A Look Back:
Mississippi Today in 2021
The Year in News
A global pandemic that overwhelmed the state’s hospital system, a national championship win, corruption in the state’s welfare program, Jackson’s water crisis and a once-in-a-lifetime influx of billions of dollars in federal money — 2021 has been quite a year! Mississippi Today has been here through it all! Check out our recap of a year that brought the good, the bad and the newsworthy.
A Note from the editors
Mississippi repeatedly made headlines across the nation this year. Through it all, Mississippi Today was there to report to you.
Click below to skip forward to the following sections.
Most Read 2021
Most Read Stories
Scroll through the stories, cartoons and coverage below that topped our readers’ most-read list.
The auditor’s office sent out letters demanding repayment from Brett Favre and 14 other individuals or organizations for a total of $77 million in misspent welfare dollars.
Most Read Coverage
Most Read Sports Stories
Peyton Manning will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday. His father Archie Manning will be the presenter.
Sports By Rick Cleveland
Most Viewed Cartoons
Our Staff Picks 2021
Our staff selected the stories that meant the most to them.
Here’s what some of them picked and why.
“There are all kinds of ways to measure ‘impact’ in journalism, but I admire that the series Kate Royals did on domestic violence that led to sheriffs deputies in Lauderdale County attending a mandatory training on strangulation.”
Molly MintaHigher Education Reporter
READ THE SERIES
‘Victim shaming, victim blaming’: After an agonizing trial, this Mississippi family finally got justice
Truitt Pace was convicted of murdering his wife Marsha Harbour. For her family, the path to justice was long and painful.
“Our Vaccine Guide and COVID-19 coverage speaks to the heart of Mississippi Today’s mission, which is to shine light on the truth and keep Mississippians informed. There is so much misinformation and confusion about vaccines — where to get them, who is eligible, whether they work at all — that we felt it was an important public service to provide residents with access to factual information about this virus and how to protect yourself. This is work we will continue.”
Kayleigh SkinnerManaging Editor
VIEW THE GUIDE
“I would say the coverage of the delta wave or the welfare scandal (was the most significant coverage Mississippi Today provided in 2021) because they were issues that impacted the whole state, or that the whole state had eyes on. One filled an information gap for Mississippians, and the other worked to hold state leaders accountable in the public eye.”
Julia JamesPoverty & Breaking News Reporter
“Mississippi Today’s coverage on abortion – a woman’s right to choose, from both sides of the issue, is stellar.”
“This one moved me because it very intricately highlighted the disproportionate affects of COVID on school-aged children and their families, specifically in communities of color. It was a heart-breaking read and — during a time in which I was slightly inconvenienced — to read how other families were devastated by the effects of COVID, really put things into perspective.”
Candi RichardsonSales & Marketing Director
What music has our team been listening to in 2021?
Listen to the playlist below.
“Enterprising. Evolving. Resilient. Thorough. Diligent. Fierce. Consistent.
These are just a few of the words our staff offered up to describe Mississippi Today in 2021. I couldn’t agree more.
Throughout 2021, we have doubled down on our commitment to centering the lived experiences of Mississippians in our reporting, offering you, our readers, more ways to connect with our journalists and inform our coverage. You have done so by joining us for virtual events like our COVID Community Town Hall in September which was powered by reader questions for the state’s top leaders in government, health and education. You have done so by engaging with our two-way texting lines that offer you answers in real time to your questions about Mississippi’s most pressing issues. You have joined our cause as readers and as donors, helping us reach our goal of raising $300,000 in membership support in 2021.
Using the power of data, first-person reporting and subject matter expertise, Mississippi Today has become the flagship for journalism that has real impact in our state. Our ongoing investigation into the state’s misspending of $77 million in public assistance dollars has unlocked larger conversations on welfare spending, including a change in policy that pays families first.
Our continued education coverage has given you clarity on what educators and students face in the wake of the pandemic, and how school boards and lawmakers are prioritizing these issues. For the first time in years, the Mississippi Today newsroom has provided our state with a higher education reporter, whose coverage of colleges, universities and the Institute for Higher Learning has given voice to students most impacted by financial aid policy.
Mississippi Today has built its brand on watchdog reporting of the state Capitol, relentlessly covering how politics and special interests shape Mississippi. In November we launched our Follow the Money series to closely monitor spending of an unprecedented influx of billions in federal dollars. This work will continue throughout the coming year in the form of timely reporting, a specialty newsletter, pop-up events and more insight and analysis from The Other Side podcast that you’ve come to rely on.
We’ve been your top resource for information on health news, including the COVID-19 pandemic, and in 2022 we will launch a dedicated health section of our nonprofit newsroom to report on how the healthcare system works, and in some cases does not, in Mississippi. We will dig deep on how healthcare providers, hospitals, insurers, governments and consumers are interconnected and impacted, with an eye for equity and access.
You can be assured that our team, the state’s first and most trusted nonprofit newsroom, is here to help make sense of what is happening in Mississippi, and to give you a bit of levity, too. Here’s hoping for more laughs from Marshall Ramsey in 2022, and more SWAC and CWS wins with Rick Cleveland, both of whom you can catch weekly on their respective Mississippi Today podcasts: Mississippi Stories and Crooked Letter Sports.”
-Mary Margaret White, CEO