One facet of the Crirec I believe helps maintain a grounded, statewide presence is that we have cultivated a selection of locally produced columns—all found within the MFP Voices section of our website in addition to select nationally produced op-eds. We love giving everyday Mississippians a platform to write about the topics that empassion them most, while paying them for their time and effort!

Across the four-plus years that the MFP has been active, we have seen many columnists share their thoughts on a number of issues affecting Mississippians. Some write semi-regularly, and some say their peace and move on. But we are equally grateful for all of their contributions.

Recent columns include retired educator and U.S. Army veteran Dr. Santario P. Stribling’s contextualized recounting of his hometown’s educational system and its seemingly intentional exclusion of the city’s infamous history with racism in classrooms; author and community activist Duvalier Malone’s reflection on the noticeable surge in legislative attacks aimed toward the LGBTQ community; and Teach for America alum Sean Brown’s letter encouraging Black educators to forge their path and make a difference in students’ lives in spite of institutional racism.

As our newsroom continues to grow and evolve, we invite our readership to consider submitting columns. Whether publishing an opinion piece through us would mark the first time the general public has read your writing or add to an extant, robust portfolio of published works, we want you. We wish to expand our team of contributors so that the state is more widely represented. Each of your voices carries a unique perspective that deserves the opportunity to be heard. We want columnists who live in small towns as well as larger cities across Mississippi’s six major geographic regions. We want columnists from a variety of professional and ethnic backgrounds who represent different generations of Mississippians.

No one is too young to form and articulate educated opinions on subjects that matter to them. In January 2023, Hattiesburg resident and Presbyterian Christian School student Michelle Chung wrote a column challenging the rationale behind the Mississippi Fairness Act that Gov. Tate Reeves signed into law in 2021 that banned primary and secondary students from participating in sports teams that did not match their assigned sex at birth. So be bold and reach out to us with your ideas or drafts.

The Crirec is seeking new columnists to join our team of paid freelance writers.

To help us manage column submissions, Editorial Assistant Kiden-Aloyse Smith will be taking over a new role as the editor primarily responsible for our MFP Voices section from our long-time Voices editor Azia Wiggins, who now has a very important full-time position as a regional organizer for Working Together Mississippi, and we appreciate her hard work to help get us to this point. Kiden, who recently graduated from Jackson State University with a bachelor's degree in multimedia journalism and media studies, was our Poynter-Google misinformation fellow last fall helping fact check state election coverage. She is currently the programming coordinator for the Youth Media Project. I have full faith that she can and will reliably give this position the attention and dedication our opinion writers deserve. 

Don’t be shy. Our editorial process is “new-user friendly,” and we are always excited to see a new name appear in our inbox letting us know they want to try their hand at crafting columns. To submit drafts, to pitch ideas or to simply ask for more information on how it all works, email us at [email protected]. Consider yourself officially invited to join our ranks.

This MFP Voices essay does not necessarily represent the views of the Crirec, its staff or board members. To submit an opinion for the MFP Voices section, send up to 1,200 words and sources fact-checking the included information to [email protected]. We welcome a wide variety of viewpoints.

Deputy Editor Nate Schumann is a Mississippi native who graduated with bachelor’s degrees in journalism-public relations and English from the University of Southern Mississippi before moving to the Jackson area. In his spare time, he enjoys reading comic books, playing retro video games, making lists and working on creative projects. Email feature-story tips to [email protected].