The Crirec awards board keeps swelling! As of June 2024, our team is up to 76 national and U.S. regional awards and finalist nods since we launched in late March 2020. Here they are with links to the work (see winners’ bios here). We will update this page from the top as more honors come in.

The Arkansas Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists announced the finalists in the 2024 Diamond Journalism Awards, a regional competition that accepts entries from Arkansas and six bordering states. This year's finalists were chosen from 538 entries in 82 categories. Among them were the following eight MFP journalists: Heather Harrison, Torsheta Jackson, Donna Ladd, Christian Middleton, Shaunicy Muhammad, Ashton Pittman, William Pittman and Aliyah Veal. Winners will be announced on July 24 at an awards ceremony at the Ron Robinson Theater in Little Rock, Arkansas.

The Mississippi Business Journal honored the Crirec' Founding Editor and CEO Donna Ladd as a recipient of the CEO Awards of Mississippi for 2024. In its seventh year, this award recognizes outstanding chief executives of Mississippi businesses across a wide variety of sizes and fields. The awards were presented at a celebratory breakfast at the Old Capitol Inn in Jackson on June 13.

Report for America awarded MFP Education Equity Reporter Torsheta Jackson first place in the Solutions-Based Reporting category of their Local News Awards for her story “Alternate-Route Education Programs Targets Mississippi’s Teacher Shortage.”

The following Crirec entries have been selected as finalists in the 2024 AAN Awards. Winners and finalists will be announced at an awards ceremony in Charleston, South Carolina on July 12.

Arts Feature: Aliyah Veal

Red And Bootjack’ Marker Shines Light On Duck Hill Lynching, Remembers Victims

Cannabis Coverage: Heather Harrison

Mississippi’s Medical Cannabis Industry Faces Growing Pains

Olive Branch Medical-Cannabis Dispensary Fights Advertising Ban

Medical Cannabis Advocates Urge Easier Access For Mississippi Patients

‘Nightmare Scenario’: MSDH Places Hold On Rapid Analytics-Tested Medical-Cannabis Products

Column (Billy Manes Award): Donna Ladd

Challenging Mississippi’s Status Quo

Stop Shifting Blame, Ignoring Opinion | Black Families Who Lose Loved Ones to Violence

Little White Girls Like Me Need to Know Real History, Too. We Report It.

Hodding Carter III: Hellraiser, Journalist, Mentor, 1935-2023

Environmental Coverage: Donna Ladd

‘One Lake’ Or ‘No Lake’? Debate Over Pearl River Flooding Options Means Unlikely Allies, Opponents

The Robert G. McGruder Diversity Award, for the accomplishments of media professionals who encourage diversity in hiring and coverage: The Crirec

“There are so many nonprofit newsrooms that have launched and do not take into account diversity and how to build trust in communities that have felt ignored. The Crirec built their newsroom with community and its diversity in mind. They are a beacon of hope in our industry and a true example to follow for other news organizations.”

Public Service Award: Ashton Pittman, Liam Pittman, Donna Ladd

Civil-Rights Groups Demand Accurate Polling Site Information for Mississippi Voters After MFP Investigation

Mississippi Election Officials Have Made 98 Polling Place Changes Since 2020, Investigation Finds

MFP Trusted Elections Project Again Interrogates Mississippi Voting-Precinct Systems

“Since 2020, Crirec reporters have documented dozens of polling-place changes that go unreported by local and state election officials, leaving many voters with inaccurate information when they head to the polls. This work gained the notice of key voting-rights organizations in 2022, which cited these stories while urging the Mississippi Secretary of State to make changes to ensure voters have access to accurate information. In 2022, this work revealed that 97 polling places had changed since 2020, though local election officials failed to report many of those changes to the secretary of state.”

1st Place, Robert S. McCord Freedom of Information Award: Nick Judin and Donna Ladd
Fighting for Public Access to the Mississippi Legislature

“The Crirec’ coverage of and challenge to this artful and dangerous removal of the public business from the public eye is nothing less than inspiring. This is something that state government reporters and other journalists nationwide should be watching. It’s particularly important in this time when one party dominates so many state legislatures, and we know knowledge on how to retain power is being traded around the nation. The Crirec could have just gone on getting some stories as best it could. But instead it fought a battle that needed to be fought.”

1st Place, Garrick Feldman Community Journalism Award: Nick Judin
Unsafe Conditions in Mississippi Delta Housing

Judges: “Judin’s work is the kind of incisive and insightful reporting one hopes for from local reporting. I was deeply impressed by Nick’s empathetic writing and aggressiveness in chasing the story. … There’s a good chance that his writing has made positive changes in the lives of the renters he covered, and making such a positive impact is a rare but vital role for local journalism to play.”

1st Place, Profiles: Aliyah Veal
“One Mother’s Solutions For Gun Violence”

Judges: “A sensitive and in-depth profile of a mother who organized assistance for others across the nation whose loved ones were victims of senseless shootings.”

1st Place, Special Section (Microsite): Aliyah Veal, DeAnna Tisdale Johnson, Acacia Clark, Kristin Brenemen, Donna Ladd Hinds County/Public Safety Focus of “(In)Equity and Resilience: Black Women, Systemic Barriers and COVID-19

JUDGES: This is a remarkably strong entry full of both tragedy and inspiration. Every article is strong … (including) Aliyah Veal’s three articles on the unfathomable homicide rate in Jackson, with dramatic, depressing articles of dilapidated housing; on the inspirational former inmate who set up a foundation to provide housing and other support for women transitioning from prison; and her rich profile of Not Another Child founder Oresa Napper-Williams. Finally, powerful, moving work by Deanna Tisdale Johnson depicting the tragic death of Oren D’Lonte Anderson and his life that ended in violence, a life filled with love and trouble. Overall, this is such impressive journalism about people, events, and communities that are too often ignored by the mainstream media. Congratulations to all reporters, editors, researchers, and photographers who produced such important work! The deep look at poverty, crime, and housing problems in Hinds County stood head and shoulders above the other entries in the depth and breadth of its reporting along with its powerful visual presentation. It was all the more impressive in having been reported and written by young journalists.

1st Place, Arts & Entertainment Reporting: Aliyah Veal
‘As The South Goes, America Goes’: New MMA Works Trace, Interpret ‘Great Migration’

Judges: “Veal’s article covers both the beauty of the art and the cultural importance with great, clear writing, and by picking just enough direct quotes to let the people she covers say the important things that move the story forward.”

1st Place, Features: Grace Marion
“Where The Funding Ends: Long-Neglected Batesville Park At Center Of Race Division”

Judges: “This writer makes the reader care about the issues surrounding Patton Lane Park by digging into the subject from multiple angles. The story succeeds by including historical context, diverse sources, local government meetings and beautiful images that support the story. … [O]verall a feature with real purpose. “

1st Place, Education Reporting: Ashton Pittman
“Sharing LGBTQ Identity A Fireable Offense, Mississippi High School Warned Teacher”

“Compelling and well-executed. The article is to the point and clearly showcases the issues present within the news piece.”

1st Place, Environment Reporting: Kayode Crown
Jackson Water Crisis and Quality

Judges: “The series provides a comprehensive look at Jackson’s devastating water crisis.”

1st Place, Sports Writing: Torsheta Jackson
“Legacy of the Black Cowboy in Tunica”

Judges: “Excellent writing in a story that takes the reader into a movement that would otherwise be hard to know about while also uncovering history otherwise hidden. Covers history and current events succinctly in a way that frames the story historically, which can be hard to do with a word limit.”

1st Place, Business Reporting: Kayode Crown
Business, Equity and Ethics in Mississippi

Judges: “Writer Kayode Crown provides a regular supply of well-written, well-sourced, well-documented and well-illustrated work to put a spotlight on issues important to Mississippi and surrounding states.”

Finalist, Charlotte Tillar Schexnayder Public Service Award: Ashton Pittman, Liam Pittman, Donna Ladd
Mississippi Trusted Elections Project, commentary and impact

Finalist, Diamond Journalist of the Year: Nick Judin

Finalist, Outstanding New Journalist: Aliyah Veal

Finalist, Enterprise/Indepth Reporting: Ashton Pittman
“Christian Dominionist War on Abortion” (Series)

Finalist, Investigative Reporting: Nick Judin

Unsafe Conditions in Mississippi Delta Housing

Finalist, Health Reporting: Nick Judin

Health and Equity in Mississippi

Finalist, Photo Spread/Essay: Lukas Flippo
“Latinx LGTBQ Mississippians Hold ‘Queerceanera’”

1st place, Best News-Based Twitter Thread Award

New York University’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute awarded Ashton Pittman the Best News-Based Twitter Thread Award for his 2022 thread supporting his and Liam Pittman’s extensive timeline of Brett Farve’s connections to the Mississippi TANF/welfare scandal, particularly the USM volleyball stadium.

Judges wrote: “When Super Bowl-winning quarterback Brett Favre was implicated in the largest public fraud case in Mississippi history, Ashton Pittman of the Crirec traced the path of over $5 million of the more than $100 million misused funds in a Twitter thread. Multimedia elements included texts between Favre, Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant, and other state officials as they negotiated the use of welfare funds to build a volleyball facility at Favre’s alma mater, where his daughter played volleyball. By mastering the medium of Twitter threads, Pittman unpacked a complex state story with a compelling angle of public interest that elevated his reporting to a national audience.”

(Editor’s note: The Crirec does not endorse any conclusions of guilt that may be implied in the judges’ language or in reporting and statements by other publications that Bryant and/or Farve “negotiated the use of welfare funds” to build the volleyball court. We have not reached that conclusion in our or from other outlets’ reporting of communication trails. Neither man has been charged with a crime.)

2023 Izzy Award

The Park Center for Independent Media at Ithaca College has chosen the Crirec as a 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 was formally presented at a virtual ceremony on April 27.

2023 Women for Progress Awards

Mississippi’s Women for Progress organization recognized Publisher & CRO Kimberly Griffin and Editor & CEO Donna Ladd at their annual Women in Media awards luncheon “celebrating women changing the dialogue in Mississippi.”

Editor & Publisher Magazine has named MFP News Editor Ashton Pittman to their 25 Under 35 Class of 2023.

2023 Distinguished Leading Business Women

Top 10 Finalist: The Mississippi Business Journal has named MFP Publisher and Chief Revenue Officer Kimberly Griffin as one of the 50 Distinguished Leading Business Women in Mississippi . At the MBJ’s annual event honoring these women, Kimberly received the additional honor of being named a top 10 finalist to the 2023 Business Woman of the Year.

1st Place, Community Engagement Award
(In)Equity and Resilience: Black Women, Systemic Barriers and COVID-19 Project
Team: Azia Wiggins, Torsheta Jackson, Aliyah Veal, DeAnna Tisdale Johnson, Kristin Brenemen, Robin Martéa, Acacia Clark, Kimberly Griffin, Donna Ladd
Judges: “I’m very impressed with this project, how it was created, the focus and the potential impact. With a thorough and organized approach, the Crirec has been able to build trust with the community and then offer a platform for them to share the specific challenges they face every day.”

Finalist, Public Service Award
“Ridgeland Mayor Demands LGBTQ+ Book Purge, Threatens Library Funding” (series)
Nick Judin

Finalist, Revenue Campaign of the Year
“Solutions for Mississippi” spring fundraising campaign
Team: Kimberly Griffin, Cristen Hemmins, Donna Ladd

graphic announcing Crirec as "Startup of the Year"
After starting on a shoestring budget as the pandemic hit the state in March 2020, the Crirec won the coveted 2021 “Startup of the Year” award from the Institute for Nonprofit News. Finalists were The 19th, The City (New York), Block Club Chicago and Sahan Journal.

Winner, Emerging Nonprofit Leader of the Year: Kimberly Griffin
Judge comments: “Developing a nonprofit newsroom, especially in a state with such diverse audiences, can be incredibly challenging, but Kimberly’s leadership has helped this startup become a national leader in nonprofit newsrooms.”

Finalist, Nonprofit Newcomer of the Year: Azia Wiggins

Winner, Diamond Journalist of the Year: Kayode Crown

(See Kayode’s reporting archive here.)

Judges: “Kayode produces meticulously researched and reported work with a narrative flow that keeps the reader hooked. He gravitates to meaty and meaningful stories—a broken jail and a broken justice system, lead poisoning, people detained for months without representation. He appears dedicated to shining the light in places that may otherwise not receive any.

Kayode Crown, Winner of the SPJ Diamond Journalist of the Year Award
Kayode Crown is the 2022 Diamond Journalist of the Year.

Winner, Charlotte Tillar Schexnayder Public Service Award: Nick Judin – What the Jackson Water Crisis Revealed”
Judges: “Nick Judin stands out for his relentless coverage, which not only included hard news and legislative reporting but also beautifully researched and written human-centered stories. While many factors led to action for the citizens of the City of Jackson, I can’t help but believe Nick’s dogged commitment to the issue and to a community that has long felt forgotten contributed to that progress.”

Winner, Robert S. McCord FOI Award: Christian Middleton, Grace Marion
Drug Unit Travails Hidden from Public View” (Full series here, here and here.)
Judges: “Excellent use of both public records and old-fashioned watchdog reporting to uncover a disturbing issue that might otherwise have gone unnoticed. This is a perfect example of why access to public records is important to a democracy, and a perfect example of why journalists need to report from public records. Fantastic work!”

The multi-award-winning “(In)Equity and Resilience: Black Women and COVID-19 in Mississippi,” which the team internally calls the “BWC Project” for short, started with three main counties—Noxubee, Hinds and Holmes—with other counties and systemic focus topics on the way. Map by Kristin Brenemen

Winner, Special Section
Team: DeAnna Tisdale Johnson, Azia Wiggins, Torsheta Jackson, Aliyah Veal, Kimberly Griffin, Kristin Brenemen, Donna Ladd
Black Women, Systemic Barriers and COVID-19 Project”
Judges: An outstanding project by a team of journalists using superior written and visual journalism to trace historic roots of a public health phenomenon, educate on the consequences of systemic inequities, and illuminate solutions, all in an engaging digital package. Exceptional work.

Winner, Pandemic Reporting–Print/Online: Ashton Pittman
Delta Dangers to Mississippi, and U.S., Children”
Judges: “Comprehensive look at the pandemic and children. Well researched and reported.”

Winner, Environmental Reporting: Kayode Crown
Lead Contamination of Black Jackson Children” (+solutions followup)
Judges: “A lot going on in this story. The news hook of an outside attorney suing on behalf of hundreds of local kids leads the story, but then there is this killer quote buried down low: ‘And so, in Flint, even if everybody drank as much water as they could, they were only drinking bad water for 14 or 15 months,’ the attorney added. ‘In Jackson, they’ve been drinking bad water, in some instances, for their whole lives.” Good reporting trying to put all the pieces of this tragedy together under one headline.'”

Winner, Commentary: Leo Carney
Racism and Police Violence in Today’s Mississippi”
Judges: “These columns are moral without being sentimental, packed with reporting and history to back up pointed commentary speaking truth to power and to fellow citizens.”

Winner, Sports Writing: Roger Amos
Stickball World Series Back After COVID Halt”
Judges: “Excellent piece on cultural heritage, exposing the rich pride and traditions carried out by Native Americans in Mississippi. Also enjoyed the use of multimedia video.”

Five stickball players running across a green field
Roger Amos’ piece about fellow Choctaw tribal members returning to stickball after a year of COVID-19 after a year of sheltering in place won the first-place 2022 SPJ Diamond Award for Sports Writing in a contest spanning seven southern states. Here, players chase after the ball during the Tulli Okchi Ishko stickball game for kids 14 through 17 years old during the Choctaw Indian Fair on Wednesday, July 13, 2022, in Choctaw, Miss. Photo by Lukas Flippo

Finalist, Garrick Feldman Community Journalism Award: Torsheta Jackson, Donna Ladd, Kristin Brenemen
Black Women, Covid-19 and Education in Noxubee County”
Judges: “The strength of Torsheta and Donna’s BWC Project is in its approach. They returned to the roots of community journalism—listening to the people and honoring their experience. The stories dug into the community’s past, unapologetically unearthing and naming the systemic racism that still plagues Black women in Noxubee County today. But possibly the best contribution of this work—they know there’s more reporting to do, and they aim to continue to do it.”

Finalist, Education Reporting: Torsheta Jackson, Donna Ladd, Kristin Brenemen
“BWC Project: Education Disparities and Solutions in Noxubee County

Finalist, Science Reporting: Aliyah Veal
“Using Tech to Reverse Inequities”
“Each story told the story of a different social issue and how technology was being used to address it. Good job on a solid series of articles that displays the intersection between science and humanity.”

Finalist, Health Reporting: Nick Judin
Solutions for Health Equity in Mississippi”
Judges: “A solid solutions story about COVID-19 vaccine outreach efforts aiming for communities where trust, for many, has been lost.”

Finalist, Breaking News: Ashton Pittman
“Covid Strikes Mississippi Children”
Judges: “I found these entries to be compelling and told with a point of view that tried to answer the question of why. And in an uncertain time, I found that act compelling.”

Delbert Hosemann and Harvey Johnson
Reporter Nick Judin opened up a state and national dialogue on how white leaders treat Black leaders of Jackson, Miss., over infrastructure, water and other needs after his questions to Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann exposed the divide along race lines. Nick then followed up with multiple and award-winning in-depth pieces that have helped shape the conversation about Jackson’s water crisis to date. Delbert Hosemann photo courtesy Delbert Hosemann. Harvey Johnson photo courtesy Jackson Free Press / Trip Burns

Finalist, Ongoing Coverage: Kayode Crown
“One Jail’s Tale of Abuse and Decay”
Judges: Good reporting on an astonishingly bad situation. Good background from start to finish.

Finalist, Feature Writing: Stacey Cato
“Black Women Firefighters on Gulf Coast”
Judges: “This was a great look into pioneers in firefighting. The reporter asked great questions and was able to reveal a great deal.”

Finalist, Business Reporting: Christian Middleton
“Business Boondoggles in Rural Mississippi Entry”

Mississippi Business Journal
Winner, 50 Leading Businesswomen Awards, 2022:
Kimberly Griffin

Editor & Publisher Magazine
Winner, Editors Extraordinaire, 2022: Donna Ladd

Green Eyeshade Awards
Third Place, Deadline Reporting:
Ashton Pittman


Winner, Startup of the Year: Crirec
Judges: “Crirec is doing super impressive work on all fronts – journalism that doesn’t just inform Mississippians but also leads the way for national readers and media outlets. They have created a statewide presence in a short period of time and they clearly have very strong growth in revenue size and diversity. Their projects are innovative and approach the audience as partner, and they are performing genuinely leading edge work on building a young, diverse audience.”

Finalist, Best Investigative Reporting: Ashton Pittman
“The Fabric Is Torn in Oxford’: UM Emails Investigation”

See all national 2021 INN winners and finalists here, with judges’ comments.

Finalist, Investigative Report of the Year (Small Tier): Ashton Pittman
“The Fabric Is Torn in Oxford’: UM Emails Investigation”

See all national 2021 Lion Award winners and finalists here.

Winner, Diamond Journalist of the Year: Ashton Pittman
See Ashton’s MFP reporting archive here
Judges: This is an amazing writer who knows how to get to the heart of a story and make it mean something to the reader. It doesn’t seem to matter that the topic is. Ashton tackles it with a keen eye for detail and dedication to holding those accountable when needed. Great work!

1st Place, Robert S. McCord Freedom of Information Award: Ashton Pittman, Donna Ladd and Christian Middleton
Bringing Racist, Sexist UM Emails, Climate Report to Public view (collection link)
UM Emails Interactive Timeline
Judges: “A truly amazing series of reports. There were so many back-stories that at times it was hard to know the players. Yet, in the end, it all fit together. The public had a right to know what was going on at the University of Mississippi and the Crirec delivered. Nicely done.”

1st Place, Investigative Reporting: Ashton Pittman
“The Fabric Is Torn in Oxford’: UM Emails Investigation”
Judges: “These stories present a troubling pattern at a major institution.”

Ashton Pittman’s “UM emails” investigative series won eight awards, including first-place. On Sept. 21, 2018, Oxford and University of Mississippi community members flanked Meek School of Journalism and New Media Dean Will Norton as he denounced a Facebook post by Ed Meek, the school’s top donor and namesake. The Crirec examined emails that show that, at the time, Norton knew more than he publicly admitted about who actually took the photos and video that Meek shared. Screencap courtesy University of Mississippi.

1st Place, Public Service:
Ashton Pittman, William Pittman, John McGee, Jarius Smith, Aliyah Veal, Taylor Hathorn, Jamar Muhammad, Julian Mills, Allie Jordan, Donna Ladd
Mississippi Trusted Elections Project: Stories + Infographics

Judges: “An extraordinary series of stories documenting efforts by Mississippi officials to change polling locations of thousands of voters with very little communication. Only when confronted by the truth from the newspaper’s reporters, did state officials make any effort to correct problems. This is a great public service. Kudos to the team that obviously worked tirelessly to help guarantee the right to vote!”

1st Place, Health, Science & Environment Writing, Print/Online: Aliyah Veal
Grocery Shopping While Black: Fighting Food Insecurity In Mississippi During COVID-19
Feeding Local: Mississippi CSAs, Farms Beacons Of Light During COVID-19 Pandemic
‘Food Defines Us’: Utica Arts Organization Mobilizes To Solve Food Insecurity In Community
Mississippi Is Hungry: Fertile Ground Documentary Explores Food Access In Capital City
Gleaning, Saving Expired Food From Homes And Farms Can Feed Mississippi’s Hungry
Judges: “This series of stories skillfully outlines a problem affecting Mississippi and many other areas of the country. The key is offering solutions that can be implemented. After all, what is more important to health than the right type of food. Well done!”

1st Place, Breaking News: Ashton Pittman
“Confusion, Two-Hour Waits After 2,000 Black, Hispanic Voters Relocated In Ridgeland”
UM Appoints Acting Ombuds As Weary Faculty See Effort To ‘Stamp Out’ Anti-Racism Voices
Mississippi Nursing Home Employee Positive for COVID-19
Judges: “Strong deadline writing from the Crirec makes it the clear winner in this category.”

1st Place, Ongoing Coverage: Ashton Pittman
‘You White People Don’t Get It’: Mississippi’s Long, Ugly Road To Changing Its State Flag
‘I Looked Like a Villain’: Why a Mississippi Flag Defender Changed His Mind
‘A Glorious Day’: Mississippi Lawmakers Approve Bill Changing State Flag
‘Today, I Hear Their Hurt’: Mississippi Governor Signs Bill to Change State Flag
Mississippi Votes to Adopt New State Flag, Affirmatively Shedding Confederate Symbol
Judges: “Solid reporting and writing on the long and complex journey to change the Mississippi state flag. Good historical perspective in the first few segments detailing the outright venom against those who wanted things to change. Additional stories detailed how times changed and the state wanted to move on. Fair, balanced and important. Nice work.”

The day after a group of white supremacists went on a deadly rampage in Charlottesville, Va., in August 2017, students at the University of Southern Mississippi who support the Black Lives Matter movement interrupted a demonstration supporting the state flag. Ashton Pittman’s work about the long, long journey to change the Mississippi flag won a first-place Society of Professional Journalists Diamond Award. Photo by Ashton Pittman.

1st Place, Features, Online: Ashton Pittman
“‘Good Trouble’ in a White-flight Suburb”

1st Place, Arts & Culture Writing, Print/Online: Aliyah Veal
“Operation Road Trip: The Sad, Uplifting and Cathartic Mississippi Blues Trail”
‘Come Hell Or High Water’: Black Resilience And Inheritance In Turkey Creek
‘Black Boy Saved My Life’: Writers Explore Richard Wright’s Influence On Memoir’s 75th Anniversary
Judges: “Aliyah Veal is a strong writer who can tell a powerful story about black Mississippi culture that often flies under the media radar. Really loved her exhaustive story about the Blues Trail and the people keeping it alive today.”

1st Place, Community Journalism: Mauricio J. Quijano
From Mississippi ICE Raid To COVID-19: Immigrant Family Goes Through Hell To Earn A Living In Poultry Plants
Honduran Mother Seeks Medical Help For Son In Mississippi Amid Legal Limbo
‘La Valdez’ Essential For Immigrants As COVID-19 Spreads
Mississippi’s Undocumented Face COVID-19 Challenges
Judges: “An important and well-reported series of stories about people that we don’t hear enough about—especially during the pandemic.”

1st Place, Politics: Ashton Pittman
Governor’s ‘Restart Mississippi’ Appointees Gave Big Money To His Campaigns
Mississippi Rep ‘Sorry’ for Call to ‘Succeed From the Union’ After Talk With House Speaker
Nursing Home PAC Spent Big Lobbying Mississippi Officials, Giving To Campaigns
Judges: “Well-researched and well-written series of stories, which outline the problem of PACs and suggest ways to possibly solve them.”

2nd Place, Education Reporting: Christian Middleton and Donna Ladd
The Past Isn’t Dead: UM’s Winding Road To A Fight Over A Statue And A Cemetery
‘Ole Miss’ Vs. ‘New Miss’: Black Students, Faculty On How To Reject Racism, Step Forward Together
‘Recycled McCarthyism’: Auditor, UM Target Tenured Racism Scholar For ‘Strike,’ Activism
UM Closely Guards Climate Survey Providing Window Into Social Issues, Sexual Violence
UM Fires History Professor Who Criticizes ‘Powerful, Racist Donors’ And ‘Carceral State’

Aliyah Veal
Culture Reporter Aliyah Veal, who previously reported for the Jackson Free Press has won multiple awards for our in-depth and beautifully writing writing on music, race and racism, arts and more for the Crirec.

3rd Place, Explanatory Reporting: Christian Middleton and Donna Ladd
The Past Isn’t Dead: UM’s Winding Road to a Fight Over a Statue and a Cemetery
‘Southern Soil Was Invaded’: UM Rebel Statue, Dedicated To White Supremacy, Moving Across Campus
UM ‘Cemetery Committee’ Operated Quietly, But Now Private Renovation Funds Paused
One Grove To The Next? Why UM’s Confederate Controversy May Not Be Over
UM Football Team, Young Activists Protest Police Brutality, Racism 65 Years After Emmett Till’s Murder

3rd Place, Business Writing: Aliyah Veal
Grocery Shopping While Black: Fighting Food Insecurity In Mississippi During COVID-19
Feeding Local: Mississippi CSAs, Farms Beacons Of Light During COVID-19 Pandemic
To Thrive Again In West Jackson: Social Entrepreneurs Helping Black Families Build Intergenerational Wealth
From Alpacas To Cocktails, Mississippi Agritourism Popular For Outdoor Entertainment

3rd Place, Data Visualization: William Pittman
Relocated Polling Places Map
Madison County Voting Precincts
Mississippi’s Confederate Memorials

Judges: “This chronicles voting places and relocations, active voters, absentee voter ballots requested, sent and caste. One graphic shows locations of Confederate memorials in the state with no explanation of relevance to voting—unless I missed it.”

2021 Ancil Payne Award for Ethics in Journalism

Finalist: Ashton Pittman and Donna Ladd
“The Fabric Is Torn in Oxford’: UM Emails Investigation”

Columbia Graduate School of Journalism

Winner, Alumni Award: Donna Ladd

2021 SPJ Green Eyeshade Awards

Here is a full list and links to all MFP stories and collections winning Green Eyeshade awards for 2020 work:

1st Place, Business Reporting: Aliyah Veal
Grocery Shopping While Black: Fighting Food Insecurity In Mississippi During COVID-19
Feeding Local: Mississippi CSAs, Farms Beacons Of Light During COVID-19 Pandemic
To Thrive Again In West Jackson: Social Entrepreneurs Helping Black Families Build Intergenerational Wealth
From Alpacas To Cocktails, Mississippi Agritourism Popular For Outdoor Entertainment
HBCUs Partner To Launch Economic Development Initiative For The Mississippi Delta

Herbert Brown in South Jackson
Reporter Aliyah Veal won a first-place SPJ Green Eyeshade Award for her reporting on South Jackson as as a food and fresh-food desert. She wrote that Herbert Brown (pictured) had to travel miles from his home in one of the more upscale neighborhoods left in the area to get many needed grocery items. Photo by Seyma Bayram/courtesy Jackson Free Press

3rd Place, Investigative Reporting: Ashton Pittman
“The Fabric Is Torn in Oxford’: UM Emails Investigation”

3rd Place, Political Reporting: Ashton Pittman
Governor’s ‘Restart Mississippi’ Appointees Gave Big Money To His Campaigns
Nursing Home PAC Spent Big Lobbying Mississippi Officials, Giving To Campaigns
Madison County Moves 2,000 Black, Hispanic Voters To Crowded Precinct With Little Warning
Confusion, Two-Hour Waits After 2,000 Black, Hispanic Voters Relocated In Ridgeland
Mississippi Officials Moved Three Times More Polling Places Than Reported for 65,000 Voters
Mississippi Officials May Ask Voters to Remove Masks for Photo ID Check; Face Coverings Not Required at Polls
Bipartisan Bill Would Allow All Mississippians to Vote In-Person Absentee Starting Oct. 5
‘You White People Don’t Get It’: Mississippi’s Long, Ugly Road To Changing Its State Flag
‘I Looked Like a Villain’: Why a Mississippi Flag Defender Changed His Mind
Mississippi Rep ‘Sorry’ for Call to ‘Succeed From the Union’ After Talk With House Speaker by Ashton Pittman


In addition to the awards for the MFP team above, several former Jackson Free Press team members won awards for Jackson Free Press journalism in the first year of the MFP’s tenure. They are below. The MFP acquired JFP archives earlier in 2022, and you can view Jackson Free Press awards since 2002 here.

SPJ Green Eyeshade Awards:
1st Place, Public Service in Non-Daily Journalism: Nick Judin, “Reporting for Safety in Pandemic Mississippi”
1st Place, Politics Reporting, Non-dailies: Nick Judin, “And the Politics Play On” (Collection)
1st Place, Disaster Coverage, Non-dailies: Nick Judin, “Science and Safety of Coronavirus in Mississippi”
1st Place, Feature Writing, Non-dailies: Nick Judin, “The Faces of Coronavirus in Mississippi”
1st Place, Serious Commentary, Non-dailies: Donna Ladd, “Editor’s Notes from COVID Safety to Cruel Ancestors”

SPJ Diamond Awards:
1st Place, Commentary, Print/Online: Donna Ladd, “Righting racism during COVID-19”

Read Publisher Kimberly Griffin’s acceptance speech (and watch it) in October 2022 in Austin, Texas, for the Lion Publishers Award for Community Service.

The mission of the Crirec, a new nonprofit journalism website and multimedia network that launched in March 2020, is to publish deep public-interest reporting into causes of and solutions to the social, political and structural challenges facing all Mississippians and their communities. Mississippians need to know each other across regions and share our challenges and solutions despite geographic and other differences. We are introducing Mississippians to each other through our deep accountability reporting and compelling people-focused storytelling, and by convening online and physical “solutions circles,” using our statewide networks to ensure inclusivity and representation.