Mississippi on March 30 posted, “We have nearly 40,000 followers of this page. It is time we discuss what it will take to organize a teacher strike. It’s time to put up or shut up.” Audience for the page has grown exponentially, with statewide and national media calling them for comment on what the next move will be.

But can they? This discussion will delve into the history of Mississippi’s sole teacher strike in 1985 and the consequences that ensued. We will talk about the laws on the books that prevent teacher strikes specifically, and learn more about how other states with similar laws circumvented the rules.

Many teachers are saying they would strike despite the laws. We want to hear specifically from Delta-based teachers about whether they agree, disagree or even see that as an option.

Read more: https://mississippitoday.org/2019/04/03/put-up-or-shut-up-mississippi-teachers-mull-strike-in-wake-of-insulting-pay-raise-secretive-voucher-funding-move/

View the resource guide.
#3 King’s Temple Missionary Baptist Church in Clarksdale | Thursday, March 21, 2019

Do you want to keep the conversation about the teacher shortage going? Join Mississippi Today Delta-based reporters, Kelsey Davis and Aallyah Wright, for an informal discussion at our third #PublicNewsroom – a community gathering where we come together to listen, receive feedback, and build relationships.

Come out and talk about the educational issues you see contributing to the shortage and help us better understand what the reporting needs are in the Mississippi Delta. (We’ll have snacks too!)

Want to catch up on our three-part teacher shortage series in partnership with The Hechinger Report? Read here: https://mississippitoday.org/category/teacher-shortage/

View the resource guide.


# 1 Bolivar County Library System in Cleveland | Saturday, May 5, 2018

There’s a lot happening in the Delta when it comes to public education. Interested in learning all about what’s happening in our schools? Want to talk about how journalists can be better at covering education in your community? Join Mississippi Today Delta journalists Kelsey Davis and Aallyah Wright for a special presentation and discussion at inaugural Mississippi Delta #PublicNewsroom.

Attendees will hear Davis and Wright their project “Behind The Headlines: Cleveland Central High,” which documented this historic year using only words from the students. You’ll also hear from students themselves at the event.

In addition to hearing from the reporters, Mississippi Today wants to hear from YOU! We’ll be sharing the mission and vision of Mississippi today while participants will have opportunities to give feedback on our coverage and suggest story ideas. We want to build strong relationships with the communities we report on.

#2 Crossroads Cultural Arts Center in Clarksdale | Thursday, November 15, 2018

Twenty years after the legislature passed the Critical Teacher Shortage Act — designed to address the teacher shortage crisis — the teacher shortage is actually six times worse than it was in 1998.

A recent study found that a Delta district is 114 times more likely to have a shortage than a non-Delta district, and counties with multiple districts tended to have far worse shortages in the districts with the highest populations of black students.

Mississippi Today reporters, Aallyah Wright and Kelsey Davis, were awarded a fellowship with the Hechinger Report, a national news organization covering inequality and innovation in education, to report on the effects of the teacher shortage as well as community-based approaches to solving the problem. And on November 15th Wright and Davis are hosting a conversation to share their findings with and hear from YOU, the community. They’ll be asking Delta residents and education experts to give in-person feedback on the reporting, and talk about education reporting needs in Clarksdale.

We’ll also be sharing the mission and vision of Mississippi Today while participants will have opportunities to give feedback on our coverage and suggest story ideas. We believe hosting a conversation and sharing our reporting this way helps us build strong relationships with the communities we report on.

Read the series here: https://mississippitoday.org/category/teacher-shortage/