“[A]s the invaluable Crirec tells us, the Lost Cause is still making mischief.

- Esquire Magazine


(See 2020, 2021 and 2022 Impact) Since the Crirec launched on March 15, 2020, just as COVID-19 was hitting the state, the team’s journalism has had a significant impact, as well as drawn consistent attention from other media. Following is a reverse timeline of impact, media collaborations, and international, national, and state media mentions and pickups.

The Meridian Star published an opinion column about transparency in Mississippi's state government that centered on the state Ethics Commission ‘s ruling that the state legislature is not a public body subject to the Mississippi Open Meetings Act. This ruling occurred in response to a challenge raised by MFP after reporter Nick Judin was barred from attending a meeting of the state's Republican Caucus. A lawsuit filed by MFP seeking a legal ruling on the matter is still pending.

Several outlets, in Mississippi and beyond, have reprinted stories by MFP reporter Heather Harrison on the problems facing owners of Mississippi's new medical marijuana dispensaries or have used her reporting in their own stories on the topic. Benzinga and The Daily Leader have posted stories referencing Heather's work covering an administrative hold placed on all cannabis products tested by Rapid Analytics, a lab in Natchez that does 70% of the testing in the state, while Marijuana Moment reprinted both that story and another that addresses a lawsuit challenging the ban on cannabis advertising.

The fallout of the Mississippi Welfare Scandal continues to draw interest around the country. The Magee Courier and Simpson County News reprinted MFP news editor Ashton Pittman's piece marking the fourth year of the scandal, while The Comeback referenced reporting by MFP reporter Heather Harrison in their story covering a judges ruling that Brett Favre will be required to turn his text messages over to the court.

The Rickey Smiley Morning Show drew from reporting by MFP reporter Shaunicy Muhammad in their coverage of a grand jury's decision not to indict the officer who shot an 11-year-old Black boy in the chest.

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation announced that the Crirec is a part of its inaugural Press Forward funding cohort. The MFP is among eight innovative newsrooms from across the U.S., along with nine intermediary organizations that assist with newsroom growth and sustainability, that were selected for the foundation’s first round of local-media support.

The Daily Caller cited a story written last year by MFP reporter Nick Judin in their story about a Mississippi man who vandalized a statue erected by the Temple of Satan at the Iowa State Capitol.

Black Enterprise referenced reporting from two stories by MFP Capital City Reporter Shaunicy Muhammad in their story about a third Mississippi mother who learned that the missing son for whom she had been searching was dead and had been buried in a pauper's field by police without notifying his next of kin.

Front Office Sports cited MFP News Editor Ashton Pittman's reporting in their story covering the hours-long deposition of Brett Favre in the on-going welfare scandal. Wisconsin Sports Heroics included a tweet by Pittman linking to the MFP story their article on the subject.

December 8, 2023

The Atlanta Black Star referenced reporting by Capital City Reporter Shaunicy Muhammad in their update on the status of the Jackson Water system one year after the crisis. Yahoo News republished the story.

December 7, 2023

The Death Penalty Information Center used reporting by MFP's Heather Harrison in their report on the Mississippi Supreme Court's decision to delay the execution of Willie Manning.

Report for America announced their cohort of host newsroom partners for 2024, which included, for the second year in a row, the Crirec. An RFA corps member will be assigned to work with us for two to three years to cover the environmental beat beginning in July. MFP is honored to be chosen again to be an RFA newsroom.

BET used reporting by MFP's Heather Harrison in their story on the Black former FedEx driver who has filed a $5 million lawsuit against the company, as well as the two white men who attempted to shoot him in Brookhaven, Miss. almost two years ago while he was on the job.

Nieman Reports featured the Crirec and CEO Donna Ladd in their article,”‘We Go Where We Think We Can Have The Most Impact:' Five lessons from successful local news startups.”

The Starkville Daily News reprinted MFP reporter Heather Harrison's story about Democrat De'Keither Stamps' election to the Mississippi Public Service Commission.

GulfLive referenced reporting by MFP News Editor Ashton Pittman in their story about the investigation into Lexington, Miss. police over accusations of racism and abuse.

NewsOne referenced MFP News Editor Ashton Pittman and William Pittman's investigation into precinct voting location changes in their story about reports of voter suppression in the gubernatorial election.

Meanwhile, Newsweek and Daily Kos featured Ashton's tweets in their stories about multiple Hines County precincts running out of ballots.

NewsOnyx and Atlanta Black Star used reporting by MFP News Editor Ashton Pittman in their stories about a Jackson mother who searched for her missing son for months only to find that he had been killed and buried by Jackson police.

Delta News TV reported on MFP News editor Ashton Pittman's factcheck of Governor Tate Reeves accusation that Representative Bennie Thompson of supporting Hamas.

Daily Kos and NewsOne also referenced the piece, through coverage of Ashton's tweets, in their stories about racist tropes used in Reeve's gubernatorial campaign.

Yardbarker cited the extensive timeline of the Mississippi Welfare Fraud Scandal constructed by MFP News Editor Ashton Pittman and contributor William Pittman in their piece on the continued involvement of Hall of Fame Quarterback Bret Favre in the story.

The Institute for Nonprofit News (INN) highlighted a six-part series cooperative journalism series from the Rural News Network, a project of INN with support from the Walton Family Foundation. The series looks at the unique challenges facing communities of color around the United States. MFP, as one of six participating newsrooms from around the country, contributed an in-depth piece by Christian Middleton detailing the struggles of a Black family seeking justice for their murdered relative.

LION Publishers presented the 2023 LION Local Journalism Public Service Award to the Crirec for the Mississippi Trusted Elections Project at the 5th Annual LION Awards Ceremony in Durham, North Carolina. The project, a painstakingly researched series updating the Mississippi public concerning the locations of polling places, was written and researched by Ashton Pittman and William Pittman, with help from Donna Ladd.

Bleacher Report and NewsOne cited reporting by MFP New Editor Ashton Pittman in their stories by about Bret Favre's upcoming deposition on his involvement in the Mississippi Welfare Fraud Scandal.

The Starkville Daily News reprinted MFP reporter Heather Harrison's culture piece about the Cotton District Arts Festival.

The Atlanta Black Star drew from reporting by MFP News Editor Ashton Pittman for their story detailing the Mississippi Supreme Court ruling that found part of House Bill 1020 unconstitutional.

The Magnolia Tribune posted a story, which was then reprinted in the Kosciusko Star-Herald, about MFP's appeal of a ruling late last year of the Mississippi Ethics Commission which stated that a meeting of the state legislature's House Republican Caucus is not a “public body” and therefore is not in violation of the Open Meetings Act when it meets behind closed doors.

The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal reprinted MFP Education Reporter Torsheta Jackson's story about the firing of several Jackson Public Schools employees over testing irregularities.

The Tennessee Tribute reprinted MFP Reporter Heather Harrison's story about the struggle of a Mississippi hospital to remain open. Delta News TV also referenced Heather's story in their piece on the status of the hospital.

PinkNews used reporting by MFP News Editor Ashton Pittman in their story about the election of Mississippi's first openly gay lawmaker, Fabian Nelson.

The Poynter Institute, a world leader in providing training for and fostering diversity in journalism, has selected MFP Deputy Editor for Voices and Systemic Reporting, Azia Wiggins, to be a member of the cohort for their upcoming Leadership Academy for Women in Media. Congratulations, Azia!

Outlets such as LGBTQNation, Metro Weekly and the Miami Herald have referenced MFP News Editor Ashton Pittman's reporting in their stories about the restriction of the “Heartstopper” young adult graphic novels to the adult section of the Marion County Public Library. The books were temporarily removed from circulation following a complaint about the presence of the books, which feature a romance between two teenage boys. Upon review by the library's board, the decision was made to shelve the books in the adult section, where minors can access them only with parental permission.

The North Mississippi Daily Journal and the Starkville Daily News republished MFP reporter Heather Harrison's piece about the work that a team of cultural anthropology researchers from Mississippi State University is doing on an historic Black cemetery in Starkville.

The Lion drew on reporting by MFP Education Reporter Torsheta Jackson for their story about JPS's investigation into testing gains.

The Washington Post and BET both relied on reporting by MFP News Editor Ashton Pittman in their stories covering a mistrial declared in the case of a white father and son accused of shooting at a Black FedEx driver as he attempted to make deliveries.

The Daily Yonder published a version of MFP Reporter Heather Harrison's in-depth story on the aftermath of the tornado that hit the city of Rolling Fork in March of this year.

The Institute for Nonprofit News (INN) published an in-depth story about the MFP. The piece is a case study of the development of the organization from its earlier-than-planned pandemic launch into the nationally recognized newsroom that it is today.

The Meridian Star reprinted MFP Education Reporter Torsheta Jackson's story describing new rules that Mississippi Schools are putting in place to protect student athletes from the dangers of extreme heat.

The New York Daily News referenced two stories by MFP News Editor Ashton Pittman in their story about a Mississippi appeals court's ruling that a Jim Crow-era voting law is unconstitutional.

The Commercial Dispatch reprinted MFP News Editor Ashton Pittman's story about Mississippi State Senator Chris McDaniels' response to voter fraud allegations related to his place of residence.

Wonkette featured MFP Reporter Heather Harrison's story covering Miss. Governor Tate Reeves' Neshoba County Fair speech, in which he advised Mississippians who wanted health care to get better jobs, in their Morning News Roundup. They continued their coverage the next day with an original story on the topic of healthcare in Mississippi that references Heather's story.

Milwaukee Community Journal referenced reporting by MFP News Editor Ashton Pittman in their story about a federal court's blocking Mississippi's recently passed law, SB 2558, that makes voting more difficult for citizens with disabilities.

News outlets across the nation, including Newsweek, Raw Story and LGBTQ Nation referenced MFP News Editor Ashton Pittman's story about a Mississippi state senator who was accused of being a “groomer” based on photos of him wearing a pink tutu to raise funds for breast cancer research.

Outlets including the Magnolia Reporter, the Chattanooga Times Free Press, Wonkette and Cobalt Advocates referenced MFP News Editor Ashton Pittman's story revealing the existence of a letter to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra calling on him to drop a proposed rule change preventing states from obtaining private health information from persons who travel across state lines to access reproductive health care. The letter was signed by the attorneys general of 19 states.

Daily Kos featured MFP News Editor Ashton Pittman's story about the complaint filed by the Department of Justice against Mississippi House Bill 1020 in its “Abbreviated Daily Pundit.” H.B. 1020 gives the chief justice of the Mississippi Supreme Court the power to appoint unelected judges to serve in majority-Black Hinds County.

The Oxford Eagle drew from reporting by freelance contributor Hayden Wiggs for MFP in their story looking at the legacy of University of Mississippi student Jay Lee one year after his disappearance.

Starkville Daily News reprinted MFP Reporter Heather Harrison's story about Starkville Alderman and Vice Mayor Roy Perkins.

Nossaman LLC, included in their “Compliance Notes” a story by MFP News Editor Ashton Pittman revealing that the Mississippi Democratic Party could receive ethics penalties due to their failure to report campaign spending.

The Daily Beast cited work by MFP News Editor Ashton Pittman in their story about Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves' practice of giving influential government positions to his largest donors.

The Arkansas Leader profiled MFP Reporter Nick Judin, the winner of the Garrick Feldman Award for Community Coverage awarded by the Society of Professional Journalists, Arkansas Professional Chapter. The community journalism award fas established in memory of Feldman, the founding editor and publisher of The Leader.

Black Enterprise referenced the work of MFP Reporter Heather Harrison in their story about five Rankin County Deputies who were fired after being accused of assaulting two Black men and shooting one of them.

The American Journalism Online Awards, presented by New York University's American Journalism Online Master's Program of NYU's Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute, gave MFP News Editor Ashton Pittman the award for Best News-Based Twitter Thread for his thread explaining the timeline of the Bret Favre/Mississippi Welfare Scandal. LION Publishers recognized the award and congratulated Ashton in their newsletter.

The North Mississippi Daily Journal reprinted MFP reporter Heather Harrison's story about the closure of St. Dominic Hospital ‘s mental health unit.

Numerous outlets, both in-state and national, have referenced or reprinted MFP News Editor Ashton Pittman's story about a Mississippi State Senator's call for the return of the old state flag. Reprints were published in Mississippi outlets NEMiss.news, New Albany Gazette and the Daily Journal. Raw Story, Daily Kos, Independent, BET, BoingBoing and Mississippi Today are among the outlets referencing Ashton's work in their own articles.

MFP News Editor Ashton Pittman's story reporting on Mississippi's observance of Confederate Memorial Day while declining to observe Juneteenth was referenced by author Annette Gordon-Reed in an interview on MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show.

The Police Tribune drew from reporting by MFP's Ashton Pittman in their report on the suspension of the Mississippi police officer who shot an 11-year-old boy.

Sportskeeda referenced MFP News Editor Ashton Pittman's work in their story on the arrest of Jill Collen Jefferson, a civil rights attorney arrested in Lexington, Miss. for filming a traffic stop.

The International Ombuds Association republished MFP News Editor Ashton Pittman's story about the University of Mississippi Ombuds who fought to Protect Employees’ Confidentiality After UM Emails Series.

The Starkville Daily News reprinted a story by MFP reporter Heather Harrison about an Oktibbeha County woman's struggles with State Farm over payment of her storm damage claims.

The Columbus, Miss. Commercial Dispatch reprinted MFP reporter Heather Harrison's story about a Mississippi man convicted for his role in the January 6 insurrection.

Reuters, California Examiner, Inside Edition, FBC News, Ruetir, Comic Sands and Economic Times are among the outlets that have referenced or reprinted MFP News Editor Ashton Pittman's stories about a Mississippi trans girl who missed her high school graduation after her school district insisted that she dress as a male.

SuperTalk Mississippi Media referenced reporting by MFP reporter Heather Harrison in their story about a Mississippi man convicted of assaulting a police officer during the January 6 Capitol Riot.

The Crirec hosted nearly 30 journalists and publishers from across the Deep South when they gathered in Jackson, Miss. for the LION Publishers’ Deep South News Sustainability Meetup on May 18. Attendees from Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, Georgia, Arkansas and Tennessee met to discuss issues related to community-centered independent news organizations.

Delta News relied on reporting by MFP News Editor Ashton Pittman for their story, “TANF for TANF,” describing the use of the welfare funds to pay attorneys tasked with recovering welfare funds misspent in the recent Mississippi Welfare Scandal.

The Chattanooga Times Free Press, in their story about Tennessee's license plates, referenced MFP News Editor Ashton Pittman's story about the absence of the motto “In God We Trust” on Mississippi's new version.

The History News Network republished Jonathan Odell's opinion piece, “Black History Can Save White Folks, Too,” which first appeared in the Crirec.

Following the release of Bryant's texts, outlets such as Total Pro Sports, Sportskeeda, Yardbarker, The Spun and BroBible published stories referencing MFP News Editor Ashton Pittman's reporting of a new twist in the already twisted welfare scandal saga. Text messages included among those Bryant released revealed that Brett Favre, along with a partner, had sought help from then-President Donald Trump to acquire funding to launch a new concussion drug.

In response to a court filing by MFP, along with Mississippi Today and the Daily Journal, former Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant released hundreds of text messages and other documents related to the welfare scandal that came to light last year. Included among the documents released were text messages exchanged with former NFL quarterback Brett Favre, indicted nonprofit operator Nancy New and others. News outlets such as the Daily Journal, the Scott County Times, and the Associated Press reported on the story.

Diane Ravitch's Blog reprinted Donna Ladd's editorial introducing MFP ‘s new Report for America Corps reporter, Torsheta Jackson.

The Park Center for Independent Media at Ithaca College formally presented the 15th Annual Izzy Awards at a virtual ceremony. The Crirec was one of four recipients–two news organizations and two individual journalists–to be honored with the national award for outstanding achievement in independent media named for pioneering journalist I.F. Stone.

As we announced here last December, Report for America named Crirec as one of its partner newsrooms for 2023-24. Today we are thrilled that we can officially announce that our RFA Corps member is Torsheta Jackson! Torsheta will join our reporting staff in July as our new education reporter. Welcome, Torsheta, we're so happy to have you on the team!

People's Tribune reprinted MFP News Editor Ashton Pittman's story “What Happens in Mississippi Never Stops in Mississippi.”

WDAM, a television station in south Mississippi, referenced MFP senior reporter Kayode Crown's reporting in their story about a free expungement clinic offered in Hattiesburg recently.

Waste Dive referenced two stories reported by Kayode Crown in their recent story covering Richard's Disposal's lawsuit against the city of Jackson.

The People's Dispatch article “‘Plantation Politics' to Blame for Jackson, Mississippi Water Crisis” drew from MFP stories by reporter Nick Judin, as well as MFP Voices contributor Jason Coker. This piece was reprinted in Consortium News.

Advocate drew heavily from Ashton Pittman's MFP story for their piece on Miss Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith's block of President Biden's choice for a federal judgeship over the issue of trans rights.

Diane Ravitch featured MFP Editor and CEO Donna Ladd's piece on the Noxubee County, Miss. schools on her education blog.

The authors of the scholarly article “Boil water alerts and their impact on the unexcused absence rate in public schools in Jackson, Mississippi,” published in the journal Nature Water, referenced work by MFP deputy editor Azia Wiggins and freelance writer Malcolm Morrow.

Numerous outlets, including Who What Why, Wonkette, Fark, Daily Kos, and Lipstick Alley, have quoted, highlighted and reprinted MFP News Editor Ashton Pittman's story “Gov. Reeves Declares Confederated Heritage Month, A 30-Year-Old Mississippi Tradition.”

The Institute for Nonprofit News used an example from the MFP's fundraising campaign in their report on the success of their 2022 NewsMatch campaign. The example featured MFP donor organization The James and Madeleine McMullan Foundation and their reasons for supporting MFP.

The Park Center for Independent Media at Ithaca College has chosen the Crirec as one of four 2023 recipient of the Izzy Award for outstanding achievement in independent media for exposing corruption and giving voice to marginalized communities. The Izzy is named for dissident journalist I.F. Stone, known for questioning McCarthyism, the Vietnam War, racial injustice, and government deceit. The Izzy Awards will be presented at a ceremony on April 27, at 6:30 p.m., EDT on Zoom. Democracy Now reported on the awards.

Mar. 28, 2023

PRX, a public media company specializing in audio journalism and storytelling, has chosen a team from the Crirec to participate as part of its central region cohort in the PRX Journalism Podcast Accelerator. The 12-week podcast training and development program is conducted by PRX and is sponsored by the John S. and James L Knight Foundation.

The Daily Yonder republished Ashton Pittman's story reporting on the current number of rural hospitals at risk of closure in Mississippi.

The Daily Beast referenced reporting by MFP's Kayode Crown and Ashton Pittman, among other sources, in their piece titled “Jim Crow is Resurrected in Mississippi.”

Mother Jones referenced a report from the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation published by MFP in their story “A Mississippi Police Officer Who Shot a Black 15-Year-Old in the Head Won't Face Criminal Charges.

SCOTUS Blog featured Ashton Pittman's story about the high court's dismissal of Buck v. Reeves, a case alleging racially-motivated gerrymandering of the states congressional districts in its Morning Read. Election Law Blog also highlighted the story.

The New Republic and Jezebel both featured stories that drew from MFP reporter Kayode Crown's reporting on the passage of the REAP Act, legislation designed to prevent access to gender-affirming care for Mississippians under the age of 18, by the state senate.

The People's Tribune reprinted MFP reporter Kayode Crown's story reporting the abuse of two Black men by deputies from the Rankin County Sheriff's Department.

It's a big day for awards at MFP! Two of our own have been chosen for highly prestigious honors, and we couldn't be prouder of them!

Editor and Publisher has named MFP News Editor Ashton Pittman to its “25 Under 35” Class of 2023.

And our Co-founder, Publisher and Chief Revenue Officer Kimberly Griffin was selected as one of the Mississippi Business Journal's 50 Distinguished Leading Business Women. She was further honored today at the annual luncheon when she was chosen as one of the top ten finalists to Business Woman of the Year!

Congratulations Ashton and Kimberly!

Shine My Crown, a digital platform representing the Black and Brown experience, drew from MFP contributor Leo Carney's reporting in their story about the death of a Black trans woman in a Mississippi jail.

The Guardian referenced reporting by MFP's Kayode Crown in their story about a proposed new judicial district in Jackson.

MFP Reporter Nick Judin's first story as a ProPublica local journalist dug into proposed legislation that many fear will divert funds approved by Congress for repair of Jackson's water system. The in-depth piece was a co-publication of ProPublica and the Crirec. National outlets such as Raw Story, Talking Points Memo, Popular Resistance, Portside, and Newsbreak then republished the story.

The impact of the MFP and reporter Nick Judin's legal complaint accusing the Mississippi House of Representatives of failing to abide by the Mississippi Open Meetings Act, and the subsequent rejection by the Mississippi Ethics Commission of a recommendation affirming the House as a “public body” and therefore subject to the act, continues to make headlines, as seen in these stories published by the Associated Press, the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal and the Kosciusko Star-Herald. (See the 2022 Impact page for more.)

BET and Newsone relied on the reporting of MFP reporter Kayode Crown to tell the story of Black FedEx driver D’Monterrio Gibson's lawsuit in response to the attack on him and its aftermath.

LGBTQ+ news outlet Them drew from reporting by MFP reporters Kayode Crown and Ashton Pittman for their story on anti-trans bills before the Mississippi legislature.

MLK50 republished Donna Ladd's editorial “White theft: The audacity of co-opting Dr. King.”

Nonprofit public policy organization The Brookings Institute referenced two MFP stories about Jackson's water crisis, and another written by our reporter Kayode Crown for the Jackson Free Press, in their essay “Why state and local relationships matter to national prosperity: A case for economic collaboration.”

History News Network republished freelance writer Zach Borenstein's story detailing his reasons for vandalizing a confederate statue on the campus of the University of Mississippi. Borenstein's piece was originally published as an MFP Voices story.